It’s room inspection time at Opus. Every manager, from sales manager to controller, gets a block of rooms and a detailed list of items to check off. Walls, mirrors and artwork free of smudges? Check. Toilet paper roll folded into a perfect triangle? Check. Magnum Opus CD playing at turndown? Check. Mini-bar liquor bottles watered down? Check.
[kidding about that last one, of course]
It’s a lot of work, and it’s nerve-racking for our room attendants, but getting our managers into the rooms, checking under beds and lifting sofa cushions, is a great way to familiarize them with guestrooms. An eye for detail and general fussiness are prerequisites in this industry. Because if we don’t find it first, a guest will.
Some of the tricks of the trade to ensure a room has been properly cleaned include running your fingers along picture frames, baseboards and the far reaches of closet shelves. Look at things from a guest’s perspective. Place yourself somewhere a guest will go but an employee would not. Lie down on the bed. Sit on the lid of the toilet. It’s amazing what you might discover. Just make sure the room isn’t reserved or you’ll have some explaining to do when a guest walks in.
In addition to room inspections, once a day I do my “rounds” at Opus. This involves inspecting guest floors, outlets, facilities, meeting rooms and the building’s exterior. Along the way I often pick up debris, tidy up the lounge, seat patrons in Elixir or help guests with directions. My noble nature stops at valet parking, for which staff and guests are grateful (see Never a Dull Moment below). After an unfortunate incident in which a guest thought I was stealing her suitcase, I’ve learned to make sure I’m wearing my nametag before helping with luggage.
Years ago, while on my rounds at another hotel I detected the unmistakable odor of fish. I sniffed my way down the hall, the odor growing stronger as I approached the ice machine room. I lifted the lid. Grinning up at me was a large salmon on a bed of ice. It seems a group of executives had just checked in after a fishing expedition, and one of them wanted to keep his catch fresh. We put the salmon in the hotel cooler for safe-keeping, and drained the ice machine.
At Opus we have a program called “A Day In The Life” that allows employees to experience another position in the hotel for a day. A front desk agent can shadow the director of sales. A reservations agent can shadow the catering manager. So far no one has signed up to be general manager, but I’m still hoping, because I could use a day off. I myself am contemplating a day in housekeeping. I like to clean, and I want to gain a better understanding of what makes this department so good at what they do. But I have to admit I fear I might not pass my room inspections.
posted by Daniel Edward Craig at 11:42 AM
Hi there! I think that your GM Blog is a great concept. I just came across it as I was checking out Opus’ site. I saw that in a previous post you were looking for people to hire. Have you filled all of the positions? Because I know a fab lady that would fit the bill!
Daniel Craig said…
To Anonymous: Yes, we are always looking for great people, so please have “fab lady” forward her resume to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating which department she would like to work in.To Jeff: Glad to hear my musings put you in a Vancouver state of mind… But really now, how could you leave this city??
Maryam in Marrakesh said…
What a great blog! With my husband, I am building a teensy guest house in Marrakesh. 6 acres of olive trees and 3 with incredible views of the mountains. My husband is an architect and the place is going to be amazing but it’s the management part of things that worries me. It’s so helpful to read your tips and sign me up as a regular reader. I am bookmarking, immediately!
Bobby CDo you count the hangers? I recently checked out of a 5 star hotel in Beijing. Things seemed to be going fine until the process was interrupted by the front desk taking a call while processing my check out. This call seemed to be a catalyst for a flurry of people and activity (telephone calls, group consultations…) all in front of me and focused on the print out of my bill. Language was a barrier in that none of the 5-6 people new more that a few words of english (yes I said 5 star) and my Chinese is non-existent. I did not have a clue what was going on until the most senior person began to carefully draw something other than a chinese character – though it was very similar from my untrained eyes. She had drawn a picture of a hanger and presented it to me and my colleague. My colleague did not have a clue as to what it meant – he said “Is that a hanger”. I feigned ignorance but inside I was panicking and considered bolting. Under my breath I said to my colleague “I’ve got the hangar, prepare to bolt”. There was more activity but it slowly died down and they just let us leave. I realize that I sh
ould of taken the hanger out and returned it but things had progressed to far and I was waaay to embarrassed as it was.