Part of my experience in the hospitality industry, was a short stint in the economic lodging industry. My spouse and I were “relief managers” in a west coast motel chain. This simply meant that we were “substitute managers” in various locations for managers that were taking time away from their assigned properties. Part of our responsibility was to make sure the rooms were adequately cleaned employing “follow up” process after the room cleaners left the rooms. After several properties and disappointing revelations (a metaphor for disgusting findings), and a lack of responsiveness to make corrections by the managers assigned or upper management, we left the business, under pressure I might add!
Carpets – It is only natural that guests walk barefoot on the floor and carpets. Never again! Generally the carpets were rapidly and haphazardly vacuumed and if spots existed, the carpet cleaning powder available commercially, was sprinkled down and then vacuumed up. Shampooing was rarely incorporated. Upon checking carpets with a white fabric, invariably the carpets were uniformly dirty leaving a stain on the fabric used for the test. YUK! You walk on that!
Blankets – Blankets come in contact with our body parts! Unless soiled visibly or mandates were issued, the blankets were rarely washed or depending on the fabrication requirements, dry cleaned! Remember these blankets are used repeatedly from guest to guest and you never know what degree of hygiene was practiced by the prior user(s) or don't even think about what could have taken place on that blanket before you were exposed to it!
Room Air conditioner and/or overhead heating vents - We rarely found these vents or filters in a clean and sanitary condition. Actually the overhead vent covers should be removed and the ducts cleaned out yearly. Room type air conditioner vents and filters should be cleaned and filters replaced on a regular basis. After all, they are run constantly and all the air disseminated within the room goes through those vents!
Shower curtains – Without fail the dirty excess water splashing off the wall and bodies of prior users ends up on the shower curtain! The shower curtain(s) should be wiped down and disinfected after each guest checks out and replaced on a regular basis. This rarely takes place in the real world. We witnessed that cleaners would oft times cut off the heavily soiled bottom area of the curtains rather than replace them.
Toilet seats – I will try to avoid being too graphic wherein I would make you ill! Without fail, toilet bowls do get cleaned. However think of the bacteria that is left behind on toilet seats. Most cleaners would wipe the toilet seat with a sponge or rag. Again, however, to remove the bacteria and germs from toilet seats and all bathroom surfaces, they should be disinfected!
The majority of lodging businesses put the emphasis on high turnover of rooms regarding the number of rooms finished by the cleaners. To avoid embarrassing (if discovered) unsanitary and unacceptable issues with room cleanliness, the emphasis should be on the total cleanliness of the rooms as revealed by follow up room checks by a qualified and experienced assigned person. Depending on revelations, follow up cleaner training, changing requirements and suspending rental of rooms until another cleaning takes place may be the proper action!
Barbi Snyder is a weekly writer for this site. Her multi faceted experience in the hospitality industry over 30 years provides rare insight into the practices, good and bad, within the industry.