Computerizing Old-fashioned Hospitality
Hotel gains top honors with combo of business technology and attention to guest needs

Coming in third place may be disappointing for some, but coming in third place among more than 300 competitors is pretty darn good. That’s the view of the Radisson Hotel in Lincolnwood, IL, which is listed “No. 3” in overall customer satisfaction within the entire Radisson Hotel chain.

The hotels custodial and maintenance staff played a major part in winning the title and so has its technology.

The hotel uses computers to track several housekeeping needs. Each morning, listings of occupied rooms that need cleaning are posted on the housekeeping computer. When the work is performed and by whom also is entered.

The computer also tells housekeepers how long each guest will be staying and their expected departure date, so rooms can be given an extra sprucing for the next guests’ arrival.

But that is just the beginning of how the Radisson custodial staff uses technology. The housekeepers receive electronic notification of early check-ins and late departures. If an arriving guest is a VIP, his/her special needs also are noted.

This service is not reserved for the privileged; for example, one of the most common hotel guest requests is to use scent-free cleaning products in their rooms. This information is logged into the computer, allowing the custodial staff to accommodate that need. For example, if dust allergies are mentioned as a concern, staff use backpack vacuums for additional detail vacuuming.

Staff electronically track when they last cleaned carpets in each room and when they will need future work. Similar records are maintained regarding plumbing, heat and air-conditioning units, and as any special maintenance projects in each room, says Darryl Davis, head of guest services at the hotel.

The entire Radisson hotel chain is developing similar guest information systems, which it calls the “Harmony System.” This technology not only helps the housekeeping staff to better serve the hotel’s guests, but it also creates guest profiles, enabling more personalized service. It notes if a guest requests a special newspaper, usually asks for in-room movies, prefers an in-room coffee maker with a specific coffee, a room dataport and more.

The computer system used by the Lincolnwood Radisson as well as many of the chain’s other locations is just one example of how an organization can use technology to better serve its customers.

Robert Kravitz is a 30-year veteran of the janitorial industry and is Web content manager of the International Sanitary Supply Association.

Heightened Security is Just a Floor Scrub Away

A national survey commissioned by the Building Owners and Managers Association International and the Urban Land Institute shows that most building owners and managers have strengthened existing security systems and procedures since the September terrorist attacks.

The survey, conducted by CEL & Associates Inc., in March, revealed that survey participants added security cameras, increased security personnel and either installed or more rigidly enforced card-access systems since Sept.11. Now, manufacturers of robotic floor-cleaning machines have added a new twist to cleaning products that could help facility managers continue to tighten security while reducing manpower.

Intellibot, based in Richmond, Va., has installed a security camera in the front of its robotic floor scrubber and says it could do the same to its robotic floor/carpet sweeping machine. The technology allows security personnel to link the camera to monitors in the same facility or thousands of miles away via the Internet, says Buck Ward, chairman of the company. This allows facilities to have extra sets of eyes in areas where they may not be able to place personnel, and where occupants might least expect them. The cameras also allow for real-time viewing or recorded images for later review. Another cleaning operations benefit of the cameras is the ability to do visual quality checks throughout buildings to ensure other cleaning has been done, says Ward.

He adds that newly developed technology in the fields of smoke/fire sensoring, drug sensoring and metal detection could lead to those types of security features being added to robotic machines such as floor scrubbers and sweepers in the near future.

For more information on the robotic machines and their added security features, call 804-775-0004 or e-mail.