Marriott Hotel Sent Guest To An Uncleaned Room Because They Had No Housekeepers

Oh, Marriott. It’s one thing for your CEO to claim that guests need to have more sympathy for hotel owners when hotels are ignoring elite breakfast benefits. But what about when they’re not cleaning rooms, because they don’t have enough housekeepers on staff? And when a guest has to sleep in a room that hasn’t been cleaned?

A reader stayed at the Marriott Dallas – Fort Worth airport on a recent Sunday evening. It’s not uncommon for a hotel to overbook – take more reservations than they have rooms, expecting not everyone will show up. That’s not what happened here. The hotel didn’t have rooms to give a lobby full of guests because,

  1. They had empty rooms
  2. But didn’t have housekeeping staff to clean them after previous guests checked out

The reader arrived at the hotel after check-in time. They checked in via Marriott’s mobile app. They weren’t given a room, and weren’t offered a room at another hotel either (though they were ostensibly working on alternate rooms “the manager didn’t seem to be doing anything besides standing around.”)

Instead he was eventually given a room that hadn’t been cleaned. He knew the room hadn’t been cleaned when he accepted it after 1 a.m.

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.

I couldn’t find any procedures for what to expect in this situation under Marriott’s “Commitment to Clean” but a spokesperson tells me a guest is “supposed to be offered the room at no charge…for a situation like this” but that didn’t happen here until I contacted the chain.

Traditional revenue management forecasts may not account for turning over rooms properly in all cases, it seems. A hotel may sell fewer rooms than it has, but more than it’s able to turn over.

Marriott’s CEO says says hotel workers earn too much, that’s why it’s hard to staff properties. But when something as basic as cleaning rooms requires more staff, maybe hotels will just have to pay more? This isn’t something guests should have any sympathy for at all.

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. “Marriott’s CEO says says hotel workers earn too much”

    I’m going to assume he isn’t willing to cut his entire compensation package, including any benefits, severance, etc. to match a hotel worker’s comp to show how they are earning too much.

  2. Corporate will probably cut the hotel owner some slack since they’re more important than guests.

  3. Some people say that housekeepers should get a living wage and that prices should not go up. Anybody know?

    I say that housekeepers should make half of the salary of the President of the United States and hotel prices should be cut by 33%.

  4. There are a bunch of issues going on now.

    There are individual properties that economically are not doing well for a myriad of reasons (unwillingness of lower paid employees like housekeeping to come back to work), using COVID as a crutch and an excuse to cut benefits, business travel has dried up to a certain degree especially at lower tier properties and there is absolutely no teeth with Marriott corporate to enforce brand standards.

    I can say for the most part my hotel experiences this year have been quite good but I ask in advance what services are available and frequent higher end properties

  5. BTW Marriott Dallas is a Cat 4 hotel

    Word to the wise. Cat 5’s can be hit or miss. Sometimes great value, location or price with some warts or issues. Cat 4? I’m happy with a clean bed and no gunshots or ambulances sirens

  6. So that means you should expect to pay more than 30-40k points per award stay to start getting consistently good hotels? (That’s Marriott cat 5 award stays per the chart.)

    If you take a .7 cpp valuation of Marriott that’s a cash equivalent of $210-280.

    In all seriousness, if you’re saying a hotel chain doesn’t have consistently good value below $250-300/night… loyalty with that chain is Stockholm syndrome. Be done with it and pay cash everywhere, and get what you like with your cash.

  7. If they cannot find housekeeping at $15 an hour, then they need to pay more.
    Capitalism was never meant to coddle management or workers. If supply is tight, then demand is high and costs go up.
    People stay in Marriott properties in theory for their consistency. If they continue being inconsistent then their brand has no value.

  8. There are a hellva lot of immigrants coming over our southern border who WILL work for $15 an hour. Let’s be honest here, almost all hotel housekeeping is done by immigrants. Amirite?
    I do not believe that these hotels ARE offering $15 an hour. Probably much much less, which is why nobody wants to work there. They need to simply pay more and take less profit for the stockholders.
    Everybody who comments on here about bad hotel experiences should go on Booking [dot] com and enter a negative review. It’s the only way. Just commenting on Gary’s blog doesn’t cut it.

  9. This is infuriating and disgusting. The general manager should have been cleaning the rooms himself because he failed to have the proper staffing.

  10. To me this isn’t a “Marriott issue” as much as Gary (who apparently lacks for content) takes any chance to slam Marriott. This is mismanagement by the hotel manager. They may not know how many people will check in (due to no shows, cancellations, etc) but they sure as hell know how many rooms are currently occupied and when those guests check out. It isn’t that hard to plan that x rooms will need cleaning, a housekeeper can clean y rooms so we need to have z housekeepers available that day.

