Hilton Believes Americans Are Slobs, Don’t Expect Clean Rooms During Stay?

Hilton’s CEO said to expect cost-cutting to become the new normal for Hilton hotels as they try to charge what they used to for rooms while spending less than before, improving margins.

He was talking to investors, not consumers, and sometimes business leaders forget that talking one way to one audience and another way to other groups doesn’t really work anymore. He gave us the lens with which to understand changes like permanently eliminating housekeeping services during guest stays at supposedly full service properties in the U.S. Guests can still request it.

  • It’s a great way to get people to re-use towels, which saves on laundry too (though you can call and request towels and wait for them)

  • Trash piles up in the room. One hotel recently told me “just put it outside your door.” That keeps the room from smelling too badly from takeout, since the hotel wasn’t offering food service. But it meant that the common spaces were littered.

  • The change will mean fewer housekeepers working fewer hours, so they may not be available to clean your room right away when you ask, either.

A spokesperson reaches out to make clear that this is only for the U.S., and that it’s because this is what guests want,

Around the world, we have implemented a flexible approach to housekeeping services based on what we know about the expectations and preferences of our guests, so there are some variations in our approach by region. Properties in Europe, Middle East and Africa are still operating housekeeping as requested and all properties in the Asia-Pacific region are still providing daily housekeeping as part of CleanStay.

This is all to say that we’re listening to the needs of our guests at the local level, so we’ve made specific adjustments to these standards region by region to align with their expectations at this point in time.

Update: Hilton asks to add this additional statement,

Hilton continues to offer daily housekeeping by request to all of our guests, free of charge, across all of our 18 brands around the world.

Throughout the pandemic, we discovered guests enjoyed the flexibility of on-demand housekeeping services and have varying levels of comfort with someone entering their rooms after they have checked in. We encourage our guests to call the front desk to request room cleaning, and our Team Members stand ready to assist with extra towels or amenities.

Guests visiting Waldorf Astoria, Conrad and LXR properties will receive daily housekeeping with no request needed.

Guests have different expectations in different parts of the world. Daily housekeeping will remain in Asia, because guests there expect rooms to be clean. However based on U.S. guest expectations rooms won’t automatically be cleaned during a stay in this country. That seems odd to me, since we’ve spent the past 16 months talking about hygiene, learning to wash our hands for a full 20 seconds, and lysoling everything in sight.

I’m not sure how a hotel that doesn’t provide daily housekeeping counts as full service anymore, either. It seems to be limited service, and more in the bucket of a product that competes against homesharing sites like Airbnb.

Hilton believes they don’t need to spend money on housekeeping during your stay to keep your room clean, because Americans don’t expect it. The truth is, we’re slobs. Do you think they’re right?

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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  1. I normally get housekeeping every other day but ask for new towels every day. I would probably ask to keep the same going but I don’t stay at HIltons.

  2. They are. It’s not just anericans though. People are always wanting to see what they can get away with. People will always do things on someone’s property other than their own. Like the chick that poured “cocoa puffs cereal” down the toilet and couldn’t bother flushing it.

  3. And the customer surveys/research that demonstrated Americans did not want daily housekeeping is….where?

  4. Does everyone else get a new towel every day at home? Clean the sinks and toilets on a daily basis? Take out the trash daily? Make their bed daily? And the latter is something you can do yourself.

    The hotels seem to have garbage cans by the elevator, and it’s no further than my walk to the trash can when I need to empty a wastebasket. The biggest problem is with inadequate toilet paper for a family of four for a week, lack of refills on the coffee maker, and remembering who’s towel is whose.

  5. @Jason, the survey is run by the same “company” that finds most Americans prefer product sizes/weights to go down rather than prices go up at the grocery store.

  6. @Ken —> Yup.

    @John H. —> Look…times change, and I certainly don’t expect the same level of service in the 21st century as people received in “La Belle Epoque.” That said, YES — I *do* reuse towels at home (but I also have higher quality towels at home); YES — I do clean the sinks every day, after shaving, after washing the dishes, etc., etc.; YES — I do make the bed every day. OTOH, no, I don’t clean the toilets every day, nor do I take the trash out daily. Not sure where you stay, but the “garbage cans” near the elevators either a) seem to me quite small — holdovers from when you put out your cigarette before boarding the elevator, with a waste compartment underneath, or b) non-existent. (I’m writing this from a Marriott; no receptacles near the elevators.) But even presuming there were full-sized trash cans, how many rooms on the floor will be able to dump trash in it?

  7. I’ve been a lifetime Diamond Honors member for 3 years.

    Calendar year 2021, I have 102 nights at Marriott. I’m Ambassador Elite and lifetime Titanium.
    Calendar year 2021, I have 0 nights at Hilton properties. They have lost their way and lost me as a corporate and leisure traveler. The cuts are a slap in the face, so many of the properties are tired and the lack of clear differentiation at the lifetime Diamond level was the last straw for me.

