Hospitality, automated cleaning technology Fri, Apr 26, '24
Hotel Cleaning Guide: Tips and Tools To Level Up Housekeeping

In the hospitality industry, cleanliness can significantly impact guest satisfaction and a hotel's reputation and bottom line. Hotel guests have high expectations for hygiene and sanitation, and many will avoid hotels with poor cleanliness reviews. Failing to meet cleanliness expectations can also deter guests from returning to the hotel the next time they travel.

This comprehensive guide shares the latest strategies, tools, and technologies to enhance your hotel’s cleaning standards of procedure (SOPs) while staying within budget and creating a more balanced workload for your housekeeping staff

The Importance of Hotel Cleanliness — By the Numbers

Clean facilities are more than a nice-to-have for hotel leaders — they’re imperative to their reputation, guest experience, and bottom line. That especially holds true with post-COVID consumers. While the immediate effects of the pandemic are behind us, apprehensions regarding the cleanliness and hygiene of public spaces still remain.

In their 2024 State of the Industry report, the American Hotel & Lodging Association shares that cleanliness is the number-one step hotels can take to ensure a positive guest experience, according to travelers. A majority (59%) said that guest-room cleanliness was the most important factor, while overall property cleanliness came in a close second at 48%.

Although guest spending has largely recovered from the pandemic, many hotel teams are still grappling with staffing challenges, including shortages, that make it difficult to keep pace with rising demand. As a hotel manager or owner, it’s more important than ever to reevaluate cleaning strategies that make the most of your current staff — without compromising on quality — to meet the expectations of today’s guests.

Check out our Video Case Study: Video: Whiz at Marriott Denver Tech Center

The Components of a Successful Hotel Cleaning Strategy

Crafting a comprehensive hotel cleaning strategy involves more than just routine tasks. As a hotel owner, you can’t afford your housekeeping to be reactive. 

To maintain high standards of cleanliness while keeping costs in check, you need a proactive and holistic strategy that includes effective cleaning equipment and supplies, smart use of technology, skilled and engaged staff, and thorough process documentation. You should also have the tools and resources to capture and analyze performance data for continuous improvement.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into each one of these components. 

Cleaning Equipment and Supplies

Getting back to the basics, the foundation of any effective hotel cleaning procedure is using high-quality cleaning equipment and supplies. 

From vacuum cleaners with HEPA filtration that capture 99.9% of dust and allergens to eco-friendly cleaning agents that ensure guest safety while protecting the environment, choosing the right equipment and supplies can significantly improve cleaning efficiency and outcomes.

Cleaning Technology

Using technology designed for hotel operations, like automated cleaning robots, can transform how your housekeeping team approaches their cleaning responsibilities. These robots can handle repetitive tasks like vacuuming and floor scrubbing, allowing your housekeeping staff to focus on areas that require a human touch. 

Furthermore, connected cleaning software can help you schedule, track, and analyze cleaning tasks to ensure no detail is overlooked — and that your cleaning schedules are optimized in the best way possible. 

Housekeeping Staff Proficiency and Engagement

Having all the right equipment and technology will only be truly effective in the right hands. Prioritize hiring and developing a well-trained and motivated housekeeping team that is empowered to execute a successful cleaning strategy. 

Regular training sessions on the latest cleaning techniques and technologies are a great way to engage and motivate staff and ultimately lead to higher job satisfaction and superior cleaning standards.

Process Documentation

Documenting cleaning processes helps your team maintain consistency and compliance with your hotel cleaning standard operating procedure (SOPs). Keeping detailed checklists and guidelines to standardize cleaning practices across hotel facilities makes it easier to maintain high-quality outcomes, identify housekeeping challenges, and quickly address areas for improvement.

Cleaning Performance Data

Collecting and analyzing data related to cleaning performance allows you to identify trends, pinpoint inefficiencies, and allocate your hotel cleaning resources more effectively. This data-driven approach can lead to better decision-making, more streamlined cleaning operations, and improved resource management.

7 Steps To Improve Cleaning Operations

To elevate your hotel's cleaning operations, consider the following actionable steps:

1. Tend To Common Areas

Your common areas, including your hotel lobby, hallways, and restrooms, are key to creating a positive first impression with guests. Make sure these areas receive constant attention, including regular cleaning and timely attention to spills and debris to enhance overall cleanliness and improve your guest experience 

2. Regularly Disinfect and Sanitize

Given the current emphasis on health and safety, prioritizing the disinfection and sanitization of your guest rooms and common areas is more important than ever. Focus on disinfecting high-touch surfaces, including door handles, light switches, and remote controls, to keep guests and employees healthy.

3. Foster a Culture of Clean

Cultivate a workplace culture that prioritizes cleanliness, where every staff member, regardless of their role, feels responsible for maintaining high cleanliness standards. 

