Housekeeping Professional: Skills and Career Paths
Deb Ward / FEBRUARY 01 2021

What does a housekeeper do? It would be impossible to run a hotel without housekeeping staff. The skills needed to involve a variety of tasks, following specific instructions for cleaning and sanitizing as well as upholding hotel room standards, keeping track of supplies and communicating with guests. Typical duties include:

  • Loading the cart with supplies; ready to service a number of rooms
  • Provide clean linens and towels
  • Make beds, ensure bathrooms are clean
  • Take away the trash, room service items, and dirty linen
  • Adjust furniture, desk items, and appliances if needed
  • Vacuum floors as well as hallways and stairs
  • Adhere to all safety, security, and company procedures
  • Look for any items left behind by guests
  • Keep all common areas clean and appealing to guests
  • Possibly assist in the laundry department

Hard skills that are valued in this role include:

  • Sweeping and carpet cleaning
  • Deep Cleaning
  • Mopping
  • Window treatment cleaning
  • Bathroom and bedroom cleaning
  • Infection control 
  • Polishing and dusting
  • Ability to consistently maintain quality standards

To be successful in this role, you don’t need a specific degree or even a high school diploma. However, there are certification programs, as well as on the job training.  Housekeeping is a physically demanding job and you should be able to lift a minimum of 25 lbs. and have sufficient stamina to be on your feet most of the day. Housekeepers also work irregular shifts to accommodate guests’ and hotel schedules.

In addition to the hard skills required to do the job, important soft skills are:

  • Being committed to customer service – being willing to help and serve others
  • Being detail-oriented – rooms/common areas must be clean and sanitized well
  • Being able to follow instructions closely – use the procedures and products according to hotel policy
  • Regularly communicate with clients, coworkers, and supervisors – be conversant and pleasant
  • Work well with others on your team – be a good team player
  • Being organized – keep your supplies and cart in order and move efficiently
  • Take pride in your work and remain consistent – complete every room to hotel standards
  • Time Management – be able to get all your tasks done on time

Possible career paths to pursue with your housekeeping experience include:

  • Assistant Housekeeping Manager: After a few years of housekeeping, you may be interested in moving into a management role.  You’d be responsible for recording budget details, working with vendors, ordering cleaning supplies, and handling guest complaints.
  • Director of Housekeeping: Larger, luxury hotels with more than 500 rooms employ directors of housekeeping. This is an advanced professional role where you would be required to stay on top of customer service, resolve complaints, direct financial and operational tasks, develop budgets and perform profit/loss analysis.
  • Executive Housekeeper: These are supervisors who motivate staff and train employees in housekeeping and laundry departments. They have responsibility for the cleanliness of rooms and complaints related to that. They coordinate schedules and order supplies.
  • Assistant Laundry Manager: This job can lead to a Laundry Manager. Your responsibilities include taking care of bedsheets, tablecloths, and employee uniforms. You would supervise operations and oversee the delivery of all linens in the hotel as well as train new employees.
  • Front Desk Assistant Manager: Some employees start in the housekeeping department and after working a few years, transfer to the front desk. They ensure front desk agents are carrying out their functions and meeting expectations. They resolve complaints or problems as well as track the results of sales strategies.