For many years, we all praised the General Manager, Executive Chef, Food and Beverage Manager, or Head of Reception, but we underestimated the importance of the Housekeeper.

Bob Cotton OBE has spent a lifetime in the hospitality industry and is a member of P&G Professional’s Expert Advisory Council. He was the Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association from 2000 – 2010.

I have been fortunate to have had a long career in the hospitality industry, within the food services sector and in hotels and restaurants. In the early part of my career, working as a chef, unit manager and district manager for Gardner Merchant, a leading contract caterer, cleaning was always a key component of the job. However, it was often seen as an important requirement from the viewpoint of the company, rather than the guest. Cleaning was about ensuring legal compliance, the safety of processes in food areas and ensuring that all aspects of the law were complied with.

With the rise of social media and the introduction of customer feedback sites, we have seen this all change. The power is now with the consumer and cleaning is now seen as a key issue.

In the last period of my career I have been particularity focused on the hotel sector, and, working with P&G Professional, I have really begun to understand the critical importance of cleaning standards, in particular, the unique role of the housekeeper. For many years, we all praised the General Manager, Executive Chef, Food and Beverage Manager, or Head of Reception, but we underestimated the importance of the Housekeeper.

Who is the person that has to make the room available by 3pm even though previous guests might not checkout until midday? Who has to perform this task with an array of staff of different nationalities who are constantly changing? Do they have the right equipment and materials to do the optimum job?

Many hotel management teams spend hours selecting a new wine list, a change of coffee supplier, or different meat or vegetable supplier, but similar issues within the housekeeping area are often ignored. The role of a housekeeper in a hotel is just as important as all the other department heads. They need to select their staff, ensure they all receive training, and above all, use the appropriate cleaning materials.

Working with a reputable supplier like P&G Professional provides your team with the best tools, allowing them to clean effectively and efficiently, with products including the Flash Professional pH Neutral Floor + Delicate Surface Cleaner, Flash Professional Disinfecting Multi-Purpose + Glass Cleaner, Flash Professional Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner and Febreze Professional Fabric Refresher. Upon installation of the Flash Professional auto-dosing system, training is provided to ensure each employee is able to use equipment with ease and choose the correct product for each job. Simple colour-coding and instructions with icons and symbols streamline training, ensuring correct usage every time.

For a guest staying in a hotel, the cleanliness of the room, bathroom and linen is one of the most important factors. If we get this right, a happy guest becomes a loyal customer and they are the most profitable kind.

It is for this reason that I say, put more focus on the role of the housekeeper and all cleaning services. You may have a famous chef in the kitchen, or have spent a fortune on refurbishing the rooms, but if the cleaning and housekeeping services are below par, it is all wasted. Put recognition of the importance of housekeeping in its rightful place, alongside the rest of the management team.

To learn more about P&G Professional and the professional cleaning systems please visit or call 0800 716 854.

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