Forward March

Forward March is a common method used in hotel and restaurant operating sectors. Hygiene, food safety… controlling it, especially in these times of health crisis, is essential for managers in the sector.

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This article was written with three hands: I was helped by two head housekeepers of profession, one from Martinique, the other from Paris.

Nadine DINTIMILLE, Head Housekeeper SQUASH HOTEL, Martinique

Victoria CHEVAILLIER, Floor Manager & Service Provider for Parisian Hotels

In a proposal for a post-Covid-19 health charter in the tourism sector, the Alliance Française Tourisme issued a 28-page Memorandum at the end of the containment.

The detailed Health Charter proposes transverse solutions to the different tourism sectors, converging towards a « common core », dense and abstract, applicable to all the actors.

The Charter’s driving force is to provide concrete responses to health issues for the various stakeholders:

– The clients.

– The employees.

– Suppliers, service providers and subcontractors.

Concerning employees in the tourism sector, the Charter distinguishes between :

– Employees in regular contact with customers (or « front office »).

– Employees without contact with customers (or « back-of-house »).

The Charter sets out specific proposals for certain sectors of activity, particularly in the hotel industry.

« These measures, which are specific exclusively to the commercial professional accommodation sector, are in addition to the measures applicable to the entire tourism industry.

Each group or establishment invents its own operational processes in its Anti-Covid approach, each one has its own personal vision of the March Forward revisited.

Most hotel groups and some independents are accompanied by an audit firm.

Labels have been created, Accor has developed a domestic and international label with Bureau Veritas, B & B Hotels and the independent hotels Paris Inn have formed a partnership with Socotec.

Nevertheless, the implementation of the Post-Covid Forward Walk, particularly among independent hotels, is adapted in a very empirical way from one establishment to another.

What are the concrete implementations and impacts on the Forward Walk in the Independent Hotel Industry?

The Forward Principle

The famous « Marche en Avant » is a principle of hygiene, deployed in a quality approach.

It applies to the hotel, restaurant and hospital sectors.

The rule: healthy products must not cross the path of soiled products.

In the catering sector, the premises are compartmentalized with method, ideally :

– Goods receiving and unpacking area.

– Washing area for vegetables.

– Hot and cold preparation area and according to specialities.

– Storage area for finished products.

– Alternative path for waste and insulated waste area.

– Alternative path for products to be stored and storage area for basic products.

Eliminating crossovers in the chain of soiled or unsuitable products is the objective of the Forward Walk.

Throughout the production process and at each operational stage, the product remains healthy.

In the hotel industry, the reasoning and procedures are the same for bedroom, bathroom or table linen.

Transporting dirty linen in a basket or bag identical to clean linen means re-contaminating the clean one with the deposits generated by the dirty one.

The Post-Covid Forward March

Before Covid, the Floor Staff had to wear a pair of gloves when cleaning the Bathrooms.

Wearing gloves made the staff safer by protecting them from the use of chemicals and toxic products.

In the Pre-Covid era, only bathroom safety gloves were mandatory.

Now, three pairs of gloves are mandatory:

– One pair of gloves to take the waste and dirty laundry out of the room.

– One pair of gloves to bring back clean linen and hospitality products.

– One pair of gloves to clean the bathroom and protect yourself from chemical agents (originally only safety gloves were mandatory).

As part of staff training, several pairs of gloves are required for maids.

Step 1

The Staff enters the room, masked, adorned with a charlotte.

Depending on the category of the hotel, generally from 3*, they can wear an additional protective gown.

The Staff opens the window(s) of the room, those of the bathroom or activates the ventilation system (vmc).

They collect the used bed linen and towels and stores them in an airtight bag.

The reception products are systematically thrown away, hence the need to put less than before Covid.

They throw the first pair of gloves in the trash can outside the room.

Step 2

The Staff takes a second pair of gloves.

They first run hot water over all the sanitary facilities and then apply the virucidal products in the bathroom.

