In most hotel rooms you will find a card in the bathroom, which says:
‘Together we can contribute to improving the environment. We should avoid unnecessary use of water or detergent.
If you leave your towel in the bathtub, we will replace it with another one; if you think you can use it again, please leave it on the towel rail.’
Obviously this sounds good and it triggers me to consciously support the environment. And it does it a positive way. There is no threat in it.
So, it is easy for me to comply and to hang my towel on the rack after usage.
But guess what happens when I return and my room is cleaned? A new one replaces the towel. Well, I thought that must be a mistake. But the next day, the same happens, my towel is replaced again!
What does this mean? Actually two things, which are crucial for implementing any new service.
- The people (in this case: the maids who clean the room) who have to deliver the service have to be instructed on the new policy/service. They have to know what has changed, why it has changed and what new behaviour is expected from them. And this has to be checked regularly, until the new behaviour has become a habit. Research indicated that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.
- Management has to measure the impact and result of their new procedure. If they measure the daily amount of towels, which go to the laundry, they should notice any difference. If there is on average no change, they should investigate what the reason is. If they do this they can notice that the only real change has been to put the card in the room. The rest has not changed.
This means that it is crucial to bridge the gap between management and the frontline by clear communication and training. And putting in place the right metrics to monitor the effect of the new policy/service.