Public Relations

Public Relations

Introduction

This essay is personal reflection of my practical experience at Radisson Blu Sydney hotel at the department of housekeeping. Radisson Blu Sydney is 5 stars hotel located on 27 O’Connell St, Sydney NSW 2000. The hotel is based in an old building which is just ten minutes walk from Circular Quay.  It has a total of 19 floors and the housekeeping department is based at B3.  All the employees of the hotel are required to wear specific uniform according to their departments and seniority. Housekeeping employees wear full black uniforms while their supervisors wear white shirts, black vests and black trousers.  Each of the floors from floor M to 10 is having a small storage room while the main storage room is located at B3. Employees of the hotel take lunch in turns according to their department. This ensures that the hotel cafeteria is not crowded during lunch time. The hotel is having a designated place located at the car parking floor where employees can smoke. Mobile phones are restricted in the hotel hence employees are not allowed to use the mobile phones in the hotel. There is a regular briefing every day after lunch where all employees are required to attend.

Practical Work Experience

During my practical experience at the hotel I mainly worked in the department of housekeeping. At the department of housekeeping I served in two capacities that include working as a room attendant and working as houseman. Both of the roles were demanding and I managed to gain significant experience from the two roles. The responsibilities of the two roles were different and this enabled me to gain a wide practical experience in housekeeping operations. I started working as a room attendant and later worked as a houseman. There were some similarities and differences between the practical housekeeping operations and the lesson that I learnt in class regarding housekeeping.

Working as a Room Attendant

During my work as a room attendant I was assigned to clean 6 rooms in sixth floor and 7 rooms in eighth floor. Cleaning each room took approximately 30 minutes and each room attendant was supposed to clean 13 rooms every day. Normally the room attendants were supposed to clean 1 floor on weekdays and 2 floor on weekends although this can be varied depending on the decision of the manager in charge. The room attendants were also assigned the job of the day for example a person can be assigned the duty of vacuuming the air vent.

There was specific procedure which was to be followed by the room attendant when cleaning the rooms. The door was knocked 3 times while saying the word housekeeping. The attendant was then supposed to wait between 15 to 20 seconds for the response. If there was no response, the room attendant was to enter the room slowly to confirm whether there was a guest in the room or not. If there is no guest the room attendant proceeds with cleaning process while rooms with guest were only supposed to be occupied. We were also not required to knock and the rooms with notices that reads “DO NOT DISTRUB”. Only the supervisors were required to knock those rooms after some duration of time.  The supervisors were also responsible for arranging the time of cleaning the rooms in cases a guest refused for the room attendants to enter and clean the room.

The first step in the process of cleaning the room involved changing of the linen.  The linens were marked with different marks based on the type of the bed so as to allow the room attendant to easily identify the linens for different categories of bed. At the Radisson Blu Sydney hotel, linen for the king beds were marked using red color while linen for queen bed were marked using green color. This make to it easier for room attendant to change linen for different categories of bed.

After changing the linen, the room attendant was required to make the bed. They should ensure that the bed is clean and tidy. Any dirt that may appear in the bed was supposed to be checked and cleaned thoroughly. This process might require a lot of practice for new room attendants to master.  The next step was cleaning the bathroom. The first step in the process of cleaning the bathroom involved cleaning all the glasses and mirrors. This is because in the cleaning of the each room only one clean towel was supposed to be used. This was then followed by cleaning of the sink area. In cleaning the sink area the attendant was allowed to put more shampoo or body wash when deemed necessary. In cleaning of the toilet seat, it was a must for the room attendant to use chemicals.

The next step after cleaning the bathroom was dusting. Dusting of the room was to start from the right hand side of the door moving around the room. This was followed by vacuuming of the room. When vacuuming the room, the attendant was required to start from inside the room all the way to the door. It was a must for the room attendant to check all the corners of the rooms.

