Hilton luxury brands are exempt from this edict; Waldorf Astoria, Conrad and LXR will continue to provide daily housekeeping service. And Hilton’s international properties are apparently not affected either.
Why do people go to hotels? They want a clean, comfortable place to stay. And when they go out during the day, they like to go back to a clean room with a vacuumed carpet and a freshly made bed. Home rentals like Airbnb and VRBO usually don’t promise anything like this.
But in the face of a slow return in COVID-19 travel and a “shortage” of hospitality workers, the hotel is limiting what were once standard housekeeping services like cleaning every room every day. In addition to cleaning, other potential reductions are room service, included breakfasts, in-room amenities like coffee packages and clean towels (unless you ask and expect them) and less. humans are waiting for customers.
I experienced this when I stayed at the Sideways Inn in Santa Ynez, CA in June. The hotel was excellent value for money at just $ 99 plus tax, and close to local wineries and tasting rooms. But the shadow of COVID-19 has remained. Our breakfast was served cold (yogurt, banana, croissant) in a white bag left in front of our room. The lack of room cleaning service was also annoying as the bed remained unmade (unless we had) and the garbage was not picked up. Instead, I wandered the property looking for a trash can to throw out our pizza boxes.
Hotels defend against not cleaning, claiming that many guests do not want housekeepers to enter their “sealed room” for fear of COVID-19 infection. Ray Bennett, Global Director of Marriott, told CNBC that “more and more [Marriott’s] the guests actually requested that [housekeeping doesn’t] come to their room … “
Fear of crowds in hotels, as well as “how many people stayed in my room” also plays a role. Katherine Doggrell, author of Verification, about the hotel industry’s slow reaction to Airbnb, told me, “If you’re more paranoid, you might go to an Airbnb where there aren’t 400 people in the lobby.”
Still, a report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association indicates that guests said improving cleaning and hygiene practices was the second most important factor in their choice of hotels. (After the price, of course.)
Consumers who want a lower price, more control and are willing to clean up their own accommodation book travel online, but it would seem “”not a hotel. ” Meanwhile, business travel, a key hotel market, remains moribund and international tourism to the United States remains limited. American families take car vacations to small towns and national parks, travel to rural destinations, and book alternative accommodations.
With all of this, are hotels throwing away a key guest expectation – cleanliness – to save money? At a recent Meeting Planners International reunion, Michael Massari, sales manager for Caesars Entertainment, told the crowd that “one change that is likely to become permanent in hotels is that daily housekeeping will go away unless guests do. specifically ask “.
While overflowing ashtrays may be a thing of the past, unless you ask, housekeepers won’t show up to throw away your empty liquor bottles, pizza boxes, pick up your soiled towels, or clean your dirty toilets. . No need to put the “Do not disturb” sign on your door; no one will come and clean the room.
As View from the wing Put it on, “Hilton thinks Americans are slobs, don’t expect clean rooms during stay?” The author added, “I also don’t know how a hotel that does not provide daily housekeeping now counts as full service. This seems like a limited service, and more in the bucket of a product that rivals home sharing sites like Airbnb.
“Our customers have told us that they are more or less comfortable with someone entering their room after checking in,” Hilton said in a statement. “We encourage our guests to call the front desk to request room cleaning, and our team members are on their feet. Ready to help with extra towels or amenities.”
You could say that hotels were already trying to end daily housekeeping before the pandemic, even offering customers perks or offers to quit the service. But it’s ironic that big hotel chains are looking to shy away from daily housekeeping after promoting everything they’re doing to limit the spread of COVID. Marriott discussed how he used electrostatic sprayers to sanitize and disinfect rooms, lobbies, gymnasiums and other public spaces, testing UV light technology to disinfect items like room keys.
Meeting News reporter Rob Carey says the US hotel industry has lost 2.2 million jobs since 2019, according to the US Department of Labor, so “some hotel companies are making changes to reduce the number of workers that they will need in the future. “
As CEO of Hilton Chris Nassetta mentionned in a recent investor call: “The work we are doing right now in each of our brands is to make them higher-margin businesses and increase workforce efficiency, particularly in the areas from housekeeping, food and drink… When we come out of the crisis, these companies will have a higher margin and require less labor than before COVID. “
It’s not just the guests who will be affected. Despite corporate promises to promote “fairness,” the cuts threaten the job security of housekeepers. The Unite Here union say that 73% of hotel housekeepers in the United States are Hispanic or Latino, Black, Asian or Native American, and 40% of hotel cleaning jobs, or nearly 200,000 workers, are at risk of be permanently deleted.
In addition to job losses, cuts to the cleaning service will inevitably affect the tips of those who remain. Although the end of the daily cleaning is not their fault, it is difficult to justify a tip for any service.
“The union will fight back,” a spokesperson for the hotel union said Market surveillance. But he added that customers should do their part to get what they expect from the hospitality industry. “They should insist that their room be cleaned, that they have room service and that they want to feel safe.”
Customers will have to decide if they get what they pay for in a hotel, or if they will pay more and get less. If customers continue to view households with services as retaining a price / value advantage over hotels, reductions such as ending daily cleaning could accelerate the exodus.