SKOKIE, ILL.—UMF Corp. announced that Lenir Aguilar, guest room attendant at the Hilton Daytona Beach, has earned the company’s second annual Guest Room Attendant (GRA) Excellence Award. UMF established the GRA Excellence Award in 2020 to acknowledge the crucial role GRAs play in ensuring hotel guest safety, satisfaction, and loyalty in the COVID-19 era.
“Hilton Daytona Beach’s housekeeping staff are a key part of our commitment to deliver the reliable and friendly service our guests expect with the added confidence of industry-leading hygiene practices created to keep guests and staff safe,” said Omayra Muniz, Hilton Daytona Beach’s Director of Housekeeping. “Lenir is a consummate team player and model GRA who is always willing to help her colleagues, even chipping in on laundry. Her rooms are perfection: spotless and neatly organized. During periods of short staffing, she took on extra shifts, maintaining the same high levels of cleanliness even when she was responsible for 25 rooms. With the highest productivity in the department, in a specific month during the pandemic, Lenir worked many hours of overtime with the spirit of hospitality and a smile on her face. She is very early in her hospitality tenure and is tremendously committed and responsible; she deserves everything good that happens to her in life!”
In accordance with CDC guidelines, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) launched its Safe Stay program in response to COVID-19. The AHLA’s cleaning and disinfecting protocols require that housekeeping pay particular attention to “high-touch, hard non-porous items including television remote controls, toilet seats and handles, door and furniture handles, water faucet handles, nightstands, telephones, in-room control panels, light switches, temperature control panels, alarm clocks and luggage racks.” Additional protocols include:
- Frequent cleaning and disinfection in all public spaces, with an emphasis on frequent contact surfaces and objects.
• EPA approved cleaning and disinfection protocols are in place to clean guest rooms, with particular attention paid to high-touch items.
• Rooms are “sealed” or mechanisms/notices are in place for clean rooms not to be entered between guests.
• Frequent cleaning and disinfection in all high traffic back of house areas, with an emphasis on employee dining rooms, locker rooms, restrooms and kitchens.
‘Consistently Carrying Out Best Practices’
“While room cleanliness has always been at the top of the list when it comes to hotel guest satisfaction, guests and staff are more discriminating than ever when it comes to infection prevention,” said UMF CEO George Clarke. “Housekeeping staff such as Ms. Aguilar are essential to carrying out industry-recommended cleaning and disinfection protocols, placing them front and center in the fight against COVID-19 and multiple other bacteria and viruses that can wreak havoc throughout properties. Ms. Aguilar’s commitment to consistently carrying out best practices and helping her fellow GRAs, even when she was regularly picking up extra shifts and rooms, is the epitome of GRA excellence.”
Notably, four additional GRAs were selected as finalists for this year’s award. They are:
• Sanela Muharemovic, Hyatt Regency, Atlanta, Ga.
• Maryann Rich, Hampton Inn & Suites DeLand, Fla.
• Gricelda Buenrostro, Swissotel, Chicago
• Glenys Mora, Miami Beach Edition, Fla.
Added Clarke, “GRAs are so often hidden in the shadows, and it is time to shine a spotlight on them. We look forward to continuing this important acknowledgement in the years to come.”
As this year’s award recipient, Ms. Aguilar will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two, including airfare, to a location of her choice within the 48 contiguous states.