    I’m now a loyal Marriott Bonvoy customer and will go out of my way to stay at a Marriott v Hilton brand

  8. In other news Hilton will save millions doing away with toilet bowels
    Just pee in the sink folks or use a reusable pot

  9. I just don’t like the B.S. Better service in Asia because that’s what Asians want. Worse service in the US because that’s what Americans want. Show me the data that most American guests PREFER having to ASK for cleaning each day. And that assumes they’ll get it.

  10. @Sam —> Agreed. I’m Hilton Diamond as well, but am busy burning my points and returning to SPG…uh, Marriott.

  11. Complete race to the bottom! I enjoy having daily housekeeping, it is not absolutely essential for preservation of life, but it is a key attribute I look for in a hotel. I have stayed well over 100 nights with Hyatt, and about 4 with Hilton this year. Hyatt still allows you to pick daily houseeping in most midrange properties like Hyatt Regency or Grand Hyatt. If Hilton wants to get rid of stayover housekeeping they would have to offer a huge discount on rate, etc. I hope but am not counting on it to really work on demand. Gray, can you ask these Hilton execs some non fluff questions about this policy?

  12. With little to no housekeeping 10 and 12 dollar credits for a cup of juice and toast as a premium elite benefit
    Hilton can put its cheap stingy scheme where the sun don’t shine
    I’m out

  13. A hybrid between daily and on- demand cleaning is what I would prefer. I don’t need my room cleaned (vacuum, wiping, dusting, etc.) daily, but I want daily the waste basket emptied, towels on the floor replaced and used coffee/tea items replaced. It would be a quick room refresh with just these items.

  14. If we’re going to treat hotel stays as basically a place to sleep and nothing else, then I woudl expect the price to drop quite a bit. But that’s not going to happen either. Hilton is now worse than a Motel 6 or Days Inn at this point. This is a ridiculous cut and will make me shift to Marriott/IHG/Hyatt aligned hotels all things being equal.

  15. You treat people with less respect and you will get less in return. You can see that with airlines now. I sense people will trash hotels even worse now and the time to turn over a room will be longer and wear and tear on rooms greater with people treating the rooms like they are treated by the hotel.

  16. Even Holiday Inn Express has daily housekeeping services plus free breakfast to boot.
    I’m sad to report that I don’t fit your portrait of the American slob. Goodbye Hilton

  17. Hallways will be littered with garbage. Can’t wait to see the filth in vending area

  18. I always stay at Hampton Inns because of the great beds, great selection of breakfast items, lobby coffee available 24/7. I always bring gloves and cleansing wipes to sanitize counters, desks, drape rods and use a separate one to do bathroom surfaces. No, it’s not because I think Hilton doesn’t clean well. I know, more than I thought, that lots of women re-clean. We also don’t use housekeeping every day and reuse towels and get extra ones if we need them. The staff at most of these Inns are hard-working people and I greatly show and express my appreciation to the staff.

  19. I am a travel Agent in Colorado and the travel agencies I am associated with have all
    agreed to no longer sell Hilton products due to their lack of customer care and lack of cleanliness of the rooms. I bet they have stopped regular cleaning of the bed spreads and carpets too.
    The Hilton name used to mean something and now it is no better than a Motel 6. I too am a Hilton
    Honors member but no longer. Too bad they have bean counters in charge and not true hotel management people.

  20. I agree with Bob in NC. A quick room refresh to empty the trash, replace toilet paper, Kleenex, towels on the floor and used coffee/tea items would be fine. But don’t make me ask (beg?) for it please.

  21. I too have been a Platinum elite Hilton guest for many years. Should have seen this coming when they started eliminating executive lounges in some hotels and then made you ask for fresh towels.

    I will burn my Hilton points and switch to Marriott and Accor.

    I’ve already started doing similar switching from American airlines to Delta.

    Loyalty programs are supposed to work both ways. Hilton and American have breached the contract.

  22. @Dwondermeant, You said, “In other news, Hilton will save millions doing away with toilet bowels
    Just pee in the sink folks, or use a reusable pot.”

    Due to the mandated building codes in the United States and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA) , some guests have found the reduced height of the handicapped drinking fountains in Hilton properties are an excellent substitute for a convenient urinal.

  23. @Holy – another feather in your cap to be proud of! A new race to the bottom but don’t forget to tip or you’ll deserve crap service. Oh wait, you get it even if you tip

  24. I just stayed in the Hilton Waikiki Beach for 5 nights. What a mess and not an enjoyable vacation for sure. No services at all. Had to chase after tissue paper since we were blessed with one roll for 4 people and 5 nights. But, the trash in the hallways was the absolute worst! Every room has trash toppling out the doorways and it smelled horrible. To add even more insult, we ended up with bedbugs. I’ll never stay Hilton again.

  25. The big question is – has Hilton lost most of its housekeeping staff due to the pandemic and they aren’t coming back to Hilton because they found another job that pays more money?? Hmm, seems likely as nearly everyone who had worked in the travel industry before the pandemic have moved on to other jobs since being furloughed.

