15 Mar How to Help Your Housekeeper: Spring Cleaning Tips
With spring cleaning on everyone’s mind these days, we’d like to highlight the hard-working hotel staff in our lives. Without them, hotels would look dingy and uninhabitable, and we can never thank them enough for taking care of business travelers. Sadly, almost a third of us don’t, and you’ll see what we mean in a second.
You’re kidding yourself if you’re thinking that housekeeping is for the faint of heart. According to a study we found in Seattle Weekly, “In a survey of Las Vegas hotel housekeepers, 75 percent reported experiencing work-related pain in the previous year. In another survey of hundreds of hotel housekeepers in the U.S. and Canada, 91 percent of respondents reported work-related pain. And according to the latest available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hotel and motel employees experience a significantly higher rate of injury on the job than do coal miners.”
But over 30% of hotel goers are not tipping them for back-breaking work, according to a Huffington Post poll. One major hotel chain, Marriott, started a system that helps remind guests to tip housekeepers because “hotel guests do not always see or interact with room attendants, their hard work is many times overlooked when it comes to tipping. The ‘Envelope Please Program’ makes leaving them a gratuity simple and secure.” As an additional benefit, the program minimizes confusion by cleaning up the spare cash lying around: Housekeepers exercise caution with the cash on the bedside table — some think it belongs to them, while others avoid it so they can’t be accused of stealing.
- Please tip your housekeeper. — Tip the housekeeper $1-5 per night you stay, according to the hotel market and room service quality. If possible, place the cash into an envelope or put it in a less conventional place–like in the bathroom sink or under the pillow.
- Jot down a quick note. — Money talks, but so do words: Take a moment to write down how much you appreciate a job well done. Just don’t leave a note without money. That’s tacky.
- Don’t grab cleaning supplies or towels that aren’t yours. — Respect the staff’s space, and don’t grab supplies off the carts. At the beginning of the day, they stockpile exactly what they need, so please conserve their resources.
- Stop crying wolf with the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign. — Look, no one can read minds here. If you want turnover service, double check that your ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign is off your door before leaving your room for the day. Housekeeping typically leaves around five, so don’t expect service much later than that.
- Don’t be a total slob — Remember that housekeeping usually operates under a room quota: Housekeepers have to clean a certain number (usually between 15 and 20) of rooms no matter how messy they are. Dirty rooms can take significantly longer.
- Tuck your suitcase away — This tip has big benefits for you too. Taking out the necessities, putting them into the hotel drawers, and stashing the rest of your luggage away helps you feel less like you’re living out of a suitcase, especially beneficial for long-term business travelers. Obviously, housekeepers can navigate their way around your stuff more easily when you do this too.
- Don’t steal the soap! — Global partners of amenity-recycling programs like Clean the World and Global Soap are showing us there are much more meaningful places for that hotel soap than a furtive home in your suitcase. IHG has already donated 99,000 pounds of soap to countries in desperate need of sanitation.
As if we needed another reason to thank them, housekeepers shoulder the burden of this social change within the hotel industry in addition to their many daily responsibilities. What can you do? Gather your unused soaps, body washes, and shampoos together before you leave to contribute to this worthy cause. If you would like to get involved even after you check out and you have stockpiled air and hotel amenities, put them to good use. Gather up your home supply of hotel soaps and shampoos, throw them into a box, and ship them to the donation center to help US homeless shelters. Click here to learn more.
Need more ideas about guest courtesy in your hotel? Hop on over to our “10 Steps to Becoming a Better Hotel Guest” blog.