First impressions really matter—making room cleaning one of the most important aspects of a hotel’s daily operations. The moments after a guest opens the door to their room are crucial: any mistakes here are bound to make it into their review, or worse still, lead someone who otherwise would not have reviewed, to leaving a negative review. So how can you avoid costly slip-ups and instead become known for outstanding cleanliness?
If you are ready to brush up on all things housekeeping, this blog covers everything from hotel room cleaning checklists to tips and software to support your team.
Why is hotel room cleaning so important?
Hotel room cleaning is a relatively black and white space: you either get it right (and enjoy your guests’ content silence) or you get it wrong (and deal with complaints). And when you get it wrong, the cost of repair is high and measured in the impact of a negative review and the lost trust of a customer who may never return. Even relatively neutral reviews can evoke shudders down the spine of potential guests, when the specified cleanliness rating falls sub par.
With only one chance to get it right, housekeeping is a daily activity that has the power to make or break a guest’s experience and shines a spotlight on your team’s processes, as well as attention to detail.
In the pursuit of perfect processes and a suitable hotel room cleaning policy, hoteliers can turn to checklists, experienced housekeeping managers and software, with the goal to drive efficiencies alongside excellence.
What should your room cleaning policy include?
A hotel room cleaning policy lays the foundation for all housekeeping-related activities. It usually includes:
- The vision, which provides an opportunity to align with the hotel’s brand and goals,
- House-specific standards, such as products used,
- Guidelines for conduct, including engagement with guests and reporting faulty appliances,
- Procedures for public areas and back of house by frequency and
- Checklists by room type for cleaning during a guest’s stay, turn-down service and turnovers between guests.
Thorough training on policies addresses more unusual scenarios and provides general guidance to align the housekeeping team’s actions with the hotel’s values.
Where a hotel room cleaning service is brought in, the room cleaning policy may form part of the agreement between the hotel and the hospitality cleaning service and set clear standard operating procedures.
Hotel room cleaning checklist
Whether you are writing a checklist for your run-of-house or your suites, the overall approach will likely be the same: top to bottom and removing things before restocking. This means you start cleaning up high and finish with the floor.
Procedures and checklists are often segmented by the two separate areas to clean.
Bedroom cleaning checklist
- Open the windows
- Remove linens, rubbish, or debris
- Dust surfaces, starting at the highest points (so any dust swept up here can get cleaned off the floor later)
- Arrange & create order, such as hangers in closet, menus on desks, and ironing boards returned to their storage
- Wipe and sanitize surfaces, including doorknobs and handles
- Make the bed
- Restock amenities
- Check that appliances are working, including lightbulbs
- Finish with signature touches
- Vacuum or mop the floors
- Final look (and close that window)
Bathroom cleaning checklist
- Remove towels, mats, rubbish, or debris
- Arrange & create order, such as hair dryers clean and neatly packed away
- Clean & sanitise surfaces, including towel rails, cabinet handles and doors, showers, tubs, sinks, and drains
- Clean & sanitise toilet and bidets
- Restock amenities, including towels, toilet paper and toiletries
- Check that appliances are working, including hot water
- Finish with signature touches
- Mop the floors
- Final look
12 tips to make your hotel room cleaning perfect
- Now you have read of ‘signature touches’ twice, it’s time to define yours: it could be as simple as a hotel-branded chocolate on the nightstand or as detailed as a personalised greeting note on the mirror.
- Create efficiencies through clarity: the differences between cleaning the room of an in-house guest as opposed to a full turnover should be clear and result in both happy guests and less time spent turning down a room vs turning over a room.
- Have clear checklists for room types that are not run-of-house. This may include instructions on how to clean or maintain special gear such as jet tubs or gym equipment.
- Forecast hotel room cleaning times and staffing based on occupancy level. This begins with knowing how long a full room turnover takes and how many are scheduled for the day.
- Pay attention to ‘use by dates’ when replenishing amenities, toiletries, or refreshments. No one wants to find an expired camomile tea bag with their Nespresso.
- Use cleaning supplies and products that do not have a distinct or overpowering smell.
- Schedule regular checks of all appliances, change of filters for air conditioners or cleaning of ducts. These may be relatively more time-consuming or costly but pay off greatly when compared to guests complaining about issues with appliances such as functionality, noise or bad smells that cannot be masked.
- Standardise the organisation of your housekeeping carts and ensure they are easy to move around your hallways, rooms and carpets.
- Schedule regular deep cleans of windows, carpets, guest rooms, public areas and the back of house.
- Update housekeeping checklists when new amenities are added.
- Reward your housekeeping team with recognition and empower them to speak up about recurring or emerging issues. It is much better to learn about towel racks coming loose from a team member than from a guest.
- Get back to the floor with your team and experience what a routine turnover in your hotel looks like.
Hotel room cleaning software: How can you streamline your processes
Nowadays, perhaps the best hotel room cleaning tips do no longer come in the form of checklists, but as tech-recommendations. Even unexpected sources such as review management software can let a hotel identify an issue with the smell in their elevators—simply by arranging a word cloud based on the most mentioned words in reviews. Beyond identifying issues, creating efficiencies and excellence through streamlined processes sounds simple until numerous other factors impact a hotel’s daily operations and a guest calls to ask about a late check-out.
While your team pursues their daily dance of balancing standard procedures with emerging guest requirements, it makes sense to invest in technology that saves time. Not only may this result in a cost-saving when the need for housekeeping staff is accurately projected, but it may smooth communication between teams and provide much-needed visibility.
One example of software that can assist with housekeeping is HKeeper in the Siteminder App Store, which also offers an opportunity to manage other tasks, such as maintenance, to-dos, internal communication and general employee management. Housekeeping software that integrates with a hotel’s PMS, uses inventory and reservation data to project staffing needs, forecast when rooms will be ready, and ensure your team’s time is spent where it matters most.