Often when one checks into a hotel, the first thing they do once they enter the room is assess the inte- rior and sit on the bed to check its comfort and quality. From a business perspective, renting out rooms in hotels/lodges brings the largest profit to this type of business and this is usually the department with the largest staff compliment. As a result, Botswana’s leading manufacturer and supplier to the Botswana hospitality industry, Contemporary Linens last week hosted the very first “House Keepers Convention” in Botswana.
The prime objective of the convention was to provide a platform for the country’s different hospitality groups, role players and stakeholders to network and become a united and cohesive group to enable them to become a strong negotiating force as well as a knowledge resource base. Being a stakeholder in this thriving sub-sector of the tourism industry in Botswana, Contemporary Linens intends to promote professionalism among housekeeping staff. Areas covered included access to mentors, ad hoc training in the housekeeping field, benchmarking new housekeeping trends, learning experiences for guests and staff and also supplier interaction and relationship building with local industry suppliers. The conference was aimed at promoting effective source and supply as well as to strive towards world class standards. In an interview with Gazette Business, Lyndon Jones, Contemporary Linens’
Sales and Marketing Manager, said they have been in the industry for 10 years and have established good relationships with housekeepers. Jones said housekeeping is not plain sailing as housekeepers hardly get any thanks. The convention was meant to acknowledge them and let them know they are important and special. “To a certain degree, we want to train them hence the invitation of the House-keepers Association of Southern Africa (HASA) to impart a little knowledge. There is still lack of knowledge among our housekeepers in Botswana,” added Jones. One participant, Tiny Phofu, who has been working as a housekeeper for 23 years and is now a Duty Manager at Nata Lodge overseeing the housekeepers, said the convention had taught her valuable lessons. “Some of the work we were doing there enlightened us on how to do things more diligently. I will impart what I have learnt to my colleagues when I get back to Nata Lodge. Looking at our location in the North, our lodges are still low in term of standards as compared to the lodges in the city and this needs to be worked on,” said Phofu.
She further said that as housekeepers they need to be fully responsible and proud of what they do. She noted that visitors vary in attitudes as there are those who are aggressive and this has remained one of the challenges encountered in the housekeeping profes- sion. “If they are aggressive, just treat them calmly because they are the ones paying your salary at the end of the day. If you arrange the room well before the guest checks in, then there are slim chances of experiencing tough times,” she added. She advised that housekeepers should not underestimate themselves because they are just as important as their compatriots who work in the offices.