Sofitel Brisbane Central Hotel
Even though Sofitel Brisbane Central Hotel has a steep historical background, but it was officially opened in 2000. The Hotel offers a range of services including luxurious accommodation, conference facilities, library services, fitness facilities, bar and restaurant, sports services, wedding venues among others.
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The hotel is strategically located at the centre of Queensland new world city and has over 400 elegant rooms, fitness centre, mouth-watering restaurant and bars, heated swimming pools and spa, and 11 conferencing rooms that can accommodate over 1000 individuals among other facilities (Sofitel Luxury Hotels, 2011).
The hotel receives many visitors both locally and internationally. Among them are businessmen, tourists, and dignitaries. Accommodation is the largest part of the hotel and generates the most revenue. The hotel departments are pegged on the facilities available and different categories of staff.
The study will focus on housekeeping department and the challenges facing this department. Housekeeping department is in charge of cleaning and taking orders in the hotel. The personnel in this department include the room attendants/ maids, supervisors, senior attendants/maid and the head of the department (Sofitel Luxury Hotels, 2011).
Housekeeping department just like the front office normally works round the clock with three shifts per day. The number of times cleaning is performed per day depends on the status of the hotel. The high higher the status the more frequent a room is cleaned and vice versa.
This department is among the strictly regulated in the hotel industry. Each position has well defined instructions that have to be adhered to and it is the responsibility of the senior maid or supervisors to make sure that the instructions are followed. Cleanliness of hotel is a concept that is perceived in diverse ways in different nations.
Big hotels such as Sofitel Brisbane Central Hotel have mastered cleaning technologies and are role models in the hotel industry. Some hotels such as Marriot chain dust in the room after cleaning is regarded as a violation. Meticulousness in the subject of cleanliness is a trademark of hotels in emerging and advanced economies. Sofitel Brisbane Central Hotel has a pleasant ambience as a result of the spectacular color schemes, beautiful furnishing and efficient staff (Sofitel Luxury Hotels, 2011; City Of Hotels, 2011).
Over half of the hotel’s revenue comes from room service and therefore, when a room is not sold the hotel looses a lot of money. Poor occupancy can cause loss of customers and this may be attributed to hygiene matters, cleanliness and outdated facilities. Hence, the main of objective of most hotels is to enhance the appeal of their rooms.
This is because guests do spent a lot of tine in their rooms than in any other part of the hotel, so matters of cleanliness are paramount in the hotel business since most customers are health conscious nowadays (Rutherford and O’ Fallon, 2007).
Sofitel Brisbane Central housekeeping department owns a Linen Operating System. Therefore, all of the linen used in the whole hotel such as towels, bed linen and pillow cases are washed, dried, and ironed on a daily basis by the housekeeping department. Linen operation requires a lot of work and therefore adequate staff is needed, but the hotel has not appointed enough staff on the linen operation.
Frequently the hotel usually runs out of the linen and towels and this means the room attendants spend a lot of time cleaning the rooms since linen and towels are needed to make a room. In such cases the workers in the housekeeping department do suffer a lot from too much working hours and labor (Sofitel Luxury Hotels, 2011).
In addition, the linen departments normally bear high cost of maintenance and frequent breakdowns. This not only makes costing unpredictable but also results in loss of revenue since rooms which are not maintained are not sold to the customers.
The machines and equipments used in the linen operations are relatively old and not advanced as in some of the five star hotels like Hilton and Marriot chain. Workers in the linen departments are responsible for many duties and thus are over burdened (Johnston, 1998; Sofitel Luxury Hotels, 2011).
The operational problem in the linen department is a very serious challenge for the hotel. Even though it has not necessarily affected the clients, but it does inconvenience them when the rooms are not sold because they are in bad condition.
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In rare cases, guests are normally forced to reuse their line fabrics when the linen operating system fails or when the fabrics are not availed in time. Fortunately, most of these clients are regular customers or do understand the situation. But this is very risky for the hotel since some guests are very insensitive and might even sue the hotel for poor service (Wakefield and Blodgett, 1994).
Most hotels normally prefer to outsource such type of services to cleaning companies since owning a linen operating system is not only expensive but also necessitates hiring more staff which is uneconomical. In addition, outsourcing has numerous benefits for the hotel. For example outsourcing will enable the housekeeping department to concentrate on its core competencies by handing over the linen operations to the third party who specializes in that service and therefore enhances the hotel’s competitive position.
Outsourcing will also make sure that there is faster and high quality service and improved efficiency in linen operations. This is attributed to the fact that outsourcing companies normally operates in a large scale coupled with guarantee in the service level and increased operational efficiency (PMP Research, 2009).
Outsourcing also gives the hotel access to resources that are not available within, such as state-of-the-art technology and skilled manpower without necessarily acquiring them. It also gives the department more flexibility to respond promptly to the dynamic environment and increased competition.
Personnel who were working in the linen department can be relocated to other strategic tasks. Outsourcing enhances predictability of the costs since the operational costs are incurred by the third party. Lastly, outsourcing will help the hotel to deal with problems of globalization as it seeks expand its services globally (PMP Research, 2009).
Sofitel Brisbane Central Hotel is a five star hotel located in the heart of the city. The hotel offers numerous services but accommodation is the most important of them all since it generates the highest revenue. The hotel experiences operational problem in the housekeeping department.
The problem is attributed to the fact that it owns a linen operating system which has numerous shortcomings. The best solution for the problem is outsourcing this service to the company which specializes in it. In this case, the company will be saved of the operational costs associated with the linen operating system, improve efficiency and enhance its competitive advantage.
