REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Hoteliers nationwide are aggressively analyzing and optimizing housekeeping costs and efficiencies in hopes of finding savings on this key expense, wherever and whenever possible. For some, harnessing new technologies, processes and performance metrics are core elements of these initiatives, which are already yielding dividends.
The trend comes at a time when most hotel companies are wrestling with the rising cost of labor, a situation that’s been exacerbated by the currently low unemployment rate and the movement in many states toward a higher minimum wage. Instead of trying to swim against the employment tide, the logical solution is to improve housekeeping productivity, getting rooms cleaned faster and more efficiently, without compromising the guest experience.
“The concern over housekeeping costs continues to grow in most hotels, especially in specific markets over the cost of labor,” said Tom Waithe, regional VP of Kimpton Hotels for the Pacific Northwest and Mountain regions. “The largest labor force is always found in housekeeping, so hotels are working hard to be creative in how they can minimize these costs and where savings might be found. As the largest cost to a property, housekeeping labor will always be a focus to an operator, since minutes mean money.”
Typically, hoteliers seeking to minimize housekeeping expenses begin by improving their analytics and key performance indicators used to track productivity of the department. This process often involves looking at the key metric of housekeeping per occupied room, but also at things like linen per available room, which measures how many sets of bed linens a housekeeper carries on their cart, and how many sets the hotel owns and has in rotation per day. This information is used to reduce time spent walking to the laundry room and waiting for fresh linens, as well as loading fresh linens on the cart.
According to experts, the analytical approach is working. For example, McNeill Hotel Company identified that efficiencies could be gained by better