  26. I’m not a slob and I won’t be staying at Hilton anymore. I just finished the worst stay of my life at a Hilton Garden Inn in FL and I am done with the entire brand. If I had known this before my 7 night stay, I would have pitched a tent instead. Might as well – we had roaches and filth anyway.

  27. This is a timely post! The Hyatt Influencer program just ran a survey about housekeeping (asking about experiences, expectations of housekeeping, frequency, etc.) this week.

    It’s a pity that Hilton is going down this path, devalues the experience of going to a hotel, and increases the probability that guests might have a negative experience even on overnight stays — since staff will be in short supply, and may rush cleaning rooms.

  28. I don’t make my bed every day. I do use a different towel every shower. I even change toilet paper between poops. So what? 300 different people don’t sleep in my bed every year.

  29. Stayed in a Hilton property this week and despite all advance communication regarding the housekeeping available upon request being a daily available service, it was not, and when requested at the midpoint of a 6 day stay, I was told it was only truly available to guests staying a minimum of 7 nights. So that was almost as fun as taking the gnarly pile of cheap wet used bath towels down to the front desk in exchange for a new set because things just don’t dry overnight in Florida humidity. At nearly $800 a night, that really set my teeth on edge. I book hotels for these little luxuries because as a mom, I’d really just like a small break from them when traveling. I’ll be at an Airbnb going forward if I have to do these things myself. The Hilton status points chase has lost its appeal to me if these amenities are permanently suspended in their mid tier properties. It’s a sad decline in the hospitality industry.

  30. In the height of the pandemic many of us who had to travel and occupy a hotel room for two or three nights did put up our do not disturb signs so as not to have an additional person walking through our rooms. But that was before vaccinations were available. Now that we can be vaccinated and are starting to travel for more nights It would be appropriate that daily housekeeping remain as the default. I think Hilton is making a major mistake. When I travel I do reuse towels, but I normally expect that trash cans will be emptied, and amenities replaced. I also enjoy having my bed made. At home I change sheets once a week in the winter and at least twice a week in the summer. When I am in a hotel I would expect at least that.

  31. @Kimberly Boyer: Did you know, subject to availability and hotel participation, you may check out a complimentary can of insecticide when you earn Hilton Honors Diamond status or hold the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express? As part of Hilton’s Clean Stay COVID-19 initiatives, Hilton empowers their valued elite guests to fumigate their room for bedbugs and other vermin. Valued elite members of the Hilton Hospitality program can now help deliver the safest and most enjoyable experience possible during their stay at any of Hilton’s 18 brands.

    Regarding your comment, “Had to chase after tissue paper since we were blessed with one roll for 4 people and 5 nights.” Unfortunately, Hawai’i has a long history of hoarding toilet paper. An ample 8-1/2 x11 inch paper supply can be found in the paper printer trays located in the hotel business center adjacent to the sometimes working computers.

    You also said, “But, the trash in the hallways was the absolute worst! Every room has trash toppling out the doorways, and it smelled horrible.”
    I agree. Fetid smells from putrefying rotting fish heads reek. To avoid stinky waste in the hotel hallways, many guests toss their trash over their balconies so the ground crew can pick it up and dispose of their garbage properly.

    I hope you enjoyed your visit to Hawai’i. Aloha.

  32. I, too, have become more and more disenchanted with Hilton. I am in my tenth year of being Diamond, but will never be granted lifetime status due to lack of sufficient base points.
    Some of the properties are great. I keep going back to those. They are wonderful and I love them, even post pandemic.
    But others? Well, they are dirty and don’t care, even though I do.
    Hilton’s latest moves in allowing the properties to keep their pandemic breakies and cleaning disgusts me. The credits that are offered generally don’t cover anything near the cost of a breakie in the US. Often, it doesn’t cover tea and a bagel.
    I keep waiting for Marriott to offer a status match. I’m ready to go somewhere else…and sooner rather than later.

  33. For those of us who are not frequent flyers, but once a year vacationers or emergency travelers it is a slap in the face not to have great service. I’m on vacation from house keeping duty or exhausted from dealing with the stress of death, hospital visits or finding my way around a city that is unfamiliar the last thing I want to think about is if my trash needs to be taken out or if my furniture and bed is clean or if I will have clean towels and bathrooms every day. That is the main reason I choose a hotel when I could stay with family or go camping where we have to do things on our own. I am paying for full service and expect to have clean room, fresh towels, and my bed made every day and not step over trash in the hallways. I deserve no less!

  34. Embassy Suites 4th July. Trying to avoid fireworks for my dog.
    Parking charge $16….(although barriers were up 24/7)
    Parking lot covered in trash / fast food wrappers etc.
    Dog area disgusting, trash, food wrappers, garbage bins overflowing etc

    Charged $50 pet fee for a very poor Pet room…Toilet / TV remote broken, very dingy, would not let my dog sleep on the filthy carpet. Checked out 1.00 am.
    At check out, told the disinterested person the Hotel was a disaster…
    Hilton churns more and more money for an awful product.

  35. The only hotels I’ve seen limit housekeeping were the Toyoko Inns in Japan. They give a small discount to guests who accept housekeeping only every 2nd day.

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