City of Hotels, 2011. Housekeeping Department. Web.
Johnston, R., 1998. Service Operations Management: Return to the roots. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 19 (2), pp.104-124.
PMP Research, 2009. Outsourcing is in. Web.
Rutherford, D.G. and O’ Fallon, M.J., (2007) Hotel Management and Operations. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons Inc.
Sofitel Luxury Hotels, 2011. Hotel Sofitel Brisbane Central Services and Activities. Web.
Wakefield, K.L. and Blodgett, J.G., 1994. The importance of services capes in leisure service settings. Journal of Services Marketing, 8 (3), pp. 66-76.
Banquet department combines the function of marketing, sales and food and beverage departments and entails relaying of information to the clients regarding the events and payment of bills. The front desk staff may possibly offer labor for the preparation of the routine announcement boards, listing of daily activities, and marquees.
Posting of each day events on the boards offers the clients and the staff with information on group activities. Marquee preparation includes congratulatory messages, sales promotion and other vital messages. In a number of hotels, staff in front office normally makes contact with the marketing and sales for important messages (Gray and Liguori, 2003).
The answer to success of a hotel business is the service which begins with the contact between the client and the staff of the front office. How the guests are welcomed and treated is very important since it gives the first impression of the hotel and conditions their perception of other services in the hotel.
If the guests are satisfied by the first impression of the hotel, this can mean a long lasting relationship. Many hotels have well equipped clean and comfortable rooms. However, quests do assess the hotel and its services based on the courteousness and efficiency of its staff (Roldan, 2004; Gray and Liguori, 2003).
The role played by the banquet department in enhancing excellent guest relations is self evident and cannot be overemphasized. Since banquet department offers the initial contact, it is also where the guest-related problems normally take place. Most guests are ready to pay any amount for the hotel service as long as they get their penny’s worth. As a result, the guests will always voice their discontent over rude staff or slow service and look forward to faster solution for their problem (Bardi, 2003).
Banquet regarded as the heart of the hotel business. Most of the staff-guest interactions take place in banquet department more than any other department. It sets the stage for satisfying and non-satisfying visit since it’s where the initial impression is formed.
Many guests are normally eager to start their vacation and business plans and therefore needs a lot of information regarding the hotel so as to enjoy as possible. The response to requested information or guest problems reflects how well the hotel has equipped the banquet department staff for this significant role (Roldan, 2004).
Sofitel Brisbane central hotel normally does welcome orientation to the new staff and briefly explains organizational management systems and rules, and the rules and duties of each staff. The rules and duties for the new staff are provided in a hand manual. These hand manuals are well instructed with pictorial representations to ensure easy understanding.
During the orientation the human resources manager comprehensively explains the manual to the new staff. These manuals are very reasonable since they are easily comprehendible, but most employees do not really have a deep look at the manual (Hughes, 2007).
These manuals are too general and are mostly focused on the external clients and ignore the internal clients (the staff). Therefore, for these manuals to be effective, they have to put emphasis on both quests and hotel employees at large. However, the hotel has no procedures relating to communication.
The finest hotel management practices require that hotels have rules regarding how the staff should communicate with the clients. The hotel’s manual only outlines the appropriate communication skills that can be of assistance when communicating with the clients. Therefore, it’s upon the staff to choose to use these communication skills or to ignore these skills (Sofitel Luxury Hotels, 2011).
Sofitel Brisbane central hotel uses feedback card and suggestion box to establish customers’ response and to evaluate staff performance in all the departments. However, these cards are usually given to the customers only when they ask them. The hotel always provides the feedback cards before getting more feedbacks from the clients.
Nonetheless, from the responses got from the feedback cards most guests are satisfied with the manner in which the hotel staff welcomes and treats them and attend to their wake up calls. This is evident in the high number of loyal guests who revisits the hotel very frequently (Sofitel Luxury Hotels, 2011).
Although the hotel has no set rules on the staff-guest communication, it is very strict on the way the staff handles the guests. Those who are found guilty of any form of misconduct or in violation of the hotel rules are either suspended, penalized or at the worst force out.
The staffs at the banquet department are naturally disciplined and very hospitable. This is because the hotel hires highly qualified personnel for this job and is expected to be very responsible in their work. The hotel demands high level of professionalism in this job (Sofitel Luxury Hotels, 2011).
The banquet department is central to the operation of the hotel. This department is where the majority of the staff-guest interactions take place more than in any other department. How the guests are welcomed and treated is very important since it gives the first impression of the hotel and conditions their perception of other services in the hotel.
If the guests are satisfied by the first impression of the hotel, this can mean a long lasting relationship. Sofitel Brisbane central hotel has not set rule regarding staff-guest communication, but has a brief outline of the suitable communication skills. Therefore, the hotel demands high level of professionalism for the staff working in the banquet department.
Bardi, J. A., 2003. Hotel front office management. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Gray, W. S. & Liguori, S. C., (2003) Hotel and motel management and Operations. Singapore: Pearson Education South Asia Pte Ltd.
Hughes, B., 2007. Knowing your business means knowing your guests. Hotel and motel management, 222, pp. 38.
Roldan, A. S., 2004. Front office procedures and guest relations. Paranaque: AR Skills Development & Management Services.
Sofitel Luxury Hotels, 2011. Hotel Sofitel Brisbane Central Services and Activities. Web.