They rub everywhere with a clean sponge (new each time for the high-end sector).

Sensitive corners in the bathrooms are to be cleaned carefully before and after Covid :

The shower trap, the top and bottom of the soap holder, the ventilation grid, in France: dust on bathroom radiators.

Vinegar is preferred on taps when there is too much limescale in the bathroom (also in the kettle to remove limescale).

Although much appreciated for its natural and effective character, vinegar is not virucidal, therefore not anti-Covid.

The classic codes of microfibers and sponges are of different colors:

– Microfibers and sponges in red color are intended for WC toilets 🟥

– Microfiber sponge set in green color are for sink and tub/shower 🟩

– Blue microfibers reserved for cleaning the room 🟦

The color system is a widespread and mnemonic means for Floor Staff.

The codes are reflected in the colors of the packaged cleaning products:

the red products are for the sanitary, the green products for the washbasins, the blue ones for the room … is for the sanitary, for the green washbasins.

The color code allows to avoid cleaning with the same supports the WC and the washbasin, for example.

One of the roles of the housekeeper is to enforce these codes.

While the product is acting in the bathroom, the Floor Staff take off their gloves and make the bed.

To do so, they change the protective pads on the mattress and cushions.

High-end post-Covid revolution: no longer at each Departure, i.e. redoing a White Room, but now at each Recouche.

The Palaces bring out the heavy artillery, such as the Hôtel de Crillon and its anti-Covid guns,

also provided with a 60-page Health Charter co-authored with the Apave audit firm.

 Au Crillon, les gouvernantes, femmes de chambres et responsables de la propreté, utilisent désormais un pistolet à UV et à spray désinfectant.

Sheets are changed systematically even when a room is made.

Same for the bathroom linen (bath and bath towels, floor mats, terry cloth squares) in 4* and 5*.

In 3* and below, the Customer has the choice of an « à la carte » cleaning to reduce maintenance costs.

In this case, two pairs of gloves are used to manage the overlay.

Finally, the Staff proceeds with the dusting of the room: headboard, bedside tables, interior and exterior lamps, baseboards, cupboards, doors…

clockwise so as not to omit anything, such as the underside of the bed.

Step 3

The Person throws the second pair of gloves into the outside garbage can and then uses the third pair.

They clean the bathroom to avoid damaging his/her hands and rinses everything with hot water.

They go on with the wiping of each bathroom, with the different supports.

The staff installs the towels and places the bathroom amenities in the position desired by the hotel.

They use their mop with a broom impregnated with the product and clean their bathroom floor.

The Upstairs service classically alternates two sweeping brushes.

While he uses a shaving broom on one room, they let the other broom soak and disinfect in the Office.

On their way out, they vacuum the room and leaves after checking his self-checking card.

They regularly (every 4 hours maximum) throw their masks into the dedicated garbage cans.

Depending on the category and positioning of the establishment, the room will be controlled by a housekeeper who is now masked and gloved.

She will be able to embellish it with a note from the management, additional welcome gifts and special attentions, as well as impeccable hygiene.

Where do we go from here?

In 4*, the average cleaning was 12 rooms before Covid, after Covid it will be reduced.

The cleaning time has increased: each room has to be redone automatically or on demand.

Processes have multiplied, especially with the use of triple gloves.

The total cleaning of the bathroom linen and sheets involves an additional cost.

What about the impact on Average Prices?

The Must’s

– The Essential Gestures for the Staff :

To make the bed, position of the knight serving for your Staff. One knee on the ground and one knee to raise so as to have a straight back.

When the Staff bends in all cases, he lowers both knees and keeps his back straight (i.e. training Gestures & Postures UMIH Martinique).

– Chemical Contamination :

In addition to the principle of forward motion that banishes the mixing of dirty and clean, avoid mixing clean and chemical by arranging the products together.

If the floor is carpeted, remember to place a towel underneath the bunk to prevent the toxic products from spilling onto the floor.

Also in the Staff bunks, do not mix the host products with the cleaning products.

