SCOTLAND’S HOTELS ARE KEPT IN ORDER BY GREAT HOUSEKEEPERS. THIS MONTH WE FEATURE SEVEN… AND THE FOURTH ONE IS DEBBIE VERNAL
Head Housekeeper, Glynhill Hotel, Renfrew
Number of Staff: 14 employees in housekeeping
Number of rooms: 40
Number of staff: 25
Number of rooms: 145
How long have you been a Housekeeper and how did you get into it?
I started in the Glynhill in 1993 as a member of the housekeeping department. I had previously worked in admin jobs but discovered I really enjoyed working in hospitality. I worked every hour I could learning every aspect of the job from public area cleaning, room attendant, laundry and porter assistant. I also assisted in different departments in order to learn as much as possible about hotel management. The vacancy for assistant to the head housekeeper came up in 1996. I got the job and then the head housekeepers position in 2002.
What would you do in a typical day?
The early morning organising and allocation of daily work is crucial. I liaise with the early morning staff ensuring everything is being cleaned in the correct order in accordance with the business. I run relevant room reports and allocate the bedroom cleaning to the attendants, again liaising with each to go over the allocation and relay any particular instruction or guest requests. I attend a daily briefing with the management team to run over all business within the hotel for that day. Area and room inspections, stock ordering. Linen control, rotas, HR. No two days are the same. Hotel business changes from one hour to the next.
What labour saving device or product could you not live without?
When I was a room attendant I had a caddy to carry my chemicals and cloths, a tin to carry my tea, coffee etc, and for everything else I walked to and fro to the maid’s pantry. It was labour intensive and wasted far too many crucial productivity minutes. Room attendant trollies are truly the most time/labour saving item in a housekeeping department. Well stocked and used properly they can knock minutes from room servicing time as they save you from walking back and forward looking for items. They also ensure that all items required are there in front of you meaning you are less likely to forget anything.
What would you say was your biggest challenge or hardest part of the job?
It is increasingly challenging maintaining high standards while the increasing costs of running a business such as minimum wage increases, rising energy costs, rates etc. dictate staffing levels and work quotas
What is your favourite part of the job?
The diversity of the people who visit and work here. I also love the team spirit in this hotel. Many of us have worked for the Nicholas family for 20 years plus and have seen the huge changes in the business over the years through their constant investment in improving their product.
Any tips for aspiring housekeepers?
Always source reasonably priced, effective cleaning products, never buy cheap as you will use twice as much product and take longer to achieve results meaning a double waste in costs. Same with linen, pillows etc buy cheap, buy twice.