Madhu Thomas, executive housekeeper at Mvenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai. Madhu Thomas, executive housekeeper at Mvenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai.

What is your career background?

I have a hotel management degree from Oriental School of Hotel Management with a total of 13 years of experience in housekeeping operations, including six hotel pre-openings in India and the Middle East with several leading hotel brands.

What are your responsibilities at the hotel?

As the hotel’s executive housekeeper, I manage the housekeeping team and operations, and ensure that guest rooms, public spaces and employee areas are well maintained and spick and span. Through a set of standard procedures, I guide the team to ensure guests enjoy a vibrant, urban experience with personalised service as reflected in our reviews and overall guest satisfaction. On a daily basis, it is my duty to inspect areas, follow up with a plan to improve overall results and maximise the financial performance of my department.

What are the day-to-day challenges you face in your position?

As the executive housekeeper, each day is different. There are several planned and unplanned events, which add up to the excitement of working in the hotel industry. I have to address these events in a quick, timely manner and control it from escalation. Keeping a tab on costs is a key control point. 

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How do you motivate the service staff?

Our efforts are all about bringing smiles to our guests. Aligning this level of service with guests’ expectations, while foreseeing the unexpected motivates us. Each day, we strive to make moments for our guests, elevating their experience from ‘satisfied’ to ‘delighted’. 

How do you go about building a strong trustworthy relationship with your staff?

At Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, we believe in a balanced work-life relationship. Employees are as important to us as our guests. Having an open door policy fosters trust and confidence. Understanding their needs and helping them achieve small personal victories strengthens our bond. I also like to write short ‘thank you’ notes, which really go a long way in keeping our team spirit on fire.

What’s your take on employee training when it comes to housekeeping operations?

I believe an organisation’s success is a result of combined individual efforts, with attitude and training at the base. As the captain of my team, I ensure that my team is trained and prepared to handle daily housekeeping operations, keeping a delightful guest experience in mind.

How important is training in housekeeping for job retention?

A healthy attrition rate is important for a hotel operation. Certain roles in housekeeping operations require agility and quick thinking. Administrative roles require different skillsets. Every Mövenpick employee is trained to excel at their job. However, the ability to manage these roles efficiently and effectively is the differentiator. Many of my colleagues, and I, have risen through the ranks. This has been possible due to the opportunities provided by our organisation to learn and grow. As Mövenpick continues to grow within the region, we expect our colleagues from here to move within the chain — creating opportunities for new employees as well.

How do you practice sustainability within housekeeping operations?

Mövenpick’s company-wide programme, established in the spring of 2010, establishes a common and global approach to sustainability. It addresses three focus areas: environmental, employee and social sustainability. We believe in conducting business in a responsible, caring way and encouraging a personal touch in relationships with all  stakeholders. Quality, reliability and care are fundamental values in guiding the company towards sustainable business practices.