Both Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Associated Press (AP) have run stories in the past week about the lack of housekeeping services at many hotels and how it affects both guests (some don’t want daily service) and employees (harder work & fewer hours).
It was understandable that hotels cut down on housekeeping during the pandemic when touchpoints with the guests were minimized. However, hotels still try to force guests to accept no housekeeping during their stays or offer it entirely based on request.
Excerpt from WSJ:
Many hotels now often clean rooms by request rather than every day of a guest’s visit. They also put more focus on cleaning rooms more thoroughly between guest stays.
That has meant relief for guests who don’t like staff coming into their rooms, and frustration for those who feel shortchanged. It has created tensions between hotels that have pulled back on daily cleaning and housekeepers who say the changes have made their jobs more difficult and in some cases reduced their hours.
Daily cleanings come down to guest preference, hotel operators say. The American Hotel and Lodging Association says a recent Morning Consult survey it commissioned found many guests don’t want that service each day.
Excerpt from AP:
Industry insiders say the move away from daily cleaning, which gained traction during the pandemic, is driven by customer preferences. But others say it has more to do with profit and has allowed hotels to cut the number of housekeepers at a time when many of the mostly immigrant women who take those jobs are still reeling from lost work during coronavirus shutdowns.
Many housekeepers still employed say their hours have been cut and they are being asked to do far more work in that time.
“It’s a big change for us,” said Espejo, a 60-year-old originally from the Philippines who has cleaned rooms at the world’s largest Hilton for 18 years, minus about a year she was laid off during the pandemic. “We are so busy at work now. We cannot finish cleaning our rooms.”
Before the pandemic there were 670 housekeepers working at Espejo’s resort. More than two years later, 150 of them haven’t been hired back or are on-call status, spending each day from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. waiting for a phone call saying there’s work for them. The number not hired back or on call stood at 300 just a few weeks ago.
A spokesperson for the Hilton Hawaiian Village said no Hilton representative was available for an interview about such policies at any Hilton property.
Some hotel executives were commenting during the pandemic that it was the best what could have happened to the hospitality industry in the long term, as they could push through all the service reductions that guests had been resisting:
1. Daily Housekeeping
What happened with daily housekeeping? Many hotels now only offer it by request only OR don’t offer it at all.
2. Turndown Service
Remember the nightly turndown service that full-service hotels used to provide?
3. Front Desk
Why do you think hotels try to push mobile keys, which may not even work most of the time?
4. In-room Dining
Many hotels have decided that in-room dining is not worth the hassle.
Even at the international hotels, the minibars have mostly gone empty!
6. Complimentary Breakfast
Hotels have cut back on complimentary elite member breakfast (looking at you, Hilton) in the US, first saying that it was only for the duration of the pandemic in 2021 but was then extended to 2022 (and likely for the foreseeable future).
7. Club Lounges
Many club lounges have been completely closed, hours reduces, or services cut.
The penny pinching will continue with ever-rising daily rates unless guests revolt and change their behavior.
I simply refuse to stay at a full-service hotel (select service is an entirely different matter) that doesn’t provide services. Period.
You should also leave appropriate scores on after-stay surveys and write feedback on Google and TripAdvisor to warn potential guests when warranted.