Author Nicola Feuilherade   |  October 2, 2013

When it comes to the hospitality industry there is so much choice and variety in possible  job opportunities. We’ve been exploring some of these job descriptions to find out exactly whose job it is to do what in hospitality.

Have a look at the organisational structure of a hotel to see who works where in the system. Under the spotlight today: The Executive Housekeeper.

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What does an Executive Housekeeper do?

He or she is responsible for the management and operation of the housekeeping department. Because accommodating guests in perfectly cleaned rooms is a top priority for all profitable hotels, this is a position and duty of importance.

Executive Housekeeper responsibilities:

  • Oversee day-to-day cleaning responsibilities of housekeeping team
  • Maintain relationships with all employees in their department
  • Handle all personnel issues within their department
  • Dealing with hospitality suppliers: linen, cleaning materials and guest supplies, such as soap, aftershave, etc.
  • Administrative tasks like controlling budgets supply costs, laundry, maintenance and wages
  • Organising staff schedules
  • Reporting on overseeing stock-takes, budgets and other paperwork, such as maintenance reports and safety audits

Due to the nature of the job, the executive housekeeper’s commitment to cleanliness must be undeniable and above-average people skills are non-negotiable, given that they’ll be managing an entire back of house team.

Who does the Executive Housekeeper report to?

In a large hotel, the Executive Housekeeper will report to the Room Divisions Manager. In other cases, the Executive Housekeeper will report to the General Manager.

Who reports to the Executive Housekeeper?

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All cleaning and laundry staff, room attendants, porters, groundskeepers etc.


In most cases, an Executive Housekeeper is one who has worked his or her way up from the bottom – so it’s experience that counts. Get a good foundation for earning that experience by taking a course in hospitality.


  • Well organised and efficient at planning, directing, and controlling the activities of the department
  • Committed to cleanliness and perfection
  • Above-average people skills and the ability to train and motivate staff
  • Excellent written and oral communication
  • Problem-solving, multi-tasking with an attention to detail

Working conditions:

Though the type and setting of the hotel may vary, the environment is always generally the same. Due to the dual nature of the job, you’ll be expected to have an office, but to be walk around the facilities quite a lot.  You’ll need to regularly inspect the conditions of the hotel to see that your department is performing at their best.

The hours will be long, as long weekends and public holidays will be the hotel’s busiest time and there will always be guests needing clean rooms and room service. You’ll also need to interact with all hotel staff and take care of guest complaints – which can be stressful. But if you’re a people-pleaser and you love a challenge, you’ll find this job exceptionally rewarding.

Job opportunities:

An Executive Housekeeper can work in any hotel, holiday resort, sports resort, cruise liner, beach retreat, spa or recreational establishments, lodge and guest house, anywhere in the world.

Earning potential:

The earning potential for an Executive Housekeeper is in line with the nature of the job and will depend on the nature and size of the establishment. In South Africa, at a five-star hotel, an Executive Housekeeper can earn between R20-30 000.