Not every hotel housekeeper will climb the ranks to eventually hold management positions, but Douglas Hustad, managing director of the Turnberry Isle Miami, is a living example that an upward career trajectory is possible. Hustad, who has more than 25 years of hospitality experience, got his start in housekeeping during a summer internship and continued to grow his career throughout the years.
In celebration of National Housekeeping Week, which lasts until Sept. 15, Hustad is hosting special events for his staff and making sure to convey just how important housekeepers are to the overall success of the industry.
“Housekeeping is really the backbone of the operations in a hotel,” he says. “Guests come to hotels for cleanliness and a property that is well maintained. It’s a great place to get your foot in the door.”
Hustad began his career with Stouffer Hotels and covered all aspects of housekeeping by participating in a Manager in Training program. Shortly after he transitioned into the position of assistant director of housekeeping, and then went on to work as the director of housekeeping at a property in Chicago. Hustad’s experience in housekeeping eventually led to his promotion to rooms executive positions with Ritz Carlton properties and The Peabody Hotel in Memphis. General manager positions followed, including a stint as the vice president and general manager of The Biltmore in North Carolina, and his current position at Turnberry Isle Miami.
“I’m one of those people that started from the bottom and worked my way up with a lot of hard work, education, and perseverance,” Hustad says.
Because of his career origins in housekeeping, Hustad understands the importance of communicating with his staff about how essential they are to the success of the resort. As part of his daily routine, Hustad often assists with housekeeping rounds by making beds or ensuring that the staff members have all the tools they need to get their jobs done. He explains that conveying his appreciation for the housekeeping professionals in the hotel helps bolster their spirits and makes the whole cleaning and upkeep process more productive.
“I think it’s really about respect,” Hustad says. “Housekeeping is a very difficult job—it’s a very physical job. The staff needs to know that they are respected for what they do, not just from their colleagues, but from their leaders as well.”
The Turnberry Isle Miami has been hosting events throughout National Housekeeping Week to recognize the efforts of its team members. The seven-day celebration will culminate with an Olympic-inspired competition where staff members will compete in bed-making contests and other activities for the chance to win prizes and bragging rights. Hustad has participated in similar National Housekeeping Week events at every property he’s worked with during his career.
“The staff gets really excited about these events,” he says. “You can see the smiles on their faces. They just love the fact that they are being appreciated and recognized for all their hard work and efforts.”