Vince Barrett developed New Castle’s innovative approach to housekeeping

FROM BED WARS TO BATHROOM WARS, the hotel industry has fought hard to maintain consumer appeal in the face of change. Over the course of nearly 25 years, the guestroom environment has been transformed quite radically. Beds—an amenity that once required only a box spring, mattress, sheets, and a few pillows—are now one of the greatest symbols of hotel luxury; they stand 34 to 37 inches off the floor and include a plush mattress, one fitted sheet and two flat sheets, a blanket, a duvet cover, and five or six pillows.

There have been other upgrades to guestrooms as well.  Overall, bathrooms now have more square footage, with many hotels opting for luxury details like granite countertops and tall electric mirrors that require dozens of light bulbs. Even the average television size has increased to a whopping 55 inches.

As a result of these changes, hoteliers are starting to do away
with old cleaning habits and adopt new, innovative housekeeping
strategies to maintain housekeeper and guest satisfaction. But how can a hotel break through that particular paradigm of routine? Shelton, Conn.-based hotel developer and management company New Castle Hotels & Resorts found a simple and effective solution: Communication.

Jim Wefers
Jim Wefers

A little over a year ago, the Courtyard Marriott and Residence Inn Syracuse Downtown at Armory Square in Syracuse, N.Y., integrated a new and improved housekeeping initiative after noticing an uptick in their employees’ minutes per occupied room. When the issue first came to his attention, general manager Jim Wefers suggested going straight to the source—the housekeepers themselves.

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