Are All Hotels Becoming Like Timeshares Now?

Hilton’s CEO, who didn’t tip housekeeping before the pandemic, doesn’t want to bring housekeeping back to hotels as a cost-cutting measure. Marriott’s CEO wants the same thing and thinks guests should be sympathetic enough to the various REITs that own hotel properties that they’ll be willing to pay more and get less.

What’s the difference, then, between a hotel room and an Airbnb if the hotel doesn’t come with service? Or maybe hotels become more like timeshare properties?

Tiemshares generally don’t offer daily housekeeping to fractional owners, although many have historically offered the service to transient rental guests. They may offer housekeeping at a charge to owners.

Nevada requires offering daily housekeeping, and Hilton timeshares charge rental guests for it who want it – about $40 a day.

Is this the future of Hilton hotels, where all hotels offer housekeeping on demand? Hilton’s CEO suggests full service properties will still offer housekeeping, you have to ask, and they have to have the housekeepers available when you do. But perhaps the natural evolution here is that you request it and have to pay extra for it because that way guests will make a conscious choice about their decision, and isn’t forgoing housekeeping the ‘green choice’ (cough) anyway? That’s just an environmental ethic where we all bear the cost of our carbon footprint.

One hotel CEO wants guests to tip more so he doesn’t have to increase wages. But if a daily housekeeping fee were in effect – $40 a day! – that’d be better than tipping, even.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Timeshares don’t provide this service on owner-occupied or traded weeks, which makes sense because the cost would directly lead to increased maintenance charges to the owners, so it’s better to make it available for those who want to pay for it.

    The reputable ones DO all include housekeeping when you simply book unused rooms for a cash rate, as if they were any other hotel – because that’s the expectation when you book a hotel room.

  2. I just hope they are explicitly clear on what services they are providing/at what cost as it will then be as simple as me not booking it.

  3. All I really want is fresh towels, toiletries, and a refreshed coffee station each day. I hate this new normal where I have to ask for it like I’m soooo high maintenance.

  4. The charge for housekeeping is somewhat like the charge for electricity or use of the shower that we’ve read about. These items, combined with the gutting of hotel loyalty program benefits, are indicative of a downward spiral in the industry.

    I spoke with a representative of one loyalty program who said that property owners will sell a suite upgrade that is available at check-in but will not grant it as a tier benefit (even when the guest is of the appropriate tier). I’ve had my own experiences . . . but had anyone else? Well, I came across someone who was top-tier in a particular program and had the same experience. “We have a suite available. Would you like to upgrade? Yes. That will be $X. But, I have X tier status and that should be a complimentary upgrade. I’m sorry, we can’t offer you a complimentary upgrade . . . only a paid upgrade.” It’s a dirty game. Importantly, the loyalty programs KNOW it’s occurring and they side with the property owners.

    The housekeeping thing is just one brick in a very large wall.

  5. Dale, it is indeed.

    Regarding room upgrades, program terms and conditions usually have a catch-all provision that grants each property full discretion over granting an upgrade at all. As such, and in light of practice, it is a hollow benefit.

    As for breakfast, on-property restaurants reopen post-COVID for lunch and dinner only. None of our restaurants are open for breakfast. So, they give points worth $6 to $12. This manoeuvre saves a property as much as $2 million per year. Another hollow benefit.

    What’s left?

    I’ve left the hotel tier status game. It is solely a points game now with the usual suspects.

    If I’m paying, it will be at a Four Seasons, Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, etc. Always top-notch service.

  6. If hotels want to be like timeshares they will need to offer me a 2BR suite with a full kitchen for the price I pay for a hotel room. Otherwise I will just go with the timeshare property.

  7. Just like baggage fees, seat fees resort fees etc. just another way to unbundle the product and thereby both drive through stealth price increases and/or fool customers trying to price compare and/or reduce booking commissions and/or reduce taxable lodging revenue. On top of which, they want to charge and$40 and pay the housekeepers $5-10 a room.

  8. Totally agree with you Steve. If you are booked for a 5 day stay at hotels, why can’t the hotel simply provide you with 5 days worth of coffee, towels and toiletries before you arrive?

  9. I don’t know what timeshare you stay at but mine in Los Cabos, Mexico has housekeeping every day.

  10. Steve:”All I really want is fresh towels, toiletries, and a refreshed coffee station each day. I hate this new normal where I have to ask for it like I’m soooo high maintenance.”

    Well what about emptying the trash? We all bring in to-go-food from time to time, do you really want the food containers hanging around the desk (because they do not fit in the teeny tiny trash cans) until you check out? OR do you want housekeeping to empty your trash every day?

    We saw the other topic Gary posted with a picture of the hotel hallways lined in trash, are you okay with that?

  11. And all those CEO us being RUDE. How can you say such a nasty thing about those housekeeping? You could either force people not travel or used hotel anymore. I don’t like it at all. CEO need to stop hurting people who trying to make end meet rather than sit home doing nothing. It’s just pain to me to see they will not have a job to support themselves. I will make sure someone can say it loud in their face

  12. The biggest problem is that they are not doing deep cleaning after a guest has checked out after being in the room for several days. The normal housekeeping procedures will not clean a room properly that has been lived in for a week. If they miss a spot here or there daily house keeping will catch it. Hotel rooms are now more dirty than they have ever been.

  13. We gave just been doing chargebacks for uncleanness rooms, coffee not provided, no toilet paper after the third day. Have literally done over 12 chargebacks over the past year and everyone has resulted in a full refund. Until enough people cost the hotel more money than they are saving, they will continue to offer crappy service and make cuts. The people thatvare giving them money and accepting the crap service are the actual problems and are preventing things from being corrected.

  14. Does anyone want to take a bet on how much of the $39.08 (for 1-bedroom) cleaning actually goes to the housekeeper?

    I realize that hiring folks to clean hotel rooms costs money. It would be interesting if hotels truly reduced the per night price of rooms by breaking out hotel services and amenities. The problem is, I don’t trust these companies to give us honest choices. Just like I don’t trust them to properly pay their employees – or give the housekeeper all (or even most) of the housekeeping fee.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting for hotels to actually publish all of their costs and profits? That level of transparency would be fascinating. In some cases (good and bad), I’m sure it would be pretty eye-opening.

  15. Kelly Loeffler: what do you mean by you’ve been doing “chargebacks”? I would be happy to do something about inferior service but I don’t know what. Can you please explain how you’re getting full refunds?

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