In a panel session first, delegates at the 2016 edition of Hotel News ME’s Executive Housekeepers Conference, which took place on November 21, 2016 at The Conrad Hotel Dubai, heard a set of housekeepers battle it out with suppliers to see how new products and services can better cater their departments and what new innovations the housekeepers are really looking for.
Panelists on the lively session included: Gopal Ampili, executive housekeeper, Hilton Doha; Hari Sudhakar, executive housekeeper, Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah; Marjona Aslitdinova, executive housekeeper, Capital Centre Arjaan by Rotana; Sandeep Indulkar, CEO and founder, Kraft procurement, ZEKE and Hoteline and Vinayak C. Mahtani, CEO, Unique Precise International.
Throughout the session, a reoccurring theme highlighted by all participants included the need for more transparent communication between the housekeepers and suppliers.
Mahtani explained: “As a supplier, it’s not nice for us to bombard clients with calls and emails, but it’s also difficult to do business if the housekeepers aren’t transparent with us. If we don’t hear about their needs, how can we better our products and services and secure a portion of the market.”
In agreement with Mahtani, Ampili added: “It is a better way for the suppliers to do business to call back when they say they will call back, not before and not after. Clean communication is nessacary to building relationships, it isn’t professional for a supplier to just turn up and the hotel and demand to see us. Scheduled meetings with a mutual respect for each other’s time frame and work constraints helps maintain clear communication and longterm professional relationships.”
On the other side of the spectrum, Indulkar argued that, it is not always possible to build strong relationships with clients in the hospitality and housekeeping industry, “due to the high turnover of staff in the UAE.” He added: “Securing a share of the market isn’t an easy task when staff turnover is so high, you build a clear path of communication with someone, and then a few months later they are gone. You then end up having to go back to square one and prove that your latest innovation is a must have for the hotel.”
Raising the point that “housekeepers are looking for “new innovations, stemming beyond the likes of trolleys and carts” Sudhakar emphasised the need for housekeepers themselves to be part of the production process, he added: “It’s great for the suppliers to think that they have the ‘best product on the market’ but how many of them actually gain insights from the end users – us? Very few do, and it would greatly separate them from the crowd.”
Aslitdinova added: “It would be a great idea for suppliers to ask us what we need and would like to see, the housekeepers who pitch to their GMs and procurement teams have to have a strong case to spend money, often the housekeeping department can be neglected with budgets and we just have to make do with what we have. It all boils down to clearer communication between the housekeepers and the suppliers. If they don’t understand our needs, then we aren’t going to waste our time bouncing the ideas off of our management.”