Digital-first housekeeping team

Stop the Sneakernet!

Martin Dreymann


A seamless hotel service begins and ends with housekeeping, and even the most tightly run of ships is one careless oversight away from a negative customer review.

Fresh linen and towels, a well-stocked fridge, amenities and, crucially, cleanliness are all reasonable requests for any paying customer. But getting it all right, all of the time, is easier said than done.

As Executive Housekeepers and General Managers will know, what might seem simple and reasonable on the surface, demands swathes of staff and meticulous organization when put into practice.

Is a room ready? Which tasks have been complete and which remain to be done? What’s the agreed standard of clean? How are teams briefed, monitored and fed back to — or are they at all? Is each individual guest request looked after?

To successfully oversee a housekeeping workforce, the importance of effective coordination cannot be overstated. Managers should know where team members are at all times, and whether they’re working to target or falling behind. Team members should be able to manage their own workflows and take responsibility for getting tasks done, without managers having to remind them.

But here’s the problem: managing a team of housekeepers is no mean feat. Once they set off on their shift, Executive Housekeepers have very little way of knowing where they are. And running the halls to deliver verbal messages, or asking colleagues for help locating a certain staff member? That’s a costly waste of an Executive Housekeeper’s time and input.

And rather than performance data being delivered once, at the end of the shift, there should be an on-going stream of shared insight. Essentially, the “sneakernet” system is out, and a new era of housekeeper management is beginning...

Saying goodbye to “Sneakernet” for your housekeeping teams

If your housekeeping team is not yet operating and communicating with fluidity and shared accountability, then you’re more than likely still relying on “Sneakernet” to organize and update your team. And that needs to change, quickly. 

Put simply, Sneakernet refers to the process of manually moving data from one place to another. That means walking (or more likely running) around and delivering it on-foot, from A to B.

In practice, this usually takes the form of carrying a USB stick, bundle of documents or written task list from one place to another — transferring that data from one person, to another, by hand. Sure, it might get the job done. But it’s incredibly time consuming and resource heavy, too.

This resource cost becomes all the more apparent in hotels as well — and in housekeeping teams in particular. After all, there’s a lot of data to be collected all throughout the day. Who’s done what, when and how? What needs doing next, when, and by who? If ever there was an emoji to explain this: 🤯

This level of detail is incredibly difficult to manage at the best of times. But as hotels work to stay commercial under the restrictions of a global pandemic, the responsibilities of housekeeping staff are more involved than ever.

As routine cleans have morphed into deep cleans, and customer demands for cleanliness have become ever more stringent, it has never been more important for housekeepers to be able to relay their progress and escalate potential issues to management, immediately.

If your housekeepers are managing all of this information with a pen and paper checklist, waiting until the end of their shift to tell their manager how they got on, and only communicating via one-way radios — you’re working hard, but not smart. 

A push-to-talk radio message can all too easily be missed (or ignored). And what action can be taken when management is notified of an issue only as a shift ends?

Coordinating and succeeding as a digital-first housekeeping team 

Digital tools facilitate real-time coordination dialogue; allowing managers and their housekeeping teams to deliver actionable insights as-and-when they are needed, not when it’s already too late. 

What’s more, integrating digital tools into your team’s management coordination strategy is easier than you might think — and its effects are instant. Teams that adopt a digital-first strategy see an immediate boost in productivity, and with it, employee satisfaction. In fact:

  • According to Aruba Networks, 74% of employees who work in fully-enabled digital workplaces say their job satisfaction is good or very good. Is your team currently this satisfied?
  • In the same study, employees were also 91% more likely to praise their company’s vision when using digital workplace technologies. And when your hotel’s guest experience is your brand, that level of engagement is vital for sustainable success. 

Lua: the digital platform for getting more from your housekeeping teams

An innovative, digitally-native platform, Lua connects cleaning teams and makes your transition to a digital workforce seamless. Bringing Lua into your team, you can finally wave goodbye to the “Sneakernet” way of working and, with it, all of those wasted hours spent manually managing your team.

Lua helps make your data work for you, enabling your team to focus on what matters to them and the business: delivering an exceptional housekeeping service. Packed with features and designed from the ground up to be accessible for everyone, Lua improves your teams’ performance by simplifying its processes and communication strategy. 

How exactly? With Lua, you receive a suite of practical and customizable tools, designed to work for you:

Personalized workflows, for coordination perfection 

Your hotel and your team is unique. With Lua, you can design a workflow  that works for you. Brief out essential tasks, monitor performance, and gain a deeper understanding of the steps and actions being completed across all floors.

Real-time dashboard accessible anywhere on computer or tablet

Lua’s dashboard provides a wealth of housekeeping data in one place. Gain a comprehensive insight, and clear overall picture, into real-time worker activities and progress, displayed via a user-friendly dashboard.

Full room history and notifications delivered to managers and supervisors

The full room history shows which tasks housekeepers have completed in each room, in a simple list format. Staff mark goals they have accomplished in the living area, bathroom, bed, etc. as they go. Managers and supervisors receive instant notifications to keep them in the loop.

A user-friendly interface, with multiple languages for housekeepers

Lua is designed to be user-friendly for everyone — regardless of tech-proficiency — and multiple languages are available for maximum convenience. No more crossed wires. Just a simple, streamlined solution and a greatly improved workflow. We can add a new language in minutes, so just let us know what you need. 

Housekeeping teams have never been more important. Are you giving them the tools they need to succeed?

Cleanliness has never been an optional trait in the hotel industry. But today, your housekeepers are an even more crucial lever for competitive advantage than ever before.

For the housekeeping teams already using Lua, they’ve seen a 30% increase in daily productivity, with more assignments scheduled, completed, and inspected per day. What’s more, this increased productivity nets out at a resource saving of over $44,000 per annum (for hotels with about 200 rooms). 

As one General Manager says: “We reckon Lua paid for itself six times over within the first year at our hotel. Now we spend less time walking and more time focusing on the guest experience.” 

So retire those sneakers, upgrade your tools, and make 2021 the year of smart productivity. Get your Lua demo today.