Working as Houseman

My work as a houseman was to ensure that everything was running smoothly. As a houseman I was supposed to take out trashes, move dirty linens from the trolleys to bigger containers after every one hour. The bigger containers were then moved to the loading area when full. I was also supposed to do any other customers task as directed by the coordinators such as changing coffee machine, getting extra bed and changing towels among others. One houseman was responsible for 4 to 5 floors. For example, M to 3, 4 to 8 and 9 to 12 were assigned to3 housemen. Houseman who was assigned to work on floor M to 3 was as also supposed to take care of public areas, change towels for the gym and pool, put more toilet papers for the washrooms and sweep the floors.  The housemen were provided with special mobile phones that they used to receive tasks from the coordinators. They also had a checklist for recording the duties that they have accomplished. The job of a houseman requires walking a lot, moving up and down the floors.

Similarities and Differences between the Practical Experience and Class Lessons

Most of the procedures followed when cleaning the rooms at the hotel were similar to the lesson that I leant in class. Room attendant were required to knock at the door before entering the rooms.   The room attendant’s trolley was prepared at the end of the previous day. The trolley was packed with cleaning supplies and equipment, linen and room suppliers and accessories.  The cleaning suppliers were placed at the removable caddy that was at the top of the cart. A bag for keeping dirty linen was placed at the end of the trolley while rubbish bag was at the end of the trolley. All these processes were similar to the lesson that I learnt in class.

Another similarity was that the room attendants were required to knock three times. However there was a slight difference with respect to the word that was said by the room attendant when knocking the door. According to what I learnt in class, the room attendant was supposed to say “Good Morning/Afternoon” while in the hotel they only said the word “Housekeeping” when knocking the door.

According to the lesson that I leant in class the first step that room attendant was supposed to take while inside the room was to open the windows and curtains and remove rubbish. This was however different from the housekeeping operation at the hotel where the room attendant was not required to open the curtains and windows. Another significant difference was that in the process of cleaning the room, the house attendant was supposed to let the fridge run. This was different from the housekeeping lesson learnt which required the fridge to be turned off to defrost

At the hotel, room attendants followed a specific procedure when cleaning the bathroom. The first step in the process of cleaning the bathroom involved cleaning all the glasses and mirrors. This is because in the cleaning of the each room only one clean towel was supposed to be used. This was then followed by cleaning of the sink area. In cleaning the sink area the attendant was allowed to put more shampoo or body wash when deemed necessary. In cleaning of the toilet seat, it was a must for the room attendant to use chemicals. This process was significantly different from the lesson learnt in class since according to what I learnt in class, the attendant should start working from the shower and bath area, then to the basin and vanity area. After this the attendant was required to work on toilet and restock it.

The next step after cleaning the bathroom was dusting. Dusting of the room was to start from the right hand side of the door moving around the room. This was followed by vacuuming of the room. When vacuuming the room, the attendant was required to start from inside the room all the way to the door. It was a must for the room attendant to check all the corners of the rooms. The procedure of dusting the floor was similar to the lesson I learnt in class.

When a room attendant was assigned the job of vacuuming the air vent, he or she was required to ensure that all the necessary facilities of the room such as fridges and closet are present. In case any of the gadgets are missing the attendant was required to inform the coordinators immediately and let them know.  The process of vacuuming in the hotel was however different from what I learnt in class. In the hotel, vacuuming was done only in rooms which are not in use. The room attendants at the hotel were not allowed to vacuum rooms if it was in use or if the rooms still appear clean. This was as opposed to lesson leant in class that requires that all rooms should be vacuumed irrespective of whether they are in use or appear clean

The process followed in the final stage for cleaning the room at the hotel was different in some aspects. According to the lesson learnt in class the supervisor was supposed to confirm if the room is spotlessly clean before closing and locking the door. However in the hotel, the supervisor and the housemen were allowed to check if the room is clean.