Rentrée Vatel Martinique

First Vatel Martinique

This year, the starred Chef Louis-Philippe Vigilant grants us the privilege of sponsoring the Vatel Martinique 2020-2021 class.


September Back to School

Vatel Martinique has just opened its doors for the first time at the Hotel La Valmenière on September 21, 2020.

The class of 2020-2021 has the chance to have for Godfather the Martinican Chef Louis-Philippe Vigilant.

After working in the closed circle of Michelin multi-star restaurants, including the Relais Bernard Loiseau, Chef Louis-Philippe Vigilant took over the kitchens of Loiseau des Ducs in 2013.

In the eyes of Vatel Martinique, this Chef of Martinican origin embodies excellence: the courageous and successful quest of his management and his profession.

« Love what you do and do it with passion, give emotion and be courageous. »

Chef Louis-Philippe Vigilant wished to share his Mantra on each student booklet that he himself has autographed.

Sharing Managerial Experience

The Chef de Cuisine of Loiseau des Ducs also granted us the time for a « Discovering Companies  » course and a Facebook Live in the company of Madly SCHENIN-KING from the Agence Majorine, her managerial and contemporary vision of the Chef.

We retain from our interview with the Chef that :

– Versatility has become an imperative of Kitchen Management.

– Management is intended to be as much professional as personal. Taking an interest in its teams is a key to the cohesion of the kitchen.

– The contemporary Chef not only manages a team but also the brand image of his restaurant, thanks to a controlled presence on the web and social networks.

More about Chef Louis-Philippe Vigilant

His biography :

His awards :

His professional profile :

Thank you a thousand times over Chief on behalf of all Vatel Martinique.

Hotel Singularity

For two centuries, hotel singularity has been dominated and almost exclusively reserved for ultra-luxury. The revolution in service codes and the transparency of atypical offers on the Web are revolutionizing the benchmark for « exceptional hotels ». So how does one become a singular accommodation today?

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For a long time I wondered what, in the hotel business, and more generally in the areas of service, was exceptional. What kind of concept, brands and invariably brings guests in? What’s the recipe for top of the class and how do you duplicate it? A brief benchmark of practices in our sector can be a source of inspiration that can be adapted to our different categories of establishments.

On closer inspection, the operational exception has its roots in the luxury hotel industry, alongside the classic inn celebrated in the beautiful feature film Hôtel du Nord. Born in the 19th century, the exception is embodied in France by its very first palace, Le Meurice, 180 years ago. The services are innovative and exceptional: soap-washed linen, car rental, room service …

A little over half a century later, Caesar Ritz’s visionary establishment emerged, with a bathtub, private bathroom and telephone in each room, and an elevator on every floor.

After the Second World War, Paris, Nice, Monaco, Deauville, Biarritz became the strongholds of luxury and exceptional hotels. In Nice, the Negresco is the only French establishment to be equipped with a steam boiler, switches and a pneumatic post to deliver the mail in the rooms.

Luxury and exception were one and the same

The Palace qualification will be officially recognized as of 2010. It distinguishes itself from high-end establishments by combining two requirements: being 5 stars and enjoying the Palace distinction.

The exclusive and discretionary classification is reserved for 25 palace establishments in France. The label of exception is obtained in two phases: an expert jury examines the 5-star establishment, at least one year old, with a Spa and a multilingual team. Once this first airlock has been passed through, Atout France, the State operator, decides on the eligibility of the establishment on the basis of 200 criteria.

The award commission is made up of personalities from the worlds of literature, arts, culture, media and business, appointed for a renewable 3-year period by the Minister of Tourism.

The French distinction « Palace » is a response to the need for a palace, whether the standard withered its magic, or whether the multiplication of competition from the four fundamental palaces made this standard necessary… The French distinction « Palace » is intended to meet this need.

Considerable efforts are made in ultra luxury to continue to seduce a delicate and demanding clientele. Historic hotel luxury is no longer intrinsically the only expectation and consideration to embody the exceptional product and the exceptional experience.

