Are Hotels Going To Start Charging For Daily Housekeeping?

Hilton permanently eliminated daily housekeeping at U.S. non-luxury (Waldorf, Conrad, LXR) brands. It’s supposed to remain available ‘on request’. But will it remain… free (included in the room rate)? Charging for housekeeping is the next logical step, and one hotel consultants are talking about.

Hotel owners want lower costs, which they can get by paying for fewer housekeeping. That’s why Marriott’s CEO sees the elimination of housekeeping services during stays as permanent.

One major hotel owner has started adding a housekeeping fee to guest folios. Could this idea spread? According to hotel consultant Rachel Roginsky,

The bigger question that still remains unanswered is whether or not guests will eventually have to pay for housekeeping services.

This would run counter to hotels’ own best interests.

  • Without housekeepers, one Marriott found itself unable to clean rooms for guests checking in. So one guest found himself sleeping in an uncleaned room – there is a huge disconnect between cutting back on housekeeping and a commitment to clean.

    I got a room with a stripped bed and no towels save two washcloths. I pulled the hypoallergenic pillows from the closet and crashed on the couch for 2.5 hours before heading back to the airport.

  • By eliminating services, hotels are giving up their differentiation with Airbnb. If hotels don’t provide a unique experience then guests might as well look elsewhere. In other words hotels may lose more revenue than they save in costs.

  • Eliminating housekeeping spills over into cleanliness of the whole property, and degrades common spaces and guest experience even beyond the room.

    Here is the TownePlace Suites Outer Banks Kill Devil Hills:.

    And here is the Hilton Brentwood/Nashville Suites.

It doesn’t make sense to charge guests for housekeeping, because cleaning a guest room is a public good for the hotel benefiting other guests as much as the guest receiving the service.

One major Hilton and Marriott owner wants to make lodging more like an ultra low cost airline. That’s the direction some chains are headed at the behest of short-sighted REIT investors. But it’s going to drive customers away. Charging for housekeeping services will mean less revenue for the hotel.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. More business for Air B’n’B and VRBO. It’s short sighted and stupid but when has that ever stopped hotel owners not doing something in their interest or that of customers. The whole breakdown of chain standards in the wake of the Pandemic will haunt owners for years to come.

  2. These owners are pennywise and dollar foolish as the saying goes. Sure, they will save on cleaning costs in the short term, but if the hallways look anything like in the pictures above or at Caesar’s palace Las Vegas when I was there over the 4th of July, these hotels will be spending a heck of a lot more on extermination fees to keep roaches out of the hotels, along with rodents. Plus, a room that hasn’t been cleaned in several days takes much longer to clean than a room that is cleaned regularly. So if they don’t allocate more time for housekeepers to clean rooms between stays black mold will build up in the bathroom and the rooms will not be properly cleaned. This will lead to increased wear and tear on the carpets, shower curtains/doors, sinks, etc which will result in more frequent replacing. Likely the cost savings they are justifying today for management bonuses will come back to bite new management in the rear end in 5-10 years when hotel rooms need full remodels. Then you will see housekeeping come back again. Plus, people will choose to stay only at newer/newly built hotels instead because the reviews will be terrible for older hotels due to the lack of regular cleaning.

  3. Whose idea was it? What’s .make CEO think it going to work? Are they trying to get rid of housekeeping to put more in their pocket? This is going to make people stop traveling as well!

  4. I won’t stay at a hotel without daily housekeeping included as part of the room rate. Raise the damned rate $10 if you must, or even $20 or $30 and pay your staff $15/hour. Fine. I have no problem with that.

    I won’t give a hotel or motel that tries to unbundle this my custom, because I have no idea how clean the rooms in the place actually are — and there are plenty of cheap people with disgusting habits that do nasty things in hotel rooms that an “in-between guest” refresh might well miss.

  5. Well, if they stop the daily housekeeping, I expect there will be a (say 20%) reduction in the daily room rate!

  6. Hotel cleanliness has already taken a dump (pun intended). I travel some 200+ days a year. Hotels have become a crapshoot. I am trying to convince my company my RV is a better choice. Unfortunately getting back and forth between the East Coast and West Coast in a couple of days isn’t feasible. So the gambling goes on.

  7. On great, I have 5 years of Hilton Diamond Status, 5 more until I get lifetime Diamond status. My welcome gift choices at that point will be 50 points bonus, $5 food credit per stay or one day of housekeeping per stay. IHG shouldn’t even been considered when looking for hotels or resorts, Marriott and Hilton are fight their way to the bottom of the barrel, and Hyatt is taking a wait and see approach, but we all know the outcome. It is just a matter of time before AirBnB and VRBO start raising their prices to capitalize, both the property owners and the corporation. Just wait until these hotels start offering hostel style accommodations for the prices we are already paying for today.

  8. I suggest that properties that had what some called the “green alternative” – a euphamism for no no daily service scoring some additional points struck the right balance.

    Such gave the guest who was traveling on other people’s money the opportunity to forego an “entitlement”, saving the property labor costs, without feeling they were denied a service.

