Housekeeping Management

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 1 June 2000



Ingram, H. (2000), "Housekeeping Management", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 218-220.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Is housekeeping a front or back of house department? Its staff are in contact with guests, but much of its work is done when guests are not present. Whatever the answer to this question, many hoteliers would agree that housekeeping and room staff are “the forgotten army” of the hotel. Without clean, well‐maintained and efficiently serviced bedrooms, the accommodation product cannot be sold. It is therefore encouraging to read Matt A. Casado’s contention that the executive housekeeper should be regarded as a first line manager, whose skills need to be broader and more professional. For too long the Victorian perception has prevailed that housekeeping is a solely female domestic province and the housekeeper can be characterized as an impoverished gentlewoman. Perhaps the administration of a household was always a difficult managerial activity, but the focus has changed in hotels from domesticity to professionalism and customer satisfaction The cover picture seems to sum it up, depicting two foil‐wrapped chocolate mints on a freshly turned‐down bed!

The book is aimed at those students on technical or management academic courses who aspire to be what Casado terms “lodging professionals”. The premise is that such professionals need three types of expertise to become an ideal executive housekeeper; the management of resources, the administration of assets and the knowledge of housekeeping technical operations. The book is structured accordingly with Part 1 preparing the executive housekeeper for management and Part 2 covering staffing issues. Part 3 addresses technical skills and functional areas while Part 4 explores people issues. Finally, Part 5 considers productivity and cost control.

Overall, the book is written from a management perspective, applying management concepts and competences to the housekeeping context. It might be argued that these concepts could be found in any good management primer, but Casado takes pains to show how they apply to the working housekeeper. Similarly, the book might be criticized for its focus on large hotel units in the USA, but good housekeeping principles can apply to hotels of any size and in any area. It is not absolutely clear which market this book might attract, being too detailed for general hospitality management students and too broad for aspiring housekeeping practitioners. Nevertheless, any book that depicts housekeeping as a serious and professional managerial activity is a welcome addition to the scarce literature on this subject.

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