The hotel exception is gradually no longer synonymous with luxury in its classic and historical perception. For more than two decades, singularity has flowed through the names « Boutique Hotels », « Design Hotels », « Concept Hotels », « Pocket Palace », « Experience Hotels », etc…

The standards and qualifications are not necessarily very clear, but the offer is prolific and is gradually structured around real customer expectations.

1. The real case by case

As part of the profound and sincere redefinition of luxury, La Réserve Paris, recognized as a Palace, makes a clear bet: fewer units (40 rooms and suites), more dedication to the client. The philosophy of the Michel Reybier group is to reduce the volume of units for a time dedicated and personalized to each client. The functions of gastronomy, florist, floors have one or even several Meilleurs Ouvriers de France. The exceptional treatment and customer experience has earned the establishment recognition two years in a row as the best hotel in the world and in Europe by the Conde Nast Traveler and the US News&World Report.

2. The framework

As a major trend in the hotel industry in the context of its medium and high-end renovations and restructuring, decoration is no longer a secret for the sector. In addition to the undisputed and prolific figures of designer Philippe Starck (Mama Shelter, the Royal Monceau, Brach, Hotel 9 Confidentiel…) and decorator Jacques Garcia (Maison Souquet, the Hotel, the Oscar in London…), other talents are imposing their style: Dorothée Meilichzon, Stella Cadente, Jean Philippe Nuel….

3. Innovation

Home automation

The objective of home automation is to ensure customer comfort without having to move around in the room and to manage the energy of the establishment. The Citizen M hotels with their touch-sensitive tablets are pioneers in this field. A single workstation controls the ambient temperature, lighting, the Web, TV and radio channels, service control, alarm clock, etc.


Check in – check out with your smartphone, seal your safe by fingerprint or facial recognition, it’s done. The field of possibilities is open to a precise knowledge of the customer’s profile (age, sex…), his weight, his health (heart rate, weight), his food consumption at the minibar.

High tech equipment

Glass is explored in all its potentialities: opaque glass to the touch for shower walls to guarantee privacy, magnifying mirror integrated in the bathroom mirror to save time).

Flat and connected screens are embedded in the mirrors. The Artemis intelligent mirror allows the magnifying glass function, the 360 vision to see each other from the back and from the side. It analyzes the skin texture and the adapted treatments, beauty tutorials, and … the check out.

The sanitary facilities are also sexy and atypical, in restaurants and hotels. The French brand Throne is revolutionizing the intimate experience of sanitary facilities.

4. The sustainable

The trend is towards ecology or « green effect ». In 2014, the Green Air Hotel concept born in China aims to upgrade aging hotels with purified air and a refreshing space. The concept will be generalized in the United States by 2020.

5. The staff

An exceptional hotel is a hotel that radiates its staff and its well-being. It is no longer a question of dissociating customer satisfaction from internal satisfaction : the expectations of the new generation of hoteliers differ from the previous ones : fulfilment, social usefulness, team motivation.

The staff, too, is becoming robotic. At the Campanile in Shanghai, it is a robot that ensures the check-in and customer follow-up.

The exceptional has gone from luxury to the quest for simplicity, simplicity and authenticity in human relationships, in daily and practical uses, in the flexibility of the offer, in the wonder, in the rooms or the promotion of the most instagrammable living places, in the respectful (even egalitarian? ) contact with the staff.

New offers related to this mutation are emerging such as the Glamping contraction of glamour and camping. Urban hotels are being transformed into family homes. Eco-lodges are sustainable examples around the world.

We no longer speak of a compartmentalized « reception » but of a welcome, of a « lobby » but of a place to live, of a « personal » but of an « ambassador ».

Day after day, the hotel industry proves its ability to reinvent itself, to adapt to the new model of society, and to surprise us with its exceptions.

 In a forthcoming article, we will discuss simple and quick techniques for establishing a business forecast.