Hotels Gear Up Housekeeping Troops to Prepare for Spring Break

Housekeepers a Vital Link in Orlando’s Billion Dollar Lodging Industry

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ — With less than two weeks before Spring Breakers begin arriving, Orlando hotels are going the extra mile to make sure their property is spotless. This year, the Orlando Convention and Visitor’s Bureau expects to receive 350,000 visitors during the March/April Spring Break season, who will pump over $242 million into the Lodging industry alone. And with visitors forecasted to spend more than $2 billion on area lodging costs over the course of the year, hoteliers are starting now to ensure guests are pleased with their accommodations and plan on coming back. Much of that responsibility falls to the often under-appreciated housekeeping function whose contribution to attracting and retaining tourism dollars in Florida and elsewhere is no secret to lodging industry officials.

“The housekeeping staff is the key to a total visitation experience,” said Gary Smith, executive vice president, of the Florida Hotel and Motel Association. “Because the housekeeping staff has daily contact with the guests, we see them as the front line of defense. A hotel that doesn’t retain quality housekeeping staff won’t see as many repeat customers.”

“If a guest is not happy, you can’t expect them to want to come back,” said Cigdem Duygulu, district director of the Florida International District of the International Executive Housekeepers Association, Inc. (IEHA). “We need to continue to exceed guest’s expectations with consistently clean rooms.”

To do that, area hotels go out of their way to attract conscientious housekeeping employees, train them rigorously and then provide them with the latest products designed to help effectively and efficiently clean rooms.

Advances in cleaning technology help housekeepers do a better job and cover more ground. Major corporations such as Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) have developed a variety of products that help simplify the cleaning process.

Experts at P&G have enhanced an entire line of familiar household cleaners for industrial use in hotels. According to Kate Karazim, brand manager who oversees P&G cleaning products used in the lodging industry, the winning combination begins with employee satisfaction, which leads to cleaner rooms and ultimately guest satisfaction.

“When employees use products that not only multi-task, but are also brands that they know and trust, they can be satisfied in a job well done and done more efficiently,” explained Karazim.

Karazim also notes that familiar brand names are not lost on customers. “When guests see housekeeping staff using brands they use at home, they can feel confident in the level of cleanliness, leading to a feeling of home-like comfort and satisfaction in their surroundings.”

Achieving satisfaction such as this is not only important to area hoteliers because of the encouragement it provides staff, but also helps ensure repeat customers — a significant percentage of the lodging business in Orlando.

Tourism is the largest industry in Central Florida, accounting for 204,526 direct industry jobs in 2003. Were it not for the efforts of those working on the housekeeping staffs of area hotels, visitors may not want to return.

Industry forecasts indicate that room occupancy levels in Central Florida are expected to increase to 72.6 percent this year. Hotel execs believe a simple way to separate Orlando from other destinations is to make sure all of the 112,000 rooms in Central Florida’s 400 hotels look and smell clean.

And, while hotel guests are seldom in the room to appreciate the dedication with which most housekeepers apply themselves, the importance of what they do is hard to overlook by hotel management and the guests themselves. “Guest comment cards can make your day, or mean that you’ll be pulled aside by management,” said Duygulu.

And those in the lodging business also know that in Orlando — the second most popular domestic vacation destination in the United States — guest satisfaction often translates into destination preference and big top-line dollars.

“Orlando and Central Florida has a huge stake in its hotel rooms, and it is an investment that is growing,” adds Danielle Courtenay, vice president of communications for the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. “In our market, nearly 12.6 percent of all visitor spending is for lodging. Clearly, we’re banking on families continuing to come here, in part because they prefer the Orlando hospitality experience over what’s offered in other cities.”

About P&G

Two billion times a day, P&G brands touch the lives of people around the world. The company has one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers(R), Tide(R), Ariel(R), Always(R), Whisper(R), Pantene(R), Bounty(R), Pringles(R), Folgers(R), Charmin(R), Downy(R), Lenor(R), Iams(R), Crest(R), Actonel(R), Olay(R), Clairol Nice ‘n Easy(R), Head & Shoulders(R) and Wella. The P&G community consists of almost 110,000 employees working in over 80 countries worldwide. P&G Pro Line offers a line of products for the janitorial sanitation market that includes 23 floor care, carpet care, daily and specialty cleaners that are designed to help maximize productivity, profitability and client satisfaction. For more information, visit www.pgproline.com .

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