Marie-Helene Westholm-Knebel, Senior Technical Officer, Emirates Green Building Council revealed that the main sources of water consumption in a standard hotel breaks down as 30% from rooms, 16% laundry and 16% landscaping at this year’s Executive Housekeepers Conference. She insisted that housekeepers must “speak the language of their staff” to continue sustainable housekeeping practices.
With an increase in corporate policies related to sustainability and CSR as well as a stronger focus of tourism authorities on these essential initiatives and their implementation, Westholm-Knebel emphasised the need for continuous training of staff beyond induction. She said: “It is critical to keep up-to-date with the latest standards and benchmarks. Emirates Green Building Council aims to help properties start their journey toward improving their sustainability standards by making their staff active players and empowered champions.”
Throughout the session Westholm-Knebel argued that despite a hotel’s age, “there is still the potential for positive change” within the housekeeping department.
She explained: “Chemical storage rooms without adequate ventilation with various items such as chemicals with liquid in them pose the risk of items to fall. This can easily be changed with simple, neat and well managed cleaning products in a refill system which presents opportunity for improvement. Implementing best practices such as safety at work, safety for guests, savings of products and financial savings are all great examples of small changes for a more sustainable future in housekeeping.”
Concluding the session, she added: “Training is not sufficient, you must speak the language of your staff – communicate often and in a simple manner. Signage, jokes, popular references all help show that you care about staff as they are the needed little hands that make a hotel run well and efficiently which is consistent with training and career development.”