Thanks to Vania Kamtsiou, Senior Trainer & Founder of Welcome Global, and Harris Tzannis, Editor of Gastronomy, we are happy to present a detailed article about the latest trends of Housekeeping and Food departments! We would like to thank these two experts again and again for sharing their knowledge with us!
Vania Kamtsiou, Senior Trainer & Founder of Welcome Global, writes:
Very often, I notice housekeeping employees questioning: “Is it possible for a robot to perform housekeeping duties?” or “In how many years from now are we going to lose our jobs due to technological advancements?”. Predicting the correct answers to these questions may be challenging. However, it gives me great pleasure to see that hospitality professionals are becoming more interested in trends that are happening and are formed by the “wants” of travelers. This is because in today’s rapidly developing world, we are not only affected by what is happening in the businesses located on the same street as ours, but we are also directly competing with what is happening on the global map.
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The role of Technology
Technology has had extensive influence in many areas of the housekeeping industry. For example, there are software products that automate daily housekeeping activities, preparing allocation and task lists for all staff in a minimal amount of time and allowing supervisors and managers to focus their time on other important management and leadership issues. Another example would be the robotic vacuum cleaners that autonomously clean large amounts of spaces.
However, before the issue of technological trends dominates our concerns, I strongly believe that housekeeping employees need to focus on the current absolute requirements of the global traveller and master these standards before anything else.
The role of Global Traveller
The global traveller demands “Perfection in housekeeping”. And this demand goes beyond the star rating of the property or the price that the guest pays. Guests want to enjoy their accommodation experience in clean spaces, with spotless rooms and faultless maintenance. The global traveller demands “Perfection in housekeeping on a constant basis”. Consistency is of great importance and contributes to the total perceived value of the property.
Therefore, in order to fulfil what the guests require, it becomes evident that the formation of suitable procedures is of great importance and is the solid base that quality and consistency are built of. For Housekeeping procedures to be effective they must reinforce only the most updated professional techniques and take sustainability into consideration and environmentally friendly practices including the topics of linen changing and recycling.
Procedures must ensure the health and safety of the guests and of the employees. Of course, they must be effectively communicated, consistently reinforced, and checked so that non-standard output is corrected as promptly as possible.
The rule of Human Factor
Clearly, procedures have limited value unless there is the human capital to properly implement them. Attracting talented housekeeping employees that are responsible, business agile, and demonstrate passion for their work in a unique way is important.
Through their travel experiences, modern guests seek to live “authentically”, what each place can offer them. They aspire to enrich their experiences through human contact, conversing with local staff, and communicating on various issues. This is a big challenge, indeed, considering, among other factors, the language barrier.
It is of course necessary to arm the housekeeping staff with the suitable skills. Explain to the staff what the limits are, up to which level to handle the communication with customers and when (and how!) they will contact the manager or supervisor.
As might be expected, the prerequisites are kindness and a passion for good service. A warm “Good morning!”and questions like “Is everything alright?” or “What else we can do for you?”, express genuine care and authentic hospitality.
And of course discreet attention. Exceptional housekeeping employees are able to understand the spoken and unspoken signals of guests so that they are more qualified to offer personalized service, with no errors or risks.
So before we focus on complex technological trends or view robots as co-workers, we do have something unique to master: and that is humanity. This means expressing heartfelt concern for others, and the desire to transform a typical customer interaction into a unique, memorable experience. Additionally, it means the desire to work in such a way that we deliver a planet that is green and clean to future generations.
Harris Tzannis, editor of gastronomy, founder of Delio Food Hub for Greek products and professor of "Gastronomy Communication" at the Metropolitan College, writes:
Gastronomy, as a global field, is becoming increasingly important, especially when it is associated with Tourism. Through local tastes, travelers are looking to develop a deeper understanding of the country's culture. Destinations are coming to realize that offering a course is not just a meal but rather, a complete experience in and of itself.
The Locality of flavors & materials
The locality of flavors and materials is one of the most important gastronomic trends of modern times as it highlights the identity of the place that makes it a unique destination. In recent years, there has been a shift in traditional recipes in Greece with the evolution of the New Greek Cuisine. Young chefs who study abroad and have high ambitions are looking for inspiration in the origins of our cuisine in order to create flavors that combine their childhood memories with modern techniques.
The rise of Raw materials
The rise of raw materials is another modern gastronomic trend, following the past trend of impressive and complicated techniques with its exaggeration of presentation and delicious exuberance of French influence. Today, attention is focused on the ingredients themselves and their quality, with the aim of highlighting them, with a combination of finesse, simplicity, and balance.
The rise of Street Food
The rise in popularity of street food worldwide did not go unnoticed in Greece, as it endured the long economic crisis. Street food went from being labeled as "dirty" to "delicate", and the options made available to consumers exploded. Burgers, souvlaki, falafel, salads, sandwiches, American BBQ, noodles, and bao flooded the market and formed a fast casual culture that has even made it to the restaurants.
The hunt of Healthier food
But the most dynamic trend in the world, and of course in Greece, at the moment is the hunt for healthier food by consumers. Both the development of vegetarian groups with subdivisions and the dangerous increase in obesity rates have sensitized more consumers to question the origin of their food. Although this food trend has been exploited by the food industry by transforming healthy diets into a whole life-style, we can all agree that eating healthy is good for our health. Foods such as tahini, honey, turmeric, and oats have returned to our daily diet, while food with plant proteins, less sugar, less salt and no preservatives have become attractive again. Healthy food is currently the biggest trend in the world, and the rise of organic products in Greece shows that we are on the same page.
Since the above trends are already here, there are two other issues that will be of concern to us soon.
The sustainability issue
Conscious eating, the reduction of food waste and the sustainability of gastronomy are perhaps the biggest food betting of mankind. Many food businesses in Greece are already conducting training on how to reduce waste and manage resources, while modern kitchens are now cooking based on this philosophy.
Finally, the locality of flavors highlights promising areas of uniqueness and distinction in our country, such as Mediterranean bartending. Namely, the ever-increasing use of Greek materials and spirits for beverage production. Its combination with Tourism will soon offer authentic gastronomic experiences to visitors.