Hilton Upgrading Housekeeping, Towels, Bedside Power Outlets And Night Lights

Hilton has communicated upcoming changes to housekeeping, bathroom towels, bedside power outlets and night lights to hotel owners in the Americas, which they say are changes that “will have the biggest impact on guest satisfaction” while at the same time “being mindful” of property owner margins.

According to an internal communication reviewed by View From The Wing, Hilton hotels must be “clean everywhere and offer a hot breakfast, a great shower experience and a few reliable and friendly touches.”

Daily housekeeping will be a brand standard at all full service hotels, and every other day at limited service properties though in both cases either more or less housekeeping will be at the direction of the guest. Housekeeping, deep cleaning, and maintenance standards will be as follows:

Effective Oct. 1, 2023, the following will be required under Brand Standards 722.04 and 722.05:

  • Full Service/Lifestyle/Embassy Suites: Stayover housekeeping will be provided to all occupied rooms daily or as requested by the guest. Full cleaning will be provided after the 4th night on the 5th day, and upon guest check-out.
  • Focused Service/Homewood Suites/Home2 Suites: Stayover housekeeping service will be provided to all occupied rooms every other day or as requested by the guest. For example, the first stayover clean would occur after the 2nd night on the 3rd day. Full cleaning will be provided after the 4th night on the 5th day, and upon guest check-out. Note: if a Focused Service, Homewood or Home2 property wishes to return to daily, they may do so without a waiver.
  • Luxury: Stayover housekeeping will be provided to all occupied rooms daily or as requested by the guest. All guest rooms must be fully serviced, cleaned and inspected after every 3rd night on the 4th day, or upon guest request, and upon guest check-out. Housekeeping cleaning protocols will be refreshed to align with the brand service standards.

In addition, we’ve reinvigorated Standards around Deep Cleaning and Preventative Maintenance (Brand Standards 722.07 and 721.0). Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, hotels globally will be required to conduct Deep Cleaning on every room at a minimum of two times per year and Preventative Maintenance on every room at a minimum of two times per year.

Apparently the quality (and availability) of bath towels is a major pain point for Hilton properties, so much so that corporate calls it “among the biggest” gripes, suggesting it “drove down Overall Experience scores by over 1 point in 2022.” So they’re introducing a towel product that they believe is both plusher and lower cost:

  • We’ll make new product — from innovative supplier Sobel Linen Company — available across all brands in the U.S., Canada and Caribbean on a rolling basis and will be in touch with hotels when it is time to order. In the meantime, hotels should allow the current program to wind down by exhausting existing supply.
  • The new towel program uses innovative technology so that towels grow plusher through washing, providing the feel of a heavier, more luxurious product.
  • The terry offers up to a 50% longer lifespan (from 60-80 washes currently to 100-120 washes) and improvements to the inventory system with purchasing notifications and color-coded tags to help Team Members know when to replace towels.
  • We anticipate product cost savings ranging from 3-20% depending on brand. In addition, Hilton will invest in this program with you by funding 20% of the cost for a limited time, once product is ready for ordering at your hotels.

Hilton will begin requiring “accessible bedside power and night lighting” at all brands and hotels worldwide by Dec. 31, 2024. While properties will “self-assess” compliance with bedside power and night lighting, Hilton is offering to fund half the cost of power cubes and night lights to bring properties up to compliance.

Breakfast is also noted as a key guest priority, but no changes are expected here – just a reminder to properties to meet existing standards.

Two years ago Hilton’s CEO suggested that cutbacks in the Americas would be permanent, that there’d be no housekeeping during a guest’s stay, and they’d just keep re-using their towels. It turns out the chain has realized this diminishes the guest experience. While they used to believe that people use the same sheets and towels at home, so they should do so at hotels too, this takes away from the experience they are selling. It reduces the revenue premium they can earn and the product they differentiate from Airbnb. It even diminishes the brand, which is the primary asset Hilton uses to generate revenue.

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. LOL Housekeeping … an upgrade…. or do they mean something that should be happening regularly as before …. I mean I didn’t see any rate decreases for the lack of these services which were previously standard for nearly any decent hotel in the world.

  2. I don’t do housekeeping, but the rest of the improvements will be very welcome. Somehow I knew that Hilton wouldn’t let us down. Glad I kept my Diamond status.

  3. Can they also add working bedside clocks to the standard? Last time I stayed at a Hilton my room was in a different timezone and it was a smart clock on a central server. I couldn’t work out how to fix it. The *hotel* couldn’t work out how to fix it.

    Before anyone says I can use my phone…I have sleep anxiety and if I don’t have a visible clock when I wake up, I *can’t get back to sleep*. I’m going to end up having to buy one at this rate.

    Also, does bedside power also mean a night stand on both sides of all beds?

    (I don’t do daily housekeeping for environmental reasons and if they’re bringing it back as a default they need better opt-in/opt-out methods than leaving the Do Not Disturb sign up all stay).