For example, a structured system should be implemented to recognize and reward staff contributions and reinforce the importance of cleanliness. 

4. Conduct Regular Inspections and Quality Checks 

Regular inspections and quality checks can help ensure cleaning tasks meet your hotel's standards. Supervisors or random audits can conduct these checks, providing immediate feedback and opportunities for continuous improvement. 

5. Focus Your Staff’s Time on Tasks that Require a Human Touch 

Make sure your housekeeping team has the time and energy to focus on tasks that need attention to detail that can only be achieved with a human touch. 

This is especially important for keeping guest rooms and bathrooms pristine, as well as deep cleaning activities. These areas are where your housekeeping staff should be spending the majority of their time, as the tasks required to keep these areas clean are typically difficult to automate.

6. Automate Your Most Time-Consuming Tasks 

The lobby may be one of the most important areas to keep pristine because it’s the first thing guests see when they visit — and they’ll quickly form a lasting impression of your hotel from that experience. The challenge is that these general areas often take the most time from your housekeeping team. They’re large and need near-constant attention due to the level of foot traffic. 

Keeping up with vacuuming alone can occupy a large percentage of your housekeeping team’s time. This is where automated cleaning solutions come into play, offloading these incredibly time-intensive cleaning tasks so your staff can focus on higher impact — and more engaging — tasks. Here are a few tasks where cleaning automation shines (and will help you maximize your human staff and your budget):

Sweeping and Mopping General Areas

Sweeping and mopping hard floors are a constant requirement for keeping lobby areas clean and free of dirt, grime, and spills that build up throughout the day as guests come and go. In high-traffic areas, sweeping and mopping may be necessary multiple times daily.

The Scrubber 50 Pro is an example of an automated, robotic floor scrubber that can provide exceptional value in high-traffic areas like hotel lobbies. The Scrubber 50 Pro cleans near staff and guests, using integrated sensors to help it navigate safely and autonomously around people and other obstacles. 

By providing continuous scrubbing and dust mopping, the Scrubber 50 Pro can help keep a clean lobby while freeing up cleaning staff for other deep cleaning tasks. 

Vacuuming General Areas

Just like hard surfaces, carpeted areas in hotel lobbies accumulate dirt and dust every time a guest walks through, and you might need to vacuum multiple times a day to keep the area clean and presentable. And just like hard surfaces, automated cleaning technologies can help you keep up with the need for continuous cleaning in these areas. 

For example, Whiz, the autonomous vacuum cleaning solution, helps hotel owners manage the constant upkeep required in lobbies and other shared spaces. Whiz provides measurable savings by increasing cleanliness by 50% and efficiency in time invested by 30%.

7. Leverage Data Analytics to Optimize Cleaning Operations 

Use data analytics to optimize cleaning schedules based on occupancy patterns, event calendars, and peak check-in/check-out times. If you plan to leverage automated cleaning solutions, look for a vendor with connected equipment. 

For example, our robotic solutions are connected through SoftBank Robotics Connect, which captures cleaning data and reporting insights in near real-time. Our proprietary data and reporting platform captures each cleaning robot’s coverage and run time, plus identifies and reminds users of regular maintenance needs for peak performance. An intuitive dashboard also lets users manage robot routes, locations, and productivity from a desktop or smartphone. 

Combined with a strategic data-driven approach, these tools ensure efficient use of resources and maintain high cleanliness standards even during busy periods.

Frequently Asked Questions on Hotel Cleaning Operations

How Much Does It Cost To Clean a Hotel?

The cost of cleaning a hotel varies widely depending on factors such as the size of the property, the level of cleanliness required, and the hotel’s geographical location. However, investing in efficient cleaning tools and technologies can optimize budgets and reduce labor costs in the long run by improving overall cleaning productivity and allowing your existing cleaning staff to focus their time and energy on tasks that truly require a human touch. 

How Can I Improve the Productivity of My Housekeeping Team?

Improving housekeeping productivity can be achieved by providing your cleaning staff with ongoing training, implementing efficient cleaning technologies, and optimizing cleaning routes and schedules based on historical and current performance data. 

How Can I Better Anticipate Future Cleaning Resourcing Needs?

Using cleaning management software to track and analyze cleaning performance data can help in forecasting future cleaning needs. Additionally, keeping abreast of industry trends and guest feedback can offer insights into areas requiring more focus or resources.

Ready To Transform How You Clean?

Adopting a holistic approach to hotel cleaning, integrating innovative technologies, and focusing on staff training and engagement are key to elevating your hotel's housekeeping operations. 

SoftBank Robotics offers white-glove service solutions tailored to the unique needs of the hospitality industry. With our cutting-edge cleaning robots and expert support, we can help you transform your cleaning operations, enhance guest satisfaction, and drive your hotel's success.

See why we’re the trusted robotics solutions provider for hospitality leaders.

Tristar Case study video (Hilton Garden Inn)