The hospitality sector in Africa is growing. Market revenue across the continent is expected to reach $13.80bn by 2027, according to Statista projections.

An average annual growth rate of 8.68 percent is forecast for the sector over the next five years, and the 2023 Hotel and Hospitality Industry Confidence Index indicates that hospitality chiefs are optimistic about the future. This is great news for hoteliers – but the fallout from COVID-19 means they continue to face crippling staff shortages. Tom Marshall from Tork manufacturer Essity looks at solutions that can make life easier for the hotel cleaner.

Hotel cleaners have a tough job, particularly when they are overstretched. They are typically allocated around 30 minutes to prepare a room for a new guest and just 15 minutes to service an occupied one.

And each room must be left spotless because any stray hair or dead fly will be spotted, photographed, and uploaded onto social media where it will create horror and outrage.

Cleaners are expected to sanitise all other areas of the hotel thoroughly and unobtrusively too – and in the shortest possible time. And the job is also hazardous, since injury rates among hotel cleaners stand at around 50 percent above those of other hotel workers due to the need for stretching and bending, lifting mattresses and moving furniture aside to vacuum floors.

Staff members are also often expected to cover a great deal of ground, particularly when cleaning a large complex incorporating pools, guest rooms, restaurants and wellness suites.

So, what can be done to make life easier for the hotel cleaner? A growing number of hotels are now deploying robots to carry out tasks such as floor cleaning and delivering toiletries to guest rooms. These can operate throughout the night and will take some of the strain away from human cleaners.

A growing number of hotels are now deploying robots to carry out tasks such as floor cleaning and delivering toiletries to guest rooms. These can operate throughout the night and will take some of the strain away from human cleaners.

High-capacity trolleys will also aid the cleaner, particularly if these are lightweight and manoeuvrable. A larger trolley will avoid the need for repeated trips to the stockroom for extra supplies of soap, paper and toiletries.

Where trolleys are not viable – in narrow corridors, between guest lodges or in constricted areas for example – it might be necessary to physically carry boxes of products to guest rooms and washrooms. Here an ergonomically designed packaging system such as Tork Easy Handling will make life easier. Tork Easy Handling Carry Packs and Carry Boxes have comfortable handles to allow staff to carry two packs at a time, while Tork Carry Boxes fold flat when empty and can be taken to the recycling facility using the integral handles.

When forced to work under strict time pressures, it is all too easy for cleaners to overlook some tasks. Hotels should therefore provide a checklist for each cleaner to ensure that all tasks are completed. A ‘smart’ checklist is even better – for example, Tork Vision Cleaning includes a digital cleaning plan function incorporating pictograms and descriptions of each task. This enables the cleaner to tick off each job as it is completed, while the manager can tell at a glance if anything has been missed.

Tork Vision Cleaning also allows cleaners to check remotely whenever a washroom is experiencing high usage or when a dispenser is running out of soap, toilet paper or hand towels. This allows them to stay on top of the game and removes the need for multiple unnecessary physical checks on the washrooms.

Keeping the en suite bathroom clean is a major part of the hotel cleaner’s job because these rooms often see the heaviest use. And the design of the en suite can make a major difference to the cleaning burden.

Dirt will inevitably collect in the grout lines of tiled floors and walls, so the use of larger tiles or a continuous, smooth surface will speed up cleaning. Soap bars create a sticky mess on the sinks, while the half-used bars tend to be discarded after the guest has checked out, adding to the cleaner’s waste burden.

The use of a non-drip dispenser for liquid soap allows the cleaner to slot a new cartridge into place when the soap inside has been used up. This makes life easier for the cleaner while also eliminating the issues of waste and mess, which is a sustainability advantage.

Tork Shower Cream works well in hotel rooms because it is a shower gel and
shampoo combined. When it comes to cleaning larger hotel washrooms, automatic taps are a good option because they attract fewer fingerprints than manual versions and are, therefore, quicker and easier to clean.

And all washroom dispensers should be easy to open, either with a universal key or a push-button in areas where pilferage and vandalism are not an issue.
Hotel cleaners work tirelessly behind the scenes to sanitise our public spaces and improve our guest experience.

By making a few small changes, hotel managers can dramatically improve their working lives and benefit from improved results, a happier workforce and better staff retention.

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