For many South Africans, the middle of October signifies the start of a two-month countdown to the December holidays. You find your thoughts drifting towards lazy breakfasts, lounging by the pool, and leisurely strolls on the beach. If you are the family’s designated “organiser” (the person that makes the hotel booking, arranges the transport and packs 80% of the luggage) you’ve probably started writing at least 20 lists in order to ensure that you remember everything.
It may surprise you, but your hotel is probably writing a few lists of their own as peak tourist season approaches. And at least one of them is bound to be about holiday hygiene.
You might argue that hygiene is a 365 day-a-year, non-negotiable item for hotels, but you also need to consider that peak tourist season means brings with it some additional complexities, for example, that hotels often are at full occupancy for an extended period of time. This means that extra care and additional measures need to be taken to ensure the hotel is geared up for the additional traffic in order to provide a customer experience that exceeds expectations.
Here are some of the areas on which hotels should be spending some extra time and attention during their preparation to ensure that you have peace of mind during your holiday:
You may think that hotel receptions are always in a state of readiness, but the truth is that a lot of work needs to be done in the quieter hours to thoroughly clean this area. With regard to hygiene, reception desks are probably wiped down with a disinfecting wipe during the day surfaces should also be thoroughly cleaned with a surface sanitiser on a regular basis. Because of the increase in traffic, hotel doormats should also be laundered more frequently.
Over the busy period, you may also find that scenting units are adjusted to a higher output, to ensure that reception areas always smell fresh and inviting.
Peak holiday season means that the hotel kitchens are under pressure. Chefs should definitely include training on hand washing and cross contamination for kitchen staff before the peak season starts, as well as ensure that they have sufficient supplies of things like gloves, food safe handwash and surface disinfectant.
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Because of the surge in guest numbers, most hotel kitchens will require additional daily prep time and cleaning time over the holiday season. Larger kitchens should opt for a scheduled deep clean before the season starts, as well as insisting that their grease traps are in perfect working order.
In our Restaurant hygiene challenges and how Initial solves them: Part 1 blog, there was a fantastic quote by Anthony Bourdain, who said “I won’t eat in a restaurant with filthy bathrooms. This isn’t a hard call. They let you see the bathrooms. If the restaurant can’t be bothered to replace the puck in the urinal or keep the toilets and floors clean, then just imagine what their refrigeration and work spaces look like.” I’d like to use creative licence and extend this to hotels. If a hotel has a filthy bathroom next to its reception, what can you expect from the kitchen, restaurant and rooms?
It is of vital importance that hotels ensure that their bathrooms are serviced regularly during peak season, to ensure these spaces are clean and that there are no foul odours. It is also important to double check that their hygiene provider has reviewed their schedule for this time to ensure the hotel doesn’t run out of the essentials (like toilet paper) and that any extra measures, like a deep clean, have been booked in advance.
A hotel may even opt to schedule deep cleans in the ensuite bathrooms of their hotel rooms to ensure they have peace of mind before the peak season starts.
The area most notorious for earning you a negative review on websites like TripAdvisor has to be the hotel bedroom. There are horror stories about dusty rooms, dirty showers and what was growing on the remote (I’m going to stop right there as I’m sure you don’t want to know more).
First, it’s important for the hotel to have a strong business-as-usual cleaning regime that alleviates most of the above-mentioned issues. It’ s also important that refresher training is done with the Housekeeping team to ensure cross contamination is limited. Simple tips like using different cloths to clean the toilet and the basin, and wearing gloves when cleaning high-risk items are important.
For extra care, you may want to do a TechnoHygiene service before peak season to ensure that bedroom telephones, televisions, and remotes have a thorough clean.
I would also recommend your pest control provider does a thorough, room by room inspection to ensure all pest management standards are met. After all, a hotel’s worst nightmare is that dreaded morning report from a guest that a room is infested with bed bugs. An expert provider won’t just check the mattress for these biting pests, special care needs to be taken to check luggage stands, headboards, and nightstands amongst other room furniture.
If you are busy planning your holiday, it’s comforting to know that your hotel is working just as hard on holiday preparation as you are. If you are a hotel manager and don’t quite have all the key areas covered, why not give Initial a call.