I had the opportunity to be part of a very interesting dialogue last week, with a number of senior tourism leaders on the ways in which this industry has been affected by COVID-19 and some of the outcomes that may result in permanent transformations.
One specific comment that has remained top of mind was:
“COVID-19 will do for the housekeeping and cleaning teams what Open Kitchens did for chefs and their culinary crews.”
It was not that long ago when the restaurant kitchen was considered very much a back of the house department. However, when the curtain started to be pulled back and dining rooms began to feature and showcase the meal preparation as part of the overall experience, this team was elevated and respected in ways not previously experienced.
Today as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic and begin to slowly welcome back guests, their comfort will be closely tied to our ability to make them feel safe and secure with cleanliness and hygiene a top priority. Housekeeping teams are now at the forefront of this challenge and it is their presence, visibility, and diligent efforts that will provide part of the assurance that the business is going above and beyond. No longer in the “shadows,” there is growing respect and admiration for this hard-working department that until now has largely gone unappreciated. Much like our learning to properly wash our hands as the first line of defense against the virus, housekeeping and cleaning staff are now an important first line of defense for our businesses.
In the days to come, it will be interesting to watch as our industry adapts and adjusts to new ways of providing services and guest experience. However, if the housekeepers and cleaners garner growing admiration for all they do and all that they have always done, then there will have been at least one very positive outcome from these past very difficult weeks.
Glenn Mandziuk, TOTA President & CEO