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Sun 23 Sep 2007 04:00 AM

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Keeping the house in order

Sheraton Bahrain Hotel housekeeping department order-taker Malkom Aloysius explains his mission to keep things neat and tidy, and reveals some of the items guests have left behind.

Sheraton Bahrain Hotel housekeeping department order-taker Malkom Aloysius explains his mission to keep things neat and tidy, and reveals some of the items guests have left behind.

How long have you been working at the Sheraton Bahrain? What were you doing before then?

I have been with the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel for the past 14 years. This is my first job since I graduated.

Being successful in the housekeeping department requires you to love what you are doing.

What attracted you to the housekeeping department?

Well, I always wanted to be a part of the hospitality industry. The idea of interaction with people from all over the world was very interesting, so I chose to join a hotel. Further, for me ‘cleanliness is next to godliness', so the thought of maintaining and being responsible for clean spaces in the hotel was the reason that attracted me to being a part of the housekeeping department.

What training have you received since you have been at the hotel?

At the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel, a great emphasis is laid upon training and developing our skills to follow the philosophy of "treat our guests as customers, and our associates as human beings". Hence, I have been through a series of training on various subjects since I joined the hotel. Some of these [courses] are as follows: leadership qualities, safety and security, brand training, chemical handling, telephone etiquette, first aid, and how to operate Fidelio, Opera and Maximo.

What does your job entail?

Housekeeping is about ensuring that guests are in a comfortable and hygienic environment during their stay at Sheraton Bahrain Hotel. So my day revolves around ensuring this. I listen and anticipate guests' housekeeping requirements and assist in fulfilling them. It requires a positive attitude, being polite and a genuine desire to help the guests. In addition, I also provide support for the administrative tasks of my department.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

For me the greatest joy is when I walk that ‘extra mile' for guests and they feel satisfied with my service. It makes me happy. I also enjoy understanding cultural nuances of guests during my interaction with them. It teaches one a lot about ‘people skills'.

What challenges do you face in the role?

Mostly all guests have similar expectations from the housekeeping department, but sometimes because of the cultural differences, their expectations are [different]. So the challenge is to anticipate their needs, even before they have expressed them, and then fulfil those requirements. I think that is interesting, as well as being a challenging aspect of my role, and provides a tremendous learning experience.

How do you think you have improved in the job over time?

I joined Sheraton Bahrain Hotel as a room boy. So, in the beginning my role was to understand and learn the basics of housekeeping. Over the years, my role has gradually expanded and it now encompasses an understanding of all aspects of housekeeping.As frequent trainings to update associates skills are an important part of Sheraton's culture, I have benefited tremendously from this training both as a professional and also on a personal level.Furthermore, I have worked with associates of various nationalities and interacted with guests from all over the world, which has helped me to be patient, tolerant and respectful in all my interactions with both guests as well as fellow associates.

What are the most important skills needed to be successful in the house-keeping department?

Like in any other profession, being successful in the housekeeping department, requires you to love what you are doing. You also need to be warm, friendly and dedicated to your job, as it entails long work hours.

What are your future career plans?

I am looking forward to being the head of the housekeeping department someday.

What has been the strangest thing you have found while cleaning rooms?

A passport was left behind by a guest in a drawer. I handed it over to the duty manager, who then called the guest who had already reached the airport. A driver then rushed to the airport and delivered the passport to the guest.

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