The Wi-Fi Maids

The system allows for lots of efficiencies. With the PDA, for example, a maid can instantly send a note to the maintenance department to repair the leaky faucet on the fifth floor, rather than waiting until her rounds are done at the end of the day.

If a demanding guest in room 704 wants his mini-bar restocked (and who doesn’t?), the maid working on the seventh floor can get a message on her PDA in a matter of minutes — rather than checking in with the front desk hours later to see what else needs to be done back up on seven.

A few hotels throughout North America have already installed JiHi and are enjoying its benefits.

“JiHi gets rid of all the paperwork for housekeeping and maintenance” says Joey Thiffault, general manager of the Best Western Centerville in Quebec City. “At first I didn’t believe it at all — giving computers to maids. But now all the maids have a PocketPC bolted to their cart. We know where each maid is, how long they’ve been cleaning a room, and when they are done.”

Better still, at hotels where some maids struggle with English — such as the Pacific Terrace in San Diego — JiHi again uses technology to help a long-standing hotel-industry challenge: the housekeeping manager at the hotel front desk can make assignments, set schedules and monitor maid progress in English from her PC while requests and daily instructions appear in Spanish on the maid’s PDAs.

In the midst of the current Wi-Fi market crisis, such common-sense solutions go a long way with hotel owners. At the Best Western, the front desk now knows throughout the day what rooms have been cleaned and can better accommodate requests to check in early or leave late.

“Maintenance is more effective, house keeping is more effective,” says Thiffault. He won’t reveal what he invested in his Wi-Fi network or the JiHi system but does say “I could have a pay-back in less than two years.”