In the days before I worked in Hotels, I rather naively imagined everybody was friends in Hotels – the distinctions between what various departments did, or the differences between the various roles within them, was unclear? (read on or watch the video) Even when I started working in Hotels and the true picture came into focus, it came as a surprise to me that everyone didn’t just get on….

As a junior Hotel employee, the first and most obvious crack in relationships that I saw was the somewhat prickly relationship between Front Office and Housekeepers. Disputes were regular and, usually, conducted at high volume across the laundry or in the staff rooms. Reception would nag about the speed of getting clean bedrooms and – Housekeepers, in return, would go on constantly about high occupancy and customers who didn’t leave when they should have done.

“I can’t hit my occupancy because Housekeepers are just too slow”

“Their job is so easy, they just sit behind a desk all day smiling and talking…we are doing the real work”

“Maybe if Housekeeping spent less time drinking tea and smoking, then we could actually get our rooms back”

“Our Front Office team doesn’t even fully understand the real work of a Hotel or what they’re selling. You never see any proper work get done up there”

“There are too many complaints about those dirty sheets – just because their homes have dirty sheets, it does not mean my guests should”

“I don’t even think Reception fully understands what a Hotel actually is? I would like to see just one of that lot clean even 5 bedrooms in a day.”

That these disputes arose at all I now see as inevitable given the weakness in the way many Hotels managed these two groups: there were rarely ever rational discussions between these two groups of people, apart from the occasional head-butting at team meetings. You should not have to wait for the next “confidential” employee survey to bring up problems.

We all have the tendency to divide up our Hotels into Us and Them. It’s all too easy to find an enemy. Someone to take the opposite view of and assume that your Gang are doing better than. Remember that hostility and fear are two sides of the same coin.

Do those Front Office people seem to take the Hotel’s side in any interaction, never the Housekeepers’ side? Do Front Office seem to want to get Housekeepers in trouble for tiny mistakes? Do Front office even view Housekeeping as trustworthy?

Do Housekeeping believe Receptionists stand idly by while incompetent and abusive supervisors get promoted and mistreat everyone? Do Housekeeping believe Front Office talk more about policies and other management stuff whilst they do the real work?

What can a Rooms Manager do if his or her Hotel’s Front Office and Housekeeping are not working as friends? Perhaps the first step is to look in the mirror! Maybe Rooms Managers focus too much on keeping payroll costs down and keeping “employee issues” to a minimum, instead of setting ambitious goals and then hiring brilliant people to help achieve them – and letting those brilliant people do their jobs?

Tell me what you think?

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