As noted, there are five sequential functions of management: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling. Planning to administer a housekeeping department affords one of the most classical experiences that might be found in the management profession. It is for this reason that article was devoted primarily to landmarks of professional management development. It would therefore be a good idea for you to refer to Mackenzie’s chart of management terms, activities, and definitions while studying this article on conceptual development.
The New Executive Housekeeper
Being appointed executive housekeeper of an ongoing operation has its challenges. After a brief introduction and orientation, the new manager would normally be expected to improve upon and bring about changes in operations related to the management potential for which he or she might have been selected. Any executive housekeeper who has had this experience might comment about how trying the task of bringing about change can be and how much easier it would have been if the operation could be started over. There is considerable truth in such a statement.
Being involved in a soon-to-open operation in which department planning has yet to be undertaken gives a manager the opportunity to influence how a department will be set up. Involvement in such an experience is both rewarding and enlightening and, once experienced, can prepare managers to bring about changes in an ongoing operation systematically and efficiently. The important point to remember, as stated by John Bozarth, is ‘‘Good results without planning is good luck, NOT good management.’’ It is therefore essential that planning any operation, change, system, organization, or procedure be allotted a proper portion of the manager’s energies. articles 2 through 9 place you in the role of a newly assigned executive housekeeper in a soon-to-open hotel. You will learn about the management planning that must take place to initiate operations, as well as about organizing and staffing a new operation. Once systems are developed and understood, you will see how they may be applied systematically and efficiently to ongoing operations.
The Executive Housekeeper’s Position within the Organization
In the model hotel that we present in this text, the executive housekeeper is in the position of a department head. This position and level of responsibility is not uncommon in most transient hotels or hospitals that range in size from 200 to 3000 rooms. However, some executive housekeepers are below the department head level, whereas others may rank even higher. Many become executive committee members (top management within the facility), and others reach corporate executive levels. Many seek careers that develop along housekeeping lines, and others choose to be executive housekeepers and oversee the entire maintenance function of their hotels or health-care facilities. Still others see an involvement in housekeeping as an entry into the hospitality or health-care field. Regardless of position, all should have the freedom to communicate within channels to every level of the enterprise.
For all illustrative purposes in this text, we presume that our newly assigned executive housekeeper will operate from the department head level and will report to the hotel resident manager.
The Model Hotel
Recognizing that the major hotel market in the United States is the corporate transient market, we selected a commercial transient hotel with resort flair—the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville, Indiana (Figure 2.1)—as a model hotel to illustrate the systems and procedures that you will study.
THE RADISSON HOTEL AT STAR PLAZA
Located in the northwest corner of Indiana at the intersection of Interstate Highway 65 and U.S. 30, this Radisson originated as a typical roadside Holiday Inn, a franchised operation, located 6 miles south of the heart of the Midwest steel-producing region near Gary, Indiana. Strategically located on the main southern interstate highway south of the Chicago area, the Radisson at Star Plaza is the result of the vision of its owner and founder, Dean V. White. In 1969, he constructed the first increment of this property as a typical 120-room Holiday Inn, with a small restaurant, a cocktail lounge, and several small meeting rooms. In 1972, the property underwent its first enlargement with the addition of 128 rooms and 6700 square feet of ballroom space.
In 1979, the property’s second enlargement took place, adding 105 guestrooms, more than doubling the size of meeting and convention space, adding an indoor pool and recreation area (Holidome), renovating all older guestrooms and food facilities, and joining a 3,400-seat performing arts theater to the hotel. As a result of the 1979 expansion, the property became a system award winner, and in 1983 changed its name from Holiday Inn, Merrillville, to Holiday Star Resort and Conference Center. In early 1990, the hotel franchise was changed from Holiday Inn to Radisson. The theater is now known as the Star Plaza Theatre. Today the facility has 353 deluxe guestrooms, including 20 suites and 2 bilevel suites, 7 restaurants and lounges, and 18,000 square feet of convention space. The conference center is owned and operated by White Lodging Services, a subsidiary of Whiteco Industries in Merrillville. Unless otherwise noted, we use this 353-room commercial and resort hotel to show you the basis for housekeeping department planning and systems development.
Reporting for Work
Assume that you are in the position of the newly assigned executive housekeeper of the model hotel and have been told to report for work only six weeks before first opening. It is necessary for you to set priorities for your first activities. Recognizing that the housekeeping department consists of only one person (the executive housekeeper), you readily see that planning, organizing, and staffing functions are of first importance, and the efficient use of time is paramount. Not only is the planning of people functions important, but the design of systems, the establishment of procedures, the determination of supply and equipment needs, and reporting and coordinating relationships must be considered.
The executive housekeeper’s experience usually begins by having the person to whom he or she will report (resident manager) introduce him or her to other members of the hotel staff who have been hired. These people are usually located in temporary hotel quarters such as a nearby office building.
It is at this time that the executive housekeeper will most likely be given the tentative chart of hotel organization, showing the positions of principal assistants to department heads. Figure 2.2 is an example of a hotel organization chart for our model hotel, showing the executive housekeeper position as that of department head in middle management.
Note the positions of the executive committee members at the top of the chart; this is the policymaking body of the hotel organization. Pay special attention to the positions of chief engineer and human resources director, which appear to be above the department heads and below the other members of the executive committee. The incumbents of these two positions are actually department heads, but by virtue of the fact that
FIGURE 2.2 A hotel organization chart that might be presented to the executive housekeeper of our model hotel six weeks before opening.