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.