B&B Housekeeping – when should you clean the rooms
B&B Housekeeping – when should you clean the rooms
On nearly every course I run ( and I’ve been running them for 13 years now ), I’m asked “Do you go in and clean the B&B bedrooms every day when guests are staying several nights?” You would think it would be fairly straight forward answer, but nothing is ever as simple as it seems, as I’ve learned over the years of meeting potential B&B owners and running my own B&B.
Do your guests expect or even want a room tidy?
At my own B&B, I will always do a “room tidy” if guests are staying for more than one night, unless they ask me not to. It’s something that I like, indeed expect, when I go away and stay in a B&B or a hotel. Because of this I was surprised to hear that there are quite a few people who really don’t like someone going into their room to do a clean whilst they’re staying at a B&B.
The room information pack at my B&B states that we’ll clean the rooms between 11 and 13.00. If guests don’t vacate the room during this time their room may not be cleaned.
Whilst a room tidy is generally quicker than a full changeover. I allow about 30 minutes for a tidy and over an hour for a changeover, the issue for the B&B owner arises if guests don’t go out till mid afternoon or don’t go out at all.
Put time boundaries in place
A big hotel will usually have a dedicated team of cleaners in place who can come and service the room at any time on guest request, but it’s different at a small B&B.
As a one man band B&B owner, I often have other things to do, such as going to the shops to buy breakfast ingredients, going to meetings, walking the dog or meeting friends for lunch or coffee. It can be very frustrating hanging around, waiting for guests to go out, when you have other commitments.
Or it may be a day I’ve paid my cleaners to come in and they leave at a certain time. If guests don’t go out till late, after the cleaner has left for the day, I may end up having to clean the room myself anyway, even though I’ve paid someone else to do it! So my advice is to put time boundaries in and make sure guests are aware of them.
We say in the room information that if guests don’t want their room cleaned, they should let us know at breakfast or put up the “Do not disturb” notice. But we retain the right to enter the room ( just in case a window has been left open and a storm is imminent, to do essential repairs or if a smoke alarm goes off etc )
I’m always quite happy to be told not to bother cleaning the room – I’m not a fan of housework. But I know a lot of B&B owners want to go in and tidy the room every day to check everything is ok, so they don’t give guests the choice. As every B&B is different, I think the key here is communication and making sure the guests are aware of what will happen at your B&B
What to do about guests’ belongings
Another question that arises regularly on the course is “What do you do if guests leave their belongings all over the room?” If clothes have been left on the bed I’ll take them off, remake the bed, then put the clothes back on top of the bed. If stuff has been left on the floor I tend to vacuum around it.
We did stay at a B&B in the USA which stated that if guests left anything on the bed, it wouldn’t be made, as the cleaners would not touch guests’ personal belongings.
At the other extreme, we stay at a hotel on the Welsh coast that sends the cleaners in whilst we’re having breakfast ( obviously this doesn’t work if the person who cleans the rooms is also cooking the breakfast, as happens in many B&Bs ). The first time we stayed there I wasn’t aware that this happened, so hadn’t tidied the room before we left to eat. I was mortified when we returned to the room to find all our clothes, including underwear,had been picked up, folded and left on a chair.
This wouldn’t have been an issue if the hotel had stated that this is what happened, so it’s about communication again. Let guests know what will happen in your B&B, then there’s no nasty shocks!
What does a room tidy involve?
Here at Hopton House we make the bed, empty bins, replace any used crockery, cutlery etc. We’ll replenish the biscuits, tea and coffee supplies, milk, bottled water. If guests have put towels in the bath ( or if they’re very wet of dirty ) we’ll replace them. We’ll clean the bathroom, wiping down the shower, bath, shower screen, sink, toilet etc. I’ll check the toilet roll and put in another if necessary ( there’s also a spare). We vacuum the floors and mop the bathroom floor.
We have an environmental policy so we will only change the bed linen every 4 days, unless guests ask for bed linen change or they sheets etc look unclean.
See, I said it wasn’t a simple yes/no answer and probably more complicated than you may have thought. If you’re setting up a B&B, I’d suggest you decide on a room tidy policy that meets your guests’ expectations and fits in with your commitments. And, most importantly, make sure that is communicated clearly to your guests, either in person or in the room information pack.