The Evolution of Housekeeping – A Webinar Featuring Guest Panelist Kylie Maxwell

16 September 2020

Image 2020 12 10 T05 42 02

​​In the 3rd installment of the Knowcross webinar series, our own Kylie Maxwell joined moderator Nikhil Nath, Founder & CEO of Knowcross, as well as lineup of distinguished panelists to discuss the future of housekeeping and hospitality.

The expert panelists included:

  1. Kylie Maxwell, Executive General Manager, ahs hospitality

  2. James Walkden, Area Director of Operations Australia, New Zealand & Pacific, Marriott Hotels

  3. Kenneth Low, Hospitality Veteran & Past Vice President Hotel Operations at MGM Cotai, Macau

  4. Martin Hurley, General Manger, Lancaster Bangkok

Hospitality Webinar Highlights

To save you time we selected some of our favourite housekeeping highlights and listed them below.

Forecasting Occupancy for Australia & New Zealand

During this post-covid age it is difficult to anticipate future occupancy, yet reassuringly Kylie Maxwell and James Walkden reported similar predictions of:

  • 50% slide in the middle of next year

  • 60-70% increase in the following 12 months

Impact on Labour Felt Internationally

Adaptability appeared paramount as the expert panelists discussed how they shuffled services and labour to not only adjust to new covid regulations, but to retain employees. The panel highlighted:

  • Efforts to re-structure and re-skills their workforce

  • Challenges in retraining and repurposing current employees to provide alternatives services, while retaining standards

  • Loss of overseas contract workers

  • Potential threat of losing valued employees to other industries due to the lack of working hours available

Changes in Housekeeping Processes

As an authority on housekeeping services, Kylie said ahs hospitality’s first approach was to consult with an infectious disease expert to ensure their housekeepers comply with covid safety regulations. New service protocols were brought in and then aligned to each hotels preferred approach. This also meant new equipment and a new approach to training (and re-training).

James Walkden detailed a top down approach, illustrating how Marriott would elect a Cleanliness Champion at a senior level, who communicated processes and requirements. This was then adapted into webinars, digital learning platforms, and then a list of expectations and processes to be achieved at different levels of the businesses. Marriott would also ensure they collaborated with partners like ahs hospitality to confirm their processes aligned.

Balancing Safety, Comfort, Quality & Aesthetics

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, was James Walkden’s response. James detailed how Marriott Group took its global learnings to re-evaluate their services, amenities, and room inclusions. Marriott made the move to sacrifice some of their soft furnishings in lieu of hygiene and efficiency, as cleanliness and hygiene re-positioned itself as the primary focus.

Martin Hurley delved into the challenges of maintaining 5 star services when new processes are to be adhered to, such as the hotel’s restaurant now having to deliver their meals in plastic containers to the doors of guests rooms. He highlighted the importance of staff adapting and still prioritising guest experience.

Technology to Re-shape an Industry

The panel discussed how technology would play a key part in the evolution of the hotel industry, the main talking points included:

  • The opportunity for robotics in cleaning public spaces

  • The use of Knowcross systems and platforms to automate compliance with new brand standards

  • The evolution of certain job roles, for example many of the duties by a coordinator might be extradited with the introduction of more contactless technology, leaving more time to focus on operations

  • The use of mobile keys, hotel branded mobile apps for contactless services and the potential for essential high-touch items like compendiums to go digital

Cleaning Products in a New Age

The panel discussed and responded to questions around cleaning products, including:

  • The value and effectiveness of electrostatic sprays as disinfectants for pathogen cleans in large public spaces

  • The importance of a TGA approval and fostering a strong and transparent relationship with your chemical partner

  • Prioritising employee’s comprehension of their new training, equipment and processes was another essential element for success

  • Recommendations for proper testing of new cleaning chemicals to ensure no residue is left

The Evolution of Housekeeping webinar streamed live on Thursday the 10th of September. You can watch the entire recording by clicking here, alternatively you can read our highlights above.

If you wish to learn more about ahs hospitality’s outsourced housekeeping services, please contact us.