One of the most basic hotel amenities is disappearing
Whether out of necessity due to staff shortages, out of respect for social distancing, or perhaps just to save money, one of the most important amenities that separates a hotel from your home – daily housekeeping – is disappearing.
The days of going back to a wrinkle-free comforter are probably over. Forget fresh towels and accept that your rubbish may never be removed during your stay.
The trend of no longer doing daily room cleaning – although largely initiated by COVID-19 – has become the norm in many hotels. In the early days of the pandemic, when transmission was more of a mystery, many hotels cut housekeeping services to reduce contact between strangers. But more than two years later, housekeeping has still not returned.
Marriott’s policies vary by hotel, but housekeeping is typically only offered upon request, with all rooms automatically cleaned every sixth night. Hilton’s default is that most hotels no longer have daily housekeeping unless requested. Walt Disney World reduced service to light housekeeping every other day. This includes towel replacement and rubbish removal, but doesn’t necessarily include services you might expect such as: B. making your bed.
Other hotels have schedules, such as Hotel Solares in Santa Cruz, California: stays of three nights or less are not serviced, while stays of six nights or less are cleaned once. The hotel recommends leaving the rubbish outside the door.
These service reductions are not always welcome.
“Guests don’t want to have to ask every time their trash needs to be emptied or dirty towels replaced,” said D. Taylor, international president of Unite Here — a union of hospitality workers in the United States and Canada — in a prepared statement. “What stops a hotel with no cleaning from being just a more expensive Airbnb?”
WHY CUTTING HOTELHOUSEKEEPING?
In many cases, the cuts are about money rather than safety. For some hotels there is not enough money to cover the costs. For others, it’s an opportunity to get more out of it.
LABOR AND MATERIAL COSTS ARE AT MASSIVE LEVELS
The nationwide labor and material shortages have hit hotels particularly hard. For example, the leisure and hospitality industry lost 8.2 million jobs in March and April 2020, a 49% drop in employment, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there was certainly hope for re-employment (travel jobs are among the fastest growing sectors of late), the industry is still about 1.5 million job short from pre-pandemic levels.
Meanwhile, supply chain and inflation issues persist. According to a November 2021 American Hotel & Lodging Association survey of approximately 500 hoteliers, hotels reported a 79% increase in costs for cleaning and housekeeping needs.
A CHANCE FOR HIGHER PROFIT
Other hotel operators have expressly stated that it is about the money.
“The work we’re doing right now at each of our brands … is to make them higher-margin companies and create more work efficiencies,” Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta said during an investor conference in February 2021. “Once we get out of the Coming out of the crisis, these companies will have higher margins and need fewer workers than they did before COVID.”
HOW TO BECOME HOUSEHOLD DURING YOUR HOLIDAY
RESEARCH BEFORE BOOKING: Hotels usually post cleaning procedures online. On individual hotel websites, look for pages that say “Amenities” or “COVID-19 Safety.” If the cleaning calendar isn’t up to par, consider booking elsewhere.
BOOK HIGH-END HOTELS: Most high-end hotels are significantly absent from this trend. Some Hilton brands, including Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts, and Conrad Hotels & Resorts, continue to offer daily housekeeping. Most Four Seasons offer housekeeping twice a day.
But that’s not always true. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa — often cited as Walt Disney World’s most opulent resort — like all Disney resorts, offers housekeeping only every other day. Nightly rates range from $757 to $4,428, according to theme park data site TouringPlans.com.
INQUIRY SERVICE: Of course, booking high-end hotels can be an unrealistically expensive solution. But here’s another trick that can work even at budget hotels: ask nicely.
Be polite and the staff might feel sorry for your mess. After all, you don’t want that stinky smell of day-old seafood wafting out of your room either. And the beach sand you’ve tracked down could easily spread if it’s not vacuumed up right away anyway.
For hotels where housekeeping is available on request, you can generally ask for it at check-in. Other hotels require you to request it every day.
Some economists have given a new word to this phenomenon, in which companies, instead of raising prices, cut back previously provided services: skimpflation. Skimpflation could mean fewer staff, so longer lines or phone wait times. It could mean the end of free headphones on planes or bread service in restaurants.
And for many travelers, skimpflation, in the form of not having to keep house on a daily basis, has become a particularly uncomfortable and – quite literally – chaotic trend.