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Director of Housekeeping Career Guide

What is a director of housekeeping?

A director of housekeeping is a senior leadership role in hospitality, typically within hotels and resorts. Their primary function is to supervise and guarantee the maintenance and cleanliness of the facility to provide guests with a comfortable and satisfactory experience. Overseeing all aspects of housekeeping operations is essential for a high-quality guest experience, impacting the company’s reputation and profitability. Therefore, the housekeeping director is pivotal in visitor satisfaction and business success.

They operate between top management and hands-on operations, ensuring that cleaning services align with company standards and customer expectations. They don’t merely oversee a cleaning team; they establish a service-oriented culture prioritizing attention to detail, professionalism, and guest comfort. The overall state of cleanliness and maintenance of the property reflects directly on their competence and dedication.

Duties and responsibilities

Housekeeping directors are responsible for managing all aspects of housekeeping operations, which includes setting work schedules, verifying cleaning procedures, and maintaining a top-notch hygiene standard in all areas. They also adhere to purchasing procedures and maintain a budget, ensuring all required supplies are readily available without unnecessary wastage.

These directors will also regularly inspect rooms, conference spaces, and common areas for cleanliness and appearance. They stay updated on the best cleaning practices in the industry and implement them to improve the efficiency of the cleaning staff. They are also responsible for hiring and training new staff members and maintaining a properly trained, competent workforce that performs all the housekeeping functions satisfactorily.

Work environment

The work environment for a director of housekeeping is a blend of office and on-the-ground operations. They spend significant time in offices for administrative tasks, such as preparing schedules and budgets. However, much of their time is also spent on the property, interacting with their team, training staff, overseeing day-to-day operations, and inspecting rooms and facilities to ensure cleanliness and service quality.

This job frequently involves interaction with other departments, vendors, and sometimes guests, making good interpersonal and communication skills crucial. Due to their role’s nature, they often must manage high-stress situations, with occasionally unpredictable and extended hours, especially during peak seasons and events.

Typical work hours

The typical work hours for a housekeeping director can be irregular and long, particularly in busy hotels and resorts. In most cases, they work full-time with a standard 40-hour week. However, as the hospitality industry operates 24/7, the director may sometimes need to work in the evenings or on weekends, especially during peak seasons or when unexpected situations arise, necessitating their presence.

Flexibility and willingness to work outside usual business hours when needed are crucial for this role. While the workload can sometimes be quite onerous in this position, the satisfaction drawn from ensuring a seamless and positive guest experience can make for a rewarding experience.

How to become a director of housekeeping

This career guide section outlines the steps to becoming a housekeeping director. Generally, this profession requires a combination of education, relevant work experience, training in hospitality management, and strong leadership skills.

Step 1: Attain a relevant high school diploma

As a basic requirement, having a high school diploma or its equivalent is often necessary for a job in housekeeping. Focusing on subjects such as hospitality, business studies, and human resource management can be beneficial.

Step 2: Obtain work experience in housekeeping

Working in housekeeping operations is important in understanding the industry and its requirements. This experience can range from being a staff member, a supervisor, or a housekeeping manager. The more experience you accumulate, the more equipped you’ll be to handle the responsibilities and challenges of a director-level role.

Step 3: Pursue further education

A bachelor’s degree in hotel or hospitality management can enhance your qualifications for a director role, as it provides comprehensive knowledge about the industry, including the management of housekeeping operations, staff management, and guest relations.

Step 4: Gain leadership experience

Since this is a leadership role, having experience managing teams is essential. This experience can be acquired through positions such as housekeeping shift leader or manager.

Step 5: Earn a certification

Certifications, while not always required, can set you apart from the competition. The most common certification is the Certified Hospitality Housekeeping Executive (CHHE) certification from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute. This certification demonstrates to potential employers that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in this role.

Step 6: Apply for jobs

After obtaining the necessary qualifications, experiences, and possibly certification, you can begin applying for the role of director of housekeeping. Craft your resume and cover letter to highlight your leadership skills, relevant experience, and any other unique attributes that make you well-suited for the job.

Step 7: Ace the job interview

The final step in securing the housekeeping director position is to perform well in the job interview. Prepare to discuss your previous experiences and how they have equipped you to take on a director role. Be ready to answer questions about team management, conflict resolution, and how you would improve housekeeping operations.

How much do housekeeping directors make?

Compensation for housekeeping directors varies by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. The level of luxury and scale of the establishment and the team’s size can significantly impact their salary range.

Highest paying industries

  • Traveler Accommodation – $65,800
  • Local Government – $63,500
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises – $62,200
  • Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities – $61,750
  • Employment Services – $60,540

Highest paying states

  • New Jersey – $75,320
  • Massachusetts – $73,250
  • New York – $71,560
  • Washington – $70,820
  • California – $70,120

Browse director of housekeeping salary data by market

Types of housekeeping directors

Below, we explore common career types and areas of specialization for housekeeping directors. They can work in various environments, such as hotels, hospitals, and corporate offices, each with unique requirements and specifications. Their specializations are usually industry-specific, given the diversity of places they serve.