Efficiency of the Daily Housekeeping Operations

There were a number of housekeeping operations that took place on a daily basis at the hotel.  The main daily housekeeping operations of the hotel include guest room cleaning, public area cleaning and uniform and linen issue to all the departments of the hotel. The efficiency of these daily operations varies from one situation to another. Guest room cleaning of the hotel was efficient due to the procedure which was followed when cleaning the rooms. The room attendants were trained and required to take appropriate measures that ensured that guests were not disturbed or inconvenienced. For example, they were required to knock the door three times while saying the word “housekeeping” and wait between 15 to 20 seconds before entering the room. This was to alert the guest and avoid inconveniencing them. Again the efficiency in guest room cleaning was also ensured through observing of notices placed at the door. In case the door of a guest room was having a notice written “Do Not Disturb”, then the room attendant was not supposed to knock the door. This also ensured that the guests were not disturbed hence maintained efficiency.

Different room attendants were also assigned various responsibilities with clear instruction to follow hence avoid confusion. For example, separate floors were assigned to each of the room attendants by the supervisors. There procedure that was followed when cleaning public rooms and guest rooms were also efficient. The room attendants observed efficiency when cleaning guest rooms and public areas. This ensured that the public area and the guest room were cleaned perfectly.

The issuance of uniform and linen to various departments also enhanced the efficiency of the housekeeping operations. Uniforms made it easy for the guests, supervisors and the management to be able to identify each other. This facilitated communications and operation of the company. Linens for different types of beds were also marked with different colours so as to enable room attendants to identify the appropriate linen when changing the bed. This also avoided the confusion that might result by replacing wrong linen to a given type of bed type.

Use of Technology in the Housekeeping Operations

The hotel also used a number of late technologies in various daily operations and in the guest room design. One of the major areas that latest technology was used in the hotel includes the use of computers to check in employers when they report to work as well as to check out employees when they leave. The fingerprints of the employees were placed in a computer gadget which automatically generates personal information of the employee such as name, department and time checked in or out.  This allowed the operation of the company to move smoothly without any delays that might be occasioned by the manual recording of the arrival and departure time of employees. It also helped the employees of the company to save time and enhance efficiency.  Housemen were also offered with special mobile phones that they use for receiving of instructions and directions from the coordinator. This helped to enhance the level of communication at the hotel.

Recent Technology That Could Be Used Housekeeping Operations

There are other forms of recent technologies that could have been used in the housekeeping or guest room design to help enhance the level of efficiency of the operations at the hotel. The door of the guest room could have been fixed with electronic gadgets that can be used to alert guest when the room attendants are preparing to clean the room. This can improve the efficiency as the room attendants will not have to physically knock the doors of the guest rooms while asking to be allowed in to clean. The hotel should also introduce a laundry service as it new product. This can ensure that it saves cost and time associated with outsourcing laundry service to other companies.

My Expectations Before and After the Practical Work Experience

Before my practical experience I was expecting that all the housekeeping operations should be similar to what I learnt in class. I thought that all hotels follow similar procedure in housekeeping practise, have the same facilities and equipments and use the same techniques. I thought that I can be able to adopt with ease to any housekeeping job without in house training from the specific hotels. This made be to have confidence of working in any hotel as a housekeeper irrespective of the status of the hotel. I was also expecting that housekeepers were only required to do the jobs that I leant in class alone but not any other job that might be assigned according to the requirements of a given hotel.

However after the practical experience, I realised that there are some differences between what is learnt in class and the practical housekeeping experience. I also realised that most hotels normally tailor their operations to suit their specific needs. This implies that all of the housekeeping operation at the various hotels is not necessarily similar to the lesson learnt in class. This has made me to develop an attitude of flexibility in my housekeeping job.

Conclusion

My work at Radisson Blu Sydney hotel enabled me to gain real work experience as a room attendant and houseman. I was able to apply the theory gained in class in real work situation. From the practical experience in the hotel, I realised that housekeeping operation in hotel can have some slight differences from the lesson learnt in class. The hotel designed some of its housekeeping operations to suit its specific need. This contributed to the difference between housekeeping operations at the hotel and what I learnt in class. However most of the housekeeping operations were similar to what I learnt in class. My work at the hotel also gets the knowledge of how technology can be applied in housekeeping operation so as to enhance efficiency. In general my work in the Radisson Blu Sydney hotel allowed me to gain practical experience of housekeeping operation.

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