  4. @Jennifer P-There used to be a gadget called a “Travel Clock” that many travelers relied on. Very small and relatively inexpensive. You should still be able to find one online.

  5. They definitely need to do something about the bedside lighting. My last stay at an ES, there was not enough light to read in bed. I read that someone who is 60 needs three times the amount of light to read as someone who is 25. Although I am not quite 60 yet, I definitely believe that. I never knew that the reason for that is because your pupils don’t open as wide as you age.

  6. Can you elaborate on the “hot breakfast” part? Does that mean that for full service a “hot breakfast” must be availabile on property, and select serve has to do away with the grab and go rubbish if they’re still doing that?

    The reason I ask is that on my last full-service Hilton stay (Chicago Mag Mile Suites) all they offered for hot breakfast was a jimmy deans sandwich for sale in the Starbucks. The restaurant and exec lounge were permanently closed. It floored me this was considered acceptable for an allegedly 4 star hotel.

  7. @Jennifer – why a clock? With all phones having alarms you do know many hotels are removing clocks as opposed to adding or upgrading them right?

  8. All very welcome updates. Does this mean we’ve finally reached the bottom of hotel chains diluting the quality of stays?

  9. @AC If I wake up in the middle of the night and cannot see the time, ideally without my glasses, I have to get up, check my phone…otherwise I can’t get back to sleep. I have sleep issues.

    An app on my phone won’t help, I need to be able to see the time instantly without getting out of bed, then I’ll turn over and go back to sleep fine. Otherwise, that’s it for the night.

    I AM considering buying a travel clock.

    And not having a nightstand on my side of the bed is a worse problem. I need my glasses next to me…I’m a bat without them ;).

  10. I have given up on Hilton properties, no housekeeping, extra costs for lousy breakfast food and 2 bottles of water as a Diamond member (been one for over 8 years and never an upgrade). HI and HIE are not updated properties and getting well worn, and “towels”? really? With no housekeeping you have to run down to the desk every day to get fresh towels (forget how fluffy they are)…I have gone over to IHG…happy so far.

  11. I’ll definitely consider it. I don’t currently have a kick stand for my phone, but it might well be a solution.

    But there’s also the attitude that 100% of the population has a smartphone and it bugs me because I know people who don’t.

  12. Wait, Hilton actually making improvements for the customer experience? Heck, ANY travel related company actually doing something positive for the customer these days? What’s the catch? This is not how they have acted for years now. Sounds good on paper, but much like the “Diamond 48 hour guarantee” it’s potentially useless and will be marketing fluff that goes no where. Here’s hoping though. I’ll be genuinelly impressed if they actually carry through and require these small changes (which really restore just some components of what was before the covid-cost-cuts).

  13. How about thermostats that let the fan run (even after room has hit desired temperature) when someone is in the room and don’t shut off in the middle of the night?

  14. Nick, you just gave me a hideous flashback to the Hilton room where the fan got stuck on.

    Cold.

    In late September.

    The room got as low as 40 degrees. The maintenance tech said it was a software problem with the smart thermostat system. It’s not just that we had no heat. Or that we had a/c instead of heat.

    The system was actively driving the room temperature down. We had to switch rooms.

    It would have been funny if it hadn’t been so…ya know…

    “Hilton” and “fan running constantly” may just be minor trauma.

  15. I’ve noted that daily housekeeping seems to be random at Hilton properties. I recall that the Hilton at the Melbourne, FL airport kindly asked me what service I wanted. Refreshing! I’ve noted that at others, no daily service or an offer. I’ve switched my allegiance to Hilton after an uncaring visit to the Holiday Inn Kensington Station in London and complete failure of IHG management to acknowledge my issues. What bothers me the most, and I think that most chains are the same way, corporate seems to disavow the ability to tell the franchise hotels what they WILL/WILL NOT do. My thought is….you fly the “corporate flag” over your property, use the corporate web sites, etc. you WILL/WILL NOT do the following…

  16. I would love for it to become the norm for hotels to ask people what level of housekeeping service they want. Some people really value daily housekeeping. Other people see it as a waste of energy and water, or have valuables in their room and don’t want the maid in there unless they’re present.

    If you make it opt in you shame the former group and opt out shames the latter. So…just make it a choice.

    Heck, put a checkbox on your direct reservations site and have it go straight into a system housekeeping has access to so they can see which rooms need doing without people having to leave out the Do Not Disturb sign.

  17. One small problem (and I oversee hotels), who’s going to clean those rooms? The GMs are lucky if 50% of the HK staff shows up on any given day, those that are lucky enough to have staff. And it’s a nationwide issue.

  18. @ Jenifer P

    A wristwatch? If seeing the hands is a problem, one w/ glow in the dark hands. I use a Nox Lumina.

  19. Can’t sleep with a wristwatch on either ;). I have issues. (Heck, I can barely stand to wear one). I’m probably going to have to buy a clock, which is one MORE thing to take to conferences…

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