The housekeeping department of a lodging property typically accounts for the business' largest labor expense. Though the exact structure of a housekeeping department varies depending on the size of the property, most have similar overall organization.
Most hotel housekeeping departments are led by an executive housekeeper. This employee is typically a member of the executive team. In smaller properties, he reports directly to the general manager. In larger properties, he may report to the rooms division manager. The executive housekeeper is responsible for managing housekeeping personnel, planning budgets, identifying cleaning needs, buying supplies and coordinating with other departments to ensure excellent guest service. Some properties also have an assistant executive housekeeper.
The major responsibility of a hotel housekeeping staff is cleaning guestrooms in an efficient manner to prepare rooms for guests checking into the property. Guestroom attendants are typically expected to clean a room in 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the room. Others in this department include house attendants who pick up linen bags and refill housekeeping carts and inspectors who inspect each room after it is cleaned to ensure it meets the property's quality standards.
The housekeeping department is also responsible for the public areas of the hotel, both front-of-the-house and back-of-the house areas. They may also be responsible for cleaning dining room areas after they have closed, though food and beverage staff are usually responsible for the cleaning during the day. Public space cleaners make up the majority of this part of the housekeeping department.
Properties that have in-house laundry services have a laundry manager who answers directly to the executive housekeeper. The laundry manager manages the work flow of the laundry and the laundry employees. Laundry employees include laundry attendants who operate the washers, dryers, presses and folders, and linen runners who fetch linen and put it away as it is completed. Some laundry departments also hire a seamstress to repair linens or repurpose damaged linens to other uses (such as making washcloths or cleaning cloths out of towels or food service aprons out of bedsheets).