Caesars’ got no maids |

Caesars’ got no maids

Sarah Gonser

Room doors ajar, carts of mops and cleaning supplies parked in the hallways, they are the backs stooped over soiled toilet bowls, the arms pushing vacuums across miles of carpet, the anonymous 10 o’clock knocks on hotel room doors, reminding guests to clear out and let them clean up the mess.

Hotel housekeeping is no treat. It’s physically taxing and the pay is meager.

And because the perks are so few, and the job so tiresome, these hotel housekeepers can become a rare commodity around these parts – especially between busy seasons.

That’s where some quick, creative human resources planning can come in handy.

Take Caesars Tahoe, who, according to employment coordinator Michelle Valdez, is experiencing the most severe maid shortage in a long time.

“Being a maid is a really tough job. You clean 14 rooms a day, 30 minutes a room,” Valdez said. “Our turnover rate is tremendous, mainly because of the transient nature of this town. They come and go here like a drive-through restaurant, really.”

So Valdez and the housekeeping department put on their thinking caps in the hopes of making the job more pleasant.

“We’re pulling out all the stops now to keep them here,” Valdez explained. “I know a lot of the other hotels are doing things like cash bonuses, but sometimes the perks we come up with can override the instant gratification of a quick $100 bonus.”

So, string quartets over languorous feasts of champagne and caviar during four-hour breaks?

Well, not exactly – but pretty close.

Don’t be surprised to see Caesars’ housekeeping staff daintily stepping out of stretch limousines, just in time for a 9 a.m. work shift. How about massages? Sure – at least three times a week, Valdez said. Also, don’t forget to drop the kids off at school. No problem. Will the limo be all right?

“We can do our little bit,” said massage therapist Brad Logie Wednesday while working out the knots in Lidia Aguilar’s upper back and shoulders. “You can’t save the world, but at least we can make this job a little easier on them.”

Valdez explained that these efforts are crucial if Caesars wants clean hotel rooms.

“We’re just using all of our resources now to keep them here,” she said. “We’re treating them like kings and queens in the hopes that they’ll stay with us.”

The 440-room hotel was at 97-percent guest capacity this week, according to Valdez, and before the summer hiring season, she said the housekeeping crew was understaffed by 20 people, causing others to work overtime and swing shifts -no doubt burning them out on the job.

“We realize we need to get creative with our recruitment and if we need to go pick them up somewhere, then we’ll do that,” Valdez said. “We’re also working with the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center to see if we can pay for people in their domestic violence group to relocate here.”

A Horizon Casino Resort personnel representative said Horizon is offering $100 signing bonuses and free meals to their housekeeping staff. Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, although low on housekeeping staff according to a human resources representative, is not currently offering employment incentives, neither is Lakeside Inn & Casino. Harveys Resort & Casino is low on housekeepers, said Annie Sampson, hotel services manager, they’ve just raised their starting wage and offer small cash incentives for extra rooms cleaned.

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