Hotel director of housekeeping

In the hospitality industry, professionals who adhere to high standards of cleanliness and tidiness are instrumental. A hotel director strictly oversees these tasks and ensures guests have a safe, comfortable, and clean environment during their stay. This role may involve managing large teams, handling guest feedback, and controlling housekeeping budgets.

Hospital director of housekeeping

A hospital director of housekeeping is critical to the success of any healthcare facility as they manage cleaning and maintenance tasks in a sterile and hygienic context. They are responsible for rigorous sanitation standards and often manage large teams of cleaning staff to ensure a well-maintained environment, contributing to patient recovery and preventing disease spread.

Corporate office director of housekeeping

This specialty manages the cleanliness and presentation of an office environment, fostering a space conducive to productivity and employee satisfaction. They liaise with various stakeholders, such as department heads, facility managers, or office staff, to maintain cleanliness standards. This role often requires the procurement of cleaning supplies and the oversight of cleaning procedures.

Residential director of housekeeping

In residential settings, housekeeping directors keep homes, condominiums, and gated communities well-maintained and clean. In collaboration with property management teams, these professionals staff and supervise cleaning teams, set cleaning schedules, and oversee the use of cleaning materials and solutions while ensuring compliance with established residential or community standards.

Top skills for directors of housekeeping

This section outlines the skills and traits contributing to a successful housekeeping director career. The job combines management skills with a deep understanding of cleanliness and hygiene industry standards.

Attention to detail

Being meticulous in their observations and evaluations is an essential trait of a successful director. Whether noticing minor faults in cleaning or pinpointing procedures not being followed, paying close attention to even the smallest details can help maintain a high standard of cleanliness and hygiene.

Strong people management

These professionals must be able to lead and manage a diverse team of employees effectively, which requires strong people management skills, including the ability to motivate, delegate, resolve conflicts, and make sound personnel decisions.

Excellent communication

Clear and effective communication is crucial. Depending on the size of the facility, directors often work with numerous employees and should effectively convey instructions, expectations, and feedback. They will also communicate directly with other departments, suppliers, and sometimes, guests. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are, therefore, a necessity.

Sound knowledge of cleaning methods and equipment

Understanding the correct cleaning methodology, standards, and the right equipment to use is vital for maintaining the quality of the property. Insights into innovative cleaning processes and the latest equipment can lead to improved efficiency and results.

Skills in budgeting and inventory control

Efficiently managing a budget is useful in maximizing the department’s operations while staying within financial constraints. Meanwhile, effective inventory control techniques prevent shortages of cleaning supplies and equipment that could disrupt processes.

Problem-solving abilities

A housekeeping director may face various challenges in the course of their work, ranging from personnel issues to equipment malfunctions. The ability to quickly analyze situations, identify problems, and implement effective solutions is valuable for success.

Director of housekeeping career path

Housekeeping directors have many opportunities for career advancement. After gaining enough experience and demonstrating strong leadership skills, they can move to higher positions within their industry or company. One common path forward is becoming a facilities manager, overseeing all building maintenance and services beyond housekeeping. This position requires close collaboration with a team and more strategic decision-making.

Another potential pathway is into a larger hotel or resort complex as a general manager, where they would oversee all departments. These jobs require a broader understanding of all facets of hotel or resort operations – from balancing budgets to guest satisfaction to operational efficiency.

In larger organizations, housekeeping directors can even aspire to become regional or executive directors, supervising multiple sites or nationwide operations. This series of leadership positions requires more strategic planning and direction, in-depth understanding of the operational aspects, and often profit and loss responsibility.

Alternatively, pursuing a career as a consultant or working with housekeeping suppliers or equipment firms, leveraging their industry insights and experiences, can be another rewarding career path. They can also transition into the academic or training field, working to equip the next generation of housekeeping professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge.

In the hospitality industry, this role has undergone significant changes and advancements over the past few years, mainly due to the increasing demands for quality service and the integration of advanced technologies in everyday operations. Increased focus on sustainability is another factor shaping the profession. A tendency toward greener practices and eco-friendly materials has become increasingly prevalent. Many establishments are now prioritizing a robust recycling program, which, in many instances, is overseen by the director of housekeeping.

Another significant trend in this profession is the use of technologies that enhance efficiency and guest satisfaction. The introduction of innovative tools and intelligent software for housekeeping tasks is a big leap in the industry. This not only changes the traditional methods of operations but also offers new skill requirements for housekeeping managers. Therefore, today’s directors need to be tech-savvy, flexible, and always willing to embrace change.

Employment projections

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the demand for lodging managers, a category under which the role of a director of housekeeping falls, is expected to grow 18 percent through 2031. The BLS suggests that those with a degree in hospitality or hotel management should have better job prospects; therefore, aspiring directors may want to pursue advanced education in these fields.

Director of housekeeping career tips

Understand the big picture

One of the key success factors is understanding the organization’s or facility’s overarching goals. Whether you’re working in a hotel, hospital, or residential facility, knowing the strategic mission helps in everyday decision-making. It results in efficient resource utilization, helps maintain high-quality service, and is vital to aligning your team efforts toward common goals.

