What's in a day?

Without you as head housekeeper, the hotel would rapidly come to a sticky end – literally. Your primary role is to supervise, train and work alongside your staff to ensure all hotel rooms are sparklingly clean and in tip-top condition. 

But your expert knowledge will also be in demand with other departments. For instance, you'll be expected to liaise with the general manager and heads of department, attending regular meetings. And if the hotel is undergoing renovations, you could also find yourself consulting with architects, interior designers and other specialists.

Last but not least, if you want a motivated team, you're going to have to find time to meet with them at least once a week, too.

Key responsibilities:

  • Dealing with suppliers of linen, cleaning materials and guest supplies, such as soap, shampoo, etc.
  • Controlling supply costs, as well as laundry, maintenance and wages
  • Scheduling staff rotas
  • Overseeing stocktakes, budgets and other paperwork, such as maintenance reports and safety audits
  • Ensuring lost property is kept safely and returned to its owner
  • Possibly overseeing supervisors and linen room and cleaning supplies staff
  • An awareness of green issues

What sort of hours will I work?

Usually your shifts will start early and you’ll notch up between 50 to 55 hours a week – including weekends

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What's the best bit about being a head housekeeper?

"Generating customer satisfaction and working with a great team and like minded heads of department in a quality establishment – as well as winning awards," says Hotel Catey 2009 winner Rachael Park, head housekeeper at Rudding Park, Harrogate.

And the worst?

"The hours - it's a way of life and to do the job well you need to be very committed. Being first in and last out, clearing up after everyone and being a mum to all the staff."

What skills do I need?

  • Ability to nurture a good working relationship with other departments, such as reception and maintenance
  • Stunning time management skills so you can juggle your many duties
  • Attention to detail to ensure rooms are spic and span and well serviced and that equipment is stored safely
  • A stickler for health and safety as some staff may need to be trained to use hazardous cleaning materials
  • Know security protocol in case of emergency

What qualifications do I need?

In this role, it's your skills that count so most head housekeepers have worked their way up through the ranks. Many will have taken advantage of in-house training along the way and obviously any diplomas, NVQs, SVQs or hospitality management qualifications you’ve got under your belt will be useful.

Who would it suit?

  • You've got to be self motivated, adaptable, an excellent team motivator and team builder.
  • You will also need to be effective at cost control, keeping wages, uniforms and laundry within budget.
  • Be response and have the ability to solve problems and think on your feet
  • Also, to be brutally honest, you need to be just that little bit self-critical and obsessive

What sort of salary can I expect?

If you work in hotels, the average UK salary is between £18,500 and £20, 900, although depending on the style of hotel, your salary could be considerably higher.
Source: Totaljobs 2009

Where can I go from here?

Once you’ve made a clean sweep of being head housekeeper, you're ready to consider becoming an executive housekeeper, or area housekeeper role. Then again, you might fancy working on a cruise ship, or in a five-star resort in the Maldives - it’s all for the taking.

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