Cleanliness Bolsters Guest Satisfaction, Corporate Contracts for Iowa Hotel

NATIONAL REPORT—West Des Moines, IA, is home to some of the Midwest’s leading businesses, recreation opportunities and retail attractions all served, in part, by the 102-room Courtyard by Marriott Jordan Creek, operated by Arbor Lodging. The hotel ranks among the top 10% of Courtyard properties in North America in guest surveys of customer service and cleanliness, according to General Manager Mark Murphy. The hotel also earned Trip Advisor’s coveted Certificate of Excellence for consistent high customer ratings for cleanliness and customer service.

Tabitha Cunningham, the hotel’s executive housekeeper, credits a dedicated staff of nine housekeepers for their painstaking attention to guest satisfaction.

“We have certain things that have to be in the rooms, the proper number of towels. Pillows have to be set a certain way and beds have to be made a certain way,” Cunningham said. “It has to be very clean so that you can go wipe your finger on the counters and your fingers are still clean.”

“I inspect every room to make sure that everything is cleaned properly, she added. “If it’s not, the housekeepers have to redo things or touch up.”

Cunningham assembles her team at 7:30 a.m. daily to assign each housekeeper anywhere from 10 to 12 rooms to be cleaned that day, starting with the rooms where guests have checked out. Each housekeeper loads up her cart with towels, linens, disposables, cleaning supplies and a Sanitaire TRADITION™ Model SC688A upright vacuum.

“Vacuuming is the last thing they do when they finish cleaning each room,” Cunningham said. “That way they can vacuum all the dust that fell when they dusted or anything from sweeping the tiled floors and shaking the sheets when they strip the beds. Our Sanitaire machines do an outstanding job.”

In addition to daily cleaning, Cunningham said every room in the hotel undergoes a monthly deep cleaning.

“The housekeepers get 45 minutes to do a room. They strip everything out of the room but the curtains — take everything out, wash it and put it back. They pull the beds out and vacuum behind the beds and all the furniture, just getting all the nooks and crannies in the room—every little corner,” she said.

“When I go through my inspections and check the rooms, I also make sure vacuum cleaners and everything are working properly,” Cunningham said.

Kurt Statton, the hotel’s chief engineer, inspects the Santitaire machines regularly and replaces worn belts and brushrolls to assure peak performance.

“We keep logs for all the machines and we’ve got tags on them that show when the last service was,” Statton said. “It’s not a complicated thing to work on the machines. There isn’t anything that happens to them that you can’t replace a part and keep them in service.”

Murphy said cleanliness is a “huge factor” in the hotel’s high occupancy rates. The hotel is normally 100% occupied Mondays through Wednesdays and 65% filled on weekends. It also recently earned large corporate contracts to supply rooms for their employees and clients, including one contract for 2,500 room nights this year.

“A search team spent four nights in the hotel to ensure we met the needs of their employees. The team specifically mentioned the cleanliness of the rooms and other areas of the hotel were important considerations for choosing us,” Murphy added.