Cinderella in Babylon: the discourse of housekeeping in Hotel Babylon

Harris, C
Schitko, D
Tregidga, H
Williamson, D
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Conference Contribution
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Council for Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE)

This paper looks at the representations of housekeeping and housekeepers in the popular television series Hotel Babylon. The paper discusses some possible effects of the impression constructed of this area of hotel employment and suggests that the image of a hospitality career in housekeeping is undermined and undervalued by this construction. The paper takes a reflective approach and looks at how language and image in the ‘Hotel Babylon’ series are constructed regarding the housekeeping department and workers. The paper posits that image of housekeeping work and those employees is one of mainly migrant workers, sexualized victims and denigrated employees. The paper goes to suggest that housekeeping is in fact often the largest and most important department in hotels as the majority of their income is derived from the sale of rooms. The paper argues that it is ironic that the employees responsible for the largest revenue generating area of the hotel are so strongly denigrated, when in fact they should be recognised as key employees. In terms of hotel and hospitality generally, this study suggests more fundamental concerns about sustaining service quality and employment relationships in a tight labour market.

Housekeeping , Hotel Babylon , Ethnicity , Sexualisation , Denigration
See Change: Tourism and Hospitality in a Dynamic World - Proceedings of the 18th Annual Council for Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE) Conference, Australia
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