  9. This is nuts. I don’t let housekeeping in when I’m at a hotel, but I’m sure most travellers would make another choice if faced with paying for housekeeping. I’m wondering if middle managers from the airlines have joined the big hotels? A serious disconnect here.

  10. @ Gary — Hotels already charge for housekeeping. It is called the room rate. Any hotel that charges extra for housekeeping won’t receive our business.

  11. I don’t miss daily housekeeping. Nor would I pay for it. Just completed 12 nights in four different hotels: no housekeeping is an improvement.

    One of these stays – a four night stay – included housekeeping on the 2nd day.

    Came back to the hotel after housekeeping had done their thing:
    * the light generating alarm clock I’d purposefully unplugged had been plugged back in
    * the stupid piece of furniture at the end of the bed I’d moved out of the way had been placed back in the way
    * the thermostat had been reset from the comfortable 72F I’d set at it to a freezing 66F
    * all my toiletries I’d laid out had been rearranged.
    * the half used mini-bottle of shampoo that would have lasted the rest of my stay had been needlessly and wastefully replaced.

    None of this annoyance was worth the refreshed towels I could have picked up at desk or the trash removal which simply could have been placed outside the door.

    The other 3 & 4 night stays I had in the trip without housekeeping were a better experience.

  12. Do you get daily housekeeping at home?

    I pretty much never ask for housekeeping, save for emptying a rubbish bin, or getting new toiletries.
    I’m not vain, nor is my hotel room. Also, washing that stuff wastes a whole lot of everything.

  13. Hotel tier status is of little real value. In the end, it’s a points game — that’s it. And, as Gary and others have reported, whether one can even redeem points at desired properties is up in the air. Then, when you can redeem points, you receive this product / level of service. As I’ve said in other comments, it’s a mug’s game and we’re the mugs. Gary’s reporting illustrated to me that what I was experiencing was not me being “lucky” — it was the norm. Property owners will keep chipping away until they see the revenue needle move. It was at that point I realized that I needed a Plan B. I would encourage everyone to develop their own Plan B.

  14. If paying extra for housekeeping that should at least do away with the whole tipping debate. They should definitely be able to pay a decent wage with the extra money.

    Personally I prefer everybody stays out of the room during my stay anyway, so I likely would be unaffected. But I still don’t like the slippery slope.

    I also object to calling anything “free” just because it’s included in the rate.

  15. Going down that road, why not put a parking meter on the bathroom door, TP dispenser, etc. If they want more money, just raise the rates rather than nickel and dimeing their customers. They could save some money by not wasting it by turning off the AC/Heat and lights (and TV welcome message/music) when customers are not in the room (some properties have the key card slot by the door that does this, but the staff leaves a card in the slot to bypass it). Skipping amenities that are less frequently used (or dispensing them at front desk) would save money: sewing kits, shoe shine towels, etc.). The multitude of single use plastic bottles could be replaced with mounted refillable containers. As more travelers bring their own media devices, even TV’s may no longer be needed.

    Since labor is tight, it’s understandable that there’s a temporary challenge to clean every room. Hotels probably did not reduce their rates when they switched to non-daily housekeeping, so its become a profitable to skimp. To make it less burdensome on the traveler, maybe they could give us a choice, such as earn 500 or 1000 extra points for each day you skip housekeeping. Meanwhile, their needs to be a easy way to replenish spent items. A designated place to leave spent towels/linens, so they are not left in hallways, and a place on every floor to retrieve clean linens, coffee packets, etc.

  16. This was always where the “no housekeeping because……COVID!” thing was headed. From a scientific standpoint, the idea of no daily housekeeping because of “the virus” never made much sense. Still, that didn’t stop innkeepers from implementing it because they quickly learned (from politicians) that if there’s anything you’ve ever really wanted to be that would be immensely unpopular with people – use COVID as the excuse to do it.

    And clearly, this seems to work for them.

  17. Wait a minute, haven’t we been paying for room service for decades. Are hotels going to drop cost, I expect not. Just more greed to squeeze more margin for the bottom line. If room service is no longer going to be standard than they should not be allowed to advertise as hotels and motels but as apartments or condos.

  18. This seems a bit crazy….hotels already have multiple brands to differentiate themselves. If they dilute the service at more full-service brands, then Marriott’s just become Fairfield Inns. Their bread and butter frequent users won’t put up with this. The most I’m willing to sacrifice is housekeeping every other day….towels, refill of coffee packets, general sanitizing, can’t really go more than that without it being a bit gross. If both Loyalty programs and offerings get diluted, you don’t have a brand anymore. You’re just the YMCA.

  19. What is going to happen is the State or City is going to come in and “Regulate” these hotels. This is what happens when a business pisses off the consumer, regulations come out to protect the consumer from rooms and hallways that are dirty.

    What will also happen is people will change hotel rooms so they can have clean towels and garbage taken out daily. Calls will be made for clean towels daily.

    What needs to be done is each room needs to have a trash bin that is larger then a garbage pail. Towels for more then one day need to be in each room. Sealed shampoo and soap can be provided but DO NOT DISCARD open containers until checkout.

  20. When I am on vacation part of staying in a hotel is having my room made up and my bed made. If I’m doing it myself and/or paying for it I may as well rent from Airbnb.

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