In the dynamic world of hospitality, certain individuals shine not just for their professional accomplishments but also for their unwavering dedication and deep personal connections to their work. Liz Lycette, a veteran in the realm of housekeeping, embodies this unique blend of expertise and heartfelt commitment.
With a career spanning more than four decades, her journey is a testament to passion, dedication, and a profound vision that extends beyond the beautiful hotel guestrooms and corridors she takes so much pride in.
Liz’s remarkable career has taken her across 30 countries, a tapestry of experiences that no job description could record.
Her roles have encompassed senior positions in some of the world’s most prestigious hotels, as well as involvement in major global events, including five Olympic Games. With over 40 years in the industry, she brings not just knowledge but also a deep sense of pride and purpose to her work.
Born in New Zealand, Liz grew up in Hong Kong, can speak some Cantonese, and is passionate about travel. She is a graduate of École Hotelière de Lausanne, Switzerland, regarded as the best hospitality school in the world. It prepares students whose goals are to obtain managerial careers in the hotel and hospitality industry. Beginning her career in 1981, at the age of 23 she became the Executive Housekeeper for the grand opening of Mandarin Oriental in Macau.
The highlight reel of Liz’s career continues and includes serving as Executive Housekeeper of iconic hotels like the Mandarin Oriental in Macau, The Conrad Hong Kong, Mandarin Oriental Jakarta, Le Meridien Hotel in London, and The Regent Hotel in Sydney. Her role as Project Manager for the opening of three properties in China for Harbour Plaza Hotels and Resorts further illustrates her leadership prowess. More recently, Liz spent over seven years at JW Marriott Macau and the Ritz-Carlton, Macau.
Incredibly she has been an integral part of the hotel openings of over 1250 rooms with 340 staff and shared services in an integrated casino resort environment.
Now at the helm of Lycette and Associates (L&A) Housekeeping Management Consultants, Liz’s impact transcends mere consultancy. Her team has conducted over 300 audits and operational reviews worldwide, providing hotels with insights that help increase profit margins and efficiency.
I sat down for a chat with Liz just after she returned from a trip to various five-star hotels and resorts throughout Europe and Dubai delivering the housekeeping workshops she developed.
She said: “It’s a practical workshop that includes all aspects of modern housekeeping management. It delivers skills which will improve business outcomes, improve the performance of the team and better customer experiences.”
Liz is deeply committed to nurturing talent within the industry. She hopes that by equipping housekeeping managers with essential skills, she not only raises standards but also fosters a sense of belonging and pride among professionals.
I asked what makes a good housekeeper?
Without hesitation, Liz said: “It starts with a passion for everything housekeeping. It really shows when someone has an eye for detail and compassion and cares for the housekeeping team. An understanding of luxury and what guests really want is also crucial.
“I like to see self-confidence and guts to lead a diverse team through thick and thin.”
With a heart that extends beyond the confines of the hotel world, her recent return to Brisbane, her hometown, was motivated by a deeply personal reason. She needed to be there for her ailing mother.
She said: “Family has always been my priority, and when the global pandemic, kept me locked down in China for nearly four years, it highlighted the importance of being with loved ones.”
Liz made the courageous decision to give up her job, and the country she loved and head home to be a carer for her mother, alongside her sister. Yet, she continues to provide management consultation and training for hotel housekeeping operations through her business.
When I asked what continues to fuel her passion after all these years, Liz’s eyes lit up. “I believe the Australian hospitality industry has room for improvement in sustainability,” she said.
Then I understood that her personal convictions are deeply intertwined with her professional pursuits.
Liz shared a recent experience from a stopover in Abu Dhabi, recounting her tour with Ram Chena, Executive Housekeeper at the Park Hyatt property. Ram’s tireless efforts to introduce sustainable practices, from waterproof paper packaging for bathroom amenities to replacing plastics with glass and recyclable materials, left a lasting impression.
For Liz, sustainability isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a personal crusade rooted in genuine care for the environment and the future.
Beyond sustainability, Liz’s eyes are fixed on the future of housekeeping, where technology and personal connections intersect. Her experience with robotics, which has been successfully integrated into hotel operations in China and Texas, is a testament to her forward-thinking approach.
“These technological innovations not only enhance efficiency but also free up valuable time for staff to provide the personal touch that guests appreciate,” she explained.
When Liz is a guest what impresses her the most?
“Perfect cleanliness,” she said. “Everything neatly placed and simple technology that’s easy to use in the guestroom.
“I don’t like waiting for a room, only to find it dirty and badly maintained. I also appreciate a cheerful and willing housekeeping team, who greet me whenever I meet them.”
Finally, I asked, what’s her top housekeeping tip?
“Everything spotless, and functioning. That only happens when the housekeeping team is well trained, efficiently supervised, and super motivated to focus on guest needs.
“The rest will fall into place.”
Mandy has over 17 years of accommodation and tourism industry writing experience and is Editor of AccomNews & Resort News, Publisher of SchoolNews & Director of Multimedia Pty Ltd. She is a retired registered nurse with a 25-year NHS career that followed a few unforgettable years in hotel housekeeping.