Pros of Becoming an Executive Housekeeper in the Hospitality Industry

Prior to becoming a talent recruiter, I worked in hotels and the hospitality field my whole adult life. I started as a bellman and left as a corporate director of brand management for a leading hotel company. Most of the positions I held in between were in the rooms division. While I loved all my jobs and had a great career over more than three decades, my favorite and most rewarding positions were in the housekeeping department.  

In hospitality, there’s room to grow  

After a few years of working as a bellman, bell captain, and at the front desk, I was invited by a former manager to join him as a housekeeping floor manager at a new hotel that was opening in New York City. I had no idea what that role was. I was a front-office guy. (As an aside, to this day, my mom can’t believe anyone ever wanted me to oversee the cleaning of anything!)  

I took the leap and the move changed my life. It set me up early for a long, progressive, and successful career in hotels. I have leaned on the lessons I learned in housekeeping through the years, not just in business, but also in life. Working in housekeeping taught me to be precise, compassionate, and patient. Those skills serve me very well today as a hospitality recruiting partner for Goodwin Recruiting.   

What’s great about housekeeping leadership roles?  

  • For me, it was always about the team. The housekeeping staff and teams I was fortunate to lead were the hardest working and most humble professionals in the building. They often do the same routine, day in and day out, with very little thanks or praise. I learned a lot about humanity and humility working in housekeeping. How many of you clean 16 toilets a day? With a smile?  
  • Being part of a housekeeping department is being part of a family. You are linked by a common goal and often have nobody but each other to depend on. And at the end of the day, you leave the hotel clean, knowing that tomorrow you will have to do it all over again. I loved that part of the job. Making a safe, fun, team-centric environment for housekeepers and housemen is important to a hotel’s success. It was something I did across every department, hotel, and team I worked with.  
  • Besides being incredibly rewarding by itself, you learn a lot about hotel management in general. The housekeeping budget, for example, is always a hotel’s largest budget expense. You must control labor costs and costs of equipment and cleaning supplies. And as an executive housekeeper, you usually have the most direct reports. These include not only teams who take care of guest rooms and amenities, but also management team members who report to you. I managed some housekeeping departments that were larger than the entire staff of other hotels where I worked.  
  • You manage people from diverse cultures, language skills, and education levels. I learned how to motivate diverse teams at every level of the department and worked closely with our human resources team. These skills are invaluable! You also develop a healthy understanding of the hotel maintenance and engineering department. Hotel engineers are either fixing your equipment or making a mess you need to clean up, lol. They are critical to your work and team. (You make sure you take good care of these folks at holiday time!) All these skills served me well as I progressed in my career. By my experience, after managing a housekeeping department, everything else was easy!  

What do you need to bring to the table?  

I will say first that what you bring into this career is nowhere near as much as you get out of it, but here are some must-haves for being successful.  

  • You need a strong work ethic. Game recognizes game, and if your team doesn’t feel they can count on you because you’re not around or just sitting in your office, you will have a hard time getting staff members to respond when times are tough.  
  • You need to have great attention to detail. Are all the amenities in the right place, are the beds made correctly and hotel rooms clean and pristine, and are the storage areas stocked and safe? There are a lot of standards, procedures, and protocols to follow and not all of them are easy.  
  • You need the desire to listen, learn, and lead. Can you motivate your team to go above and beyond? If you have the first two must-haves nailed down, leadership and management skills can be developed in overseeing housekeeper jobs and teams. Everyone on the team matters. They need to feel they are heard and valued, no matter their role or job description!  

Do any of these necessities sound familiar? I think they’re the same for virtually any position in hospitality management, as well as in fields where roles and responsibilities have crossover. For example, I have seen a lot of very successful hotel housekeeping managers come from senior living and hospital work environments. Necessary skills and traits are virtually the same. The upshot is that If you can do one of these roles well, you can be successful in almost any department in hospitality.  

Discover your future  

If housekeeping operations sounds like something you are passionate about, give me a call. In my role as a recruiter, my greatest sense of achievement comes from helping others. I would rather talk through a career choice than almost anything else, especially in the hotel industry and housekeeping. Helping dedicated hoteliers find the right job and assisting hotels in finding the right talent is my “why.” I love it and I’m good at it.  

At Goodwin Recruiting, we work with many hotel companies looking for great housekeeping talent. You can explore available job openings here. And if becoming a talent recruiter for the industry sounds good to you, you might explore joining our team. There are great opportunities available to you. 

I wish you great success in your search and if I can help, I am always just a phone call away.