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Should hotels outsource cleaning contracts?

Room cleanliness is one of the most important factors guests consider when booking a hotel stay. The decision to outsource cleaning contracts is a financial consideration that can have a significant impact on the guest experience. Hotel leaders must weigh the cost advantages of outsourcing with the effect cleaners have on overall quality of service.

Almost half (49%) of holiday lodgers read online reviews of hotels before making a booking decision. They want to know the level of cleanliness a hotel can provide before they spend any money. The COVID-19 pandemic has made hotel customers even warier, which means they will be more likely to scrutinise their rooms upon arrival.

When a single bad review can significantly damage a hotel's reputation, leaders need to carefully consider whether outsourcing critical cleaning services is really the most cost-effective choice.

The pros and cons of outsourcing cleaning contracts

Whether cleaning staff members are full-time employees or contractors, they are representatives of the hotel, and they have a direct impact on customer satisfaction. Outsourcing cleaning contracts can have a number of financial benefits, but there are also potential downsides to consider.

The advantages of outsourcing cleaning contracts

  • Cost savings: With outsourced contracts, hotel management can scale costs as needed. When fewer staff members are needed in the off season, the hotel doesn't need to pay for extra employees. In addition, there are fewer overhead costs.
  • Specialised services: Outsourcing gives hotels access to a broader range of specialty cleaning services, such as deep cleaning to remove viruses.
  • Competitive edge: Without a large cleaning staff to manage, hotel leadership can focus their time and effort on important tasks that grow the business.

The disadvantages of outsourcing cleaning contracts

  • Less control of staff: Outsourcing puts an additional layer between hotel management and cleaning staff. This can make it more difficult to implement new policies. It's important to choose a reliable outsourcing partner that can accommodate needs as they change.
  • Communication difficulties: Hotel managers will need to meet regularly with outsourcing providers to discuss any potential issues and upcoming policy changes. This could mean more meetings and phone calls throughout the week.
  • Uncertain priorities: At peak times of the year, hotel managers may have to compete with other businesses for top cleaning talent. Outsourcing providers serve many businesses, and they cannot always prioritise the same clients.
Cleaning contractors may be able to provide specialised equipment.Cleaning contractors may be able to provide specialised equipment.

How the COVID-19 pandemic has changed hospitality's approach to cleaning contracts

The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way hotels look at their cleaning contracts. Almost overnight, hotel customers around the world changed how they view hotel safety and hygiene.

An HVS hotel guest sentiment survey published in late April 2020 asked travellers, "How soon are you likely to book and stay at a hotel?" Responses varied:

  • Immediately: 11.28%.
  • Two to four weeks: 16.77%.
  • One to three months: 28.96%.
  • More than three months: 19.51%.
  • More than six months: 23.48%.

The survey did have some good news for major hotel brands. When asked what type of accommodation they were most likely to book, 66% of respondents said they would stay at an internationally branded hotel, compared to just 3% who said they would stay at an Airbnb.

As governments and businesses adapt their strategies for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, there's still a lot of uncertainty about the future of cleaning contracts. One thing is certain, however: Hotel leaders across the world are looking into new and innovative ways to ensure guest health and safety. Hotels that outsource their cleaning contracts will be paying close attention to how contractors perform on the job.

Considerations for choosing a cleaning contractor

When choosing a contractor, hotel leaders need to carefully consider several factors:

  • Communication: The most effective contractors maintain transparent lines of communication with their clients. Hotel leaders should be able to discuss cleaning policies and procedures so they can address issues as they arise.
  • Service-level agreements: Hotel leaders should always carefully read contracts and ensure that the outsourcing provider follows through on everything it promises to deliver. This is especially important to remember during peak times when some contractors may be tempted to cut corners.
  • Cleaning products: As the party choosing the contractor, hotels have the power to dictate what cleaning products their contractors use. Hotels should always insist that their contractors use reliable, durable cleaning tools and equipment.

The slightest bit of dirt or hint of mildew can do irreparable damage to a hotel's reputation. The right cleaning tools and equipment can greatly reduce the risk of a poor guest experience. To learn more, check out our product catalogue today.

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