Panel discussion, “Tech Talk”, which took place during BNC Publishing’s Executive Housekeepers Conference, touched upon the challenges faced by the housekeeping department when it comes to implementing the latest technology to improve efficiency.
Some of the panelists pointed out that educating management on the benefits of technology is the biggest challenge they face.
Erkan Tatlidil, managing director of software development company, Evonade, commented: “The owners don’t see housekeeping as part of the hotel, but that has to change. You see a lot of applications coming onto the market now – a few years back there were one or two but now there are more than 10.”
Tatjana Ahmed, housekeeping manager and functional specialist housekeeping, Grand Hyatt Dubai added: “I agree with Ekran; the big hotels do invest in these applications but the smaller ones don’t. Technology has come in too slow and there’s a perception that if someone can spin a mop, this is all they need to do.
“If [management] can be educated on the cost saving and benefits… there are technologies that can save you days and hours of time, but management does not recognise this.”
Agreeing that investment in technology often depends on the size of the property, and how well-educated general managers are on the benefits of this, Prabhat Shukla, executive housekeeper, Intercontinental Doha The City said: “Most of the bigger properties invest, but the small ones don’t want to because housekeeping is still an expenses department, not revenue generating.
“Most of the GMs are not from the housekeeping department, so they don’t have exposure to what housekeeping is doing. If the GM knew the housekeeping team, he could put forward these things to the owner.”
On the other hand, Pamini Hemaprabha, executive housekeeper, regional rooms specialist and master trainer Emirates Palace, emphasised the importance of having the right staff on board, and argued this is more important than technology.
“What kind of people are you getting into housekeeping? We have a challenge getting them just to understand basic things. It isn’t getting better; we have just learned to compromise. Housekeepers are considered as replaceable heads, not as people with brains.
“I don’t see it getting better in the future if we don’t put our foot down and fight for the tech and the manpower that we need. If I have an app and I give it to someone with no common sense, then it’s not going to help me…. We don’t need so much good technology; we need good people.”
The Executive Housekeepers Conference, presented by DU, took place at Conrad Hotel Dubai on 21 November with more than 130 housekeepers in attendance.
The event was supported by: Presenting Sponsor, Du; Workshop Sponsor, FCS Computer Systems; Guest Supply; Renarte LLC; A. Ronai LLC; Silentnight UAE LLC; UPI; Bahraja General Trading LLC; Hanse; TCL, Room Operations and Kraft Procurement.