HOTEL HYGIENE AND SAFETY IS IN THE DETAIL – by Chibuikem Diala

How many times have you been checked into a poorly cleaned room? How many times have you been to a hotel bathroom with heavy stains welcoming you?

Personally, I have been checked into a hotel room with ‘semen’ stains on the bed sheet. Though tired and needed rest, I called the reception for a change of sheets. Well, they did and this time, another patch of semen came with the replacement bed sheet. I was devastated by the lack of detail and absence of care and comfort which a hotel should give effortlessly.

Often times guests are checked into rooms that are not properly cleaned and sanitized- not minding the room rate as shown in the viral video from China (showing hotel cleaners using the same brush for the toilet to wash guest cups). The lack of details is the biggest threat to hotel sanitation and hygiene especially in a world that is gradually being ‘viralized’.

Excellence in hygiene, personal grooming and cleanliness are all detail driven without which the hotel denies the customer the most prized return on his investment- no matter the rate. Its even worse when it has to be a well known global brand. Especially in Africa where hotel branding is on the front line. What actually is hotel branding without operational/management details? To me, its best described as “painted sepulchre” where a property is adorned with the garment of a global brand to attract ‘quality’ guests, yet the minute details that guarantee the safety/comfort of the guests are overlooked.

Permit me to capture the exact definition of Hospitality Operations through the eye of Colin Powel, former Chairman Joint Chief of Staff in the United States. Well known for his religious approach to detail, he once observed that watching small things “tells the commander the true state of readiness (rather than how things look on the surface).” He also pointed that “a general’s attention to detail let’s the soldier far down the chain know that his link is as vital as the one that precedes or follows.”

Above aptly captures the scenario in a hotel where the General Manager, Room Division Manager (RDM), Executive Housekeeper, and indeed all the Middle Level Managers, down to the Room Attendant neglect/overlook details in preparing the guests room.

When superiors don’t create time to follow up on downlines, unimaginable things happen in the hotel, especially locally where hotel housekeepers are paid very poorly, they go unmotivated, no value added, no increment in salary, no incentives, above all no retirement plan. In extreme cases, they are abused by managers, owners and by guests.

In strict sense, it is important to ensure that proper supervision is done on daily basis in rooms and in all facilities. With growing epidemics/infections emerging from unexpected places and spreading within days to continents, the hotel industry must ensure that it upgrades its hygiene practices, emphasis must be laid on following appropriate operational procedures, and professional trainings made available to staff all the time. It is no longer smart to overlook detail these days.

With Corona Virus in the pipeline hotels including the big global brands must once again revisit the issue of “detail”.
“Big Picture” issues should not take over the place of ‘minute’ operational details- and of course those minute details are the foundation on which the “big picture” is rested and sustained.

A Stitch In Time Saves Nine

On another note, the 5th International Hospitality, Tourism & Eco-Sustainability Forum (IHTEF 5.0) holds in Abuja Nigeria at the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham this April, 7-8 with the theme “Disrupt: Impossible is Nothing” will focus on the details that make for hospitality excellence, as well as the “big pictures”- digital Hospitality, new market opportunities, growth and stability of “big brands” and health and security of the guest in a ‘viralized’ global community.

#investment #tourism #hygiene #hotelhousekeeping” #hospitality #Ihtef #Ihtef5.0


Chibuikem Diala is the Managing Director of Sustainable Eco6tem. He is also the Founder, International Hospitality, Tourism & Eco-Sustainability Forum (IHTEF), an annual hotel/tourism ‘platform of minds’ that helps build capacity and networking for professionals and stakeholders in the sector in Africa. ihtefafrica@gmail.com

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