Adopt a hands-on approach

While your role is to manage, it’s equally important to understand the tasks your team carries out regularly. Being directly involved gives you a sense of the workload and earns your team’s respect. It delivers a message that you care about their well-being and that you’re ready to share the responsibility.

Build a professional network

A strong professional network can be an invaluable resource, providing opportunities for learning, partnership, and career advancement. Participating in forums, conferences, and seminars can contribute to widening your network.

  • International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA)
  • Professional Housekeeping Association of Australia (PHAA)
  • Housekeeping Managers Association of Singapore (HMAS)

Implement a robust training program

Training programs ensure that all housekeeping staff have the skills and knowledge to perform their roles effectively. It’s your responsibility as a leader to make sure that your team is competent, and a robust training program can help achieve that.

Prioritize safety

Safety should always be a top priority. Confirming your team is following all safety procedures and guidelines protects them and helps the organization avoid costly incidents. Regular safety audits, training, and communication about safety measures are essential.

Invest in continuous learning

Keeping up with the latest trends in housekeeping management, sanitation protocols, and hospitality industry standards can give you an advantage in your role. Continuous learning could come through formal education, certifications, online courses, industry publications, or networking events.

  • Certified Executive Housekeeper (CEH) – International Executive Housekeepers Association
  • Certificate IV in Cleaning Management – Professional Housekeeping Association of Australia
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification

Where the housekeeping director jobs are

Top employers

  • Mariott
  • Hilton
  • InterContinental
  • Hyatt
  • Wyndham

Top states

  • California
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • New York
  • Nevada

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • Hcareers
  • Hospitality Online
  • LinkedIn


What are the qualifications needed for a director of housekeeping?

In most cases, a housekeeping director needs a high school diploma or GED at the minimum. Some positions may require a degree in hotel management or a related field. Also, proven experience in a supervisory role within the housekeeping or hospitality industry is often required.

What skills and attributes should a director of housekeeping possess?

Excellent organizational and leadership skills, high-quality customer service abilities, and an eye for detail. Understanding advanced sanitation techniques and housekeeping processes is also crucial, and last but not least, the ability to supervise and train staff effectively.

What are the primary responsibilities and tasks in the role of a director of housekeeping?

In this position, you will be expected to plan, organize, and manage the daily operations of the housekeeping department. Some responsibilities may include staff hiring, training, and scheduling, ensuring high standards of cleanliness and sanitation, dealing with customer complaints or issues professionally, and maintaining an inventory of cleaning supplies.

What kind of work schedule does a housekeeping director typically have?

As a housekeeping director, you might work regular business hours, but given the 24-hour operation of many hospitality establishments, you may need to be on call or work evenings, weekends, and holidays. The role might also require long hours, especially during high season or special events.

What is the work environment like for a director of housekeeping?

Work environments differ from job to job but often involve an office setting and various areas within the facility that need cleaning and maintenance. You can expect to spend a good portion of your time supervising staff and addressing any issues that occur. Staying physically active is also a part of your job, as you will need to inspect rooms and public areas frequently.

What are some challenges faced by a director of housekeeping?

Meeting high cleanliness and hygiene standards, staff management, dealing with customer complaints, and managing budgets can be some of the challenges faced in this role. Additionally, the fast-paced and constantly changing environment calls for adaptability and problem-solving abilities. You also need the capacity to handle stress when dealing with staff shortages, equipment breakdowns, or other emergencies.

How can a director of housekeeping effectively interact with other employees?

As a leader, effective communication is crucial, which includes active listening and offering clear instructions. Building strong relationships with staff and effectively managing conflict can foster a positive work environment. In addition, you must also cultivate relationships with others in management to ensure the overall smooth operations of the establishment.

What certificates or courses can help in qualifying for the director of housekeeping role?

While there aren’t specific certificates required for this position, housekeeping-specific or broader hospitality industry training could enhance your candidacy. Institutions like the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute offer a variety of relevant courses and credentials. Enhancing your management and leadership skills through courses or certificates could also be beneficial.

How important is safety knowledge for a director of housekeeping?

Safety knowledge is paramount in this role. You are responsible for your team’s and guests’ safety by enforcing safety and health standards. This includes the safe use of cleaning chemicals, emergency procedures and guidelines, and understanding regulations set by occupational safety and health authorities.

What strategies can a director of housekeeping apply to improve team performance?

Effective strategies include clear goal setting, promoting teamwork, providing regular feedback, and acknowledging good work. Developing a comprehensive training program incorporating skill development and customer service attention could also boost team performance. Creating a supportive and respectful work environment increases staff motivation and performance.

Is there room for career growth for a director of housekeeping?

Yes, there is room for career growth. While already in a senior position in a housekeeping department, a housekeeping director could move into wider operational roles within the hospitality industry. This might require supplemental education or experience but could lead to positions such as hotel manager, operations manager, or even owner of a hospitality establishment.