How New Technology Can Help Hotel Management with Room Cleanliness Verification

An app-based system can help hotels overcome multiple challenges.
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The driving factor for customer loyalty and hotel profitability is guest satisfaction. Cleanliness is many times the main element driving that satisfaction. In a post-pandemic world, tracking whether rooms have been checked for cleanliness is becoming a main priority for hotel brands. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, hotels were regularly conducting room cleanliness checks.

Of course, there is not just one way to conduct a check. It varies by organization and by policies established. Commonly, a supervisor or manager checks some fraction of rooms – 10 percent is a typical sample size – to make sure they were properly cleaned. A supervisor may conduct the inspection using a pen and paper system with a paper checklist or focus on a list of items that are often overlooked. After conducting the inspection, the manager fills out the form, usually placing it in a binder or storing it in a stack of papers. Some may use a property management system (PMS) to record the inspection.

Note: Room cleanliness checks are a problem for hotels of all sizes, but they are especially challenging for casino hotels. Not only do people tend to smoke in these hotels, but the properties themselves tend to be larger with more rooms, making it even more difficult to track these checks.

While some hotels have established good tracking processes, the average hotel has difficulty ensuring compliance with room check policies. Supervisors may either skip the inspection altogether or fill out the forms without actually conducting the inspection. The trouble is that the hotels will only know there is an issue when someone complains to a staff member. This is a huge issue. Why? Because in any kind of customer facing situation, only a small percentage of customers make complaints to staff members. Instead, the majority of customers just do not return to the establishment. 

Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton used to say he really liked hearing customer complaints, because he knew that most unhappy customers just won’t come back to the store. I can attest to this being true, because I also do this. I stay away from a particular hotel chain after having the experiences of being given a room that smelled of cigarette smoke on two different visits. Since complaining didn't seem to work, I now vote with my wallet.

Another issue with typical room check inspection processes is the sheer volume of paper the process generates. There are stacks of paper forms, shelves full of binders, but most importantly, there is no way to transmit the paper results to higher level management. This is where technology can step in to simplify and improve this process.

Technologies now exist that enable hotel management to ensure high levels of cleanliness by verifying daily room inspections with connected devices and an easy-to-use mobile app. For instance, hotels can install a small device (1.5-inch x 1.5-inch x 1-inch) under the table in each guestroom. The device emits a signal marking it specific location and requires that room inspectors be within close proximity (approximately 10 feet) to the device to be able to "check-in" on the inspection mobile app. The room inspector then checks the room and the uses the mobile app to record the inspection. That room will then be verified as inspected, and the inspector can move on to the next room.

The best part: Hotel management can view cleaning verifications and can run detailed daily reports on inspected rooms. Those with multiple properties can receive a rollup of all inspections conducted, enabling management to compare results across their portfolio while eliminating the need to mail stacks of paper. The app provides a simple way to verify daily cleaning of each room, improve cleanliness, and thus improves guest satisfaction.