    If you can’t manage something this simple you should be fired. By this happened to be a Marriott hotel but I’m willing to bet the franchisee also owns other brands so it could have happened at any chain or independent hotel. Just piss poor planning and nothing to do w Marriott as much as Gary is hellbent to slam them

  11. For what it’s worth, this hotel is owned by Ashford Hospitality Trust and managed by Remington Hotels. Both companies are led by Monty Bennett, the Texas BILLIONAIRE whose company took more PPP money last year than ANY OTHER COMPANY in the entire US ($126M in total forgivable loans applied for) before deciding (far later than most) to give it back once they faced public backlash. They’re now under SEC investigation. Tons of WSJ stories on it.

    And oh, he’s a huge Trump donor. Funny enough, in a karma-of-sorts moment, his ranch in Texas almost got seized to build a new pipeline he, in essence, voted for. And what did he do? Built a private cemetery on the grounds of his property and added endangered species to his exotic animal collection, hoping that would protect his land from being seized by eminent domain.

    Yeah, real winner there.

  12. @OlderWoman–absolutely right, gotta keep paying the stockholders. Every quarter stockholders want a dividend increase. Only way to get that is to 1) cut costs and/or 2) raise prices.

    The way the stock market continues to spiral up, up, up will only force prices to go higher, ‘cuz you gotta pay the stockholders! Whether wages increase for the poor working stiffs–or a shortage of workers continues until a business closes due to lack of workers–is anyone’s guess.

    My hopes right now are for stagflation, at best. At worst, a contraction, and resulting recession, due to labor shortage and business failures.Time will tell.

  13. I’ve got you beat.

    Marriott in Boston before housekeeping cuts.

    Arrived in room with a not-flushed toilet avec poop and a shower stall with short curly hairs.

    Add that to the list with no breakfast or room upgrade benefits.

  14. This is not a unique situation with Marriott. In April, we arrived at the Kimpton Palomar in Philadelphia around 5:30 p.m., only to be told our room wasn’t ready because most of the housekeeping staff that day had “called out.”
    Management was upstairs making up rooms, and it took us almost an hour to get into one, making for a stressful evening as we had to get our daughter over to a party.
    Everybody was profusely sorry, or so they said, but when it came time for any kind of compensation, the buck didn’t stop with anyone except some phantom manager who didn’t respond to texts or phone calls.

  15. OMG I couldn’t believe such a luxurious hotel would do that. I always have a plan to stay at Marriott someday. Now that I heard this news….. I’m extremely disappointed.

  16. @Ben – you knocked that out of the ballpark – right on :)))))

    If Marriott cannot provide a clean room at checkin then the customer should be walked and provided with appropriate compensation. It is the same as having no rooms at all.

  17. As a former night auditor I would’ve comped the room or put the room out of service and not charged him at all if he wanted to stay in the room.

  18. I’ve got to sat all Marriott properties are alike. Here is my most recent exxperience.

    I recently did a road trip to Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks NC. In between I stayed one night at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott, I had several certificates to use and decided it was a good way to use one of the 35K certificates. I have the Chase Marriott card (Silver status), but had not been at a Marriott for some time (therefore four certificates with a number of extensions). No upgrade coupons.

    They had texted me early asking if I would like an early check-in, Nothing was promised, but I replied yes. Later as I was driving I got a text saying I could chick-n anytime and that I had been upgraded, It was about 10:30 AM.

    The surprise when I got there was that had upgraded me to the Presidential Suite (1,100 square feet). Along with the dining area table to serve eight, full fridge, microwave, huge living room area (would seat eight or so), and some other area with couch and chairs, Each area with TV, etc. I also had access to the concierge lounge with beverages, snacks, and hot breakfast and early evening food., It was definitely overkill, but never nice,

    I ended up just hitting the lounge a few times and mainly just chilling in the room.

    You never know what you’ll get.

  19. The Marriott playbook of intentionally assigning guests to uncleaned and unsanitized rooms is the new normal for Marriott properties. Reducing the time Marriott guests sleep or stay in uncleaned rooms encourages guests to depart early. In this article, the guest stay lasted less than three hours. With three-hour stays, a dirty room can be rented up to eight times each day as long as time-consuming and cost-prohibitive housekeeping is unavailable. Increasing Marriott hotel owners’ profitability by reselling the same space eight times every day helps serve more guests and increases owner profitability by a factor of eight. With the Marriott “Commitment to Cleanliness,” Marriott properties should emerge as the profitable COVID-19 hospitality industry leader.

  20. Just a heads up for a follow up to the post Gary wrote of that hotel in North Caroliina with garbage in the hallways. I contacted the fire Chief and he wrote back.—-

    “Thank you for bringing this item to our attention.

    There are a couple items of concern with the picture provided; improper storage of combustible material and compromised means of egress.

    Our Fire Marshal will be making a visit to this establishment.

    Thank you again,

    Troy N. Tilley
    Fire Chief
    Town of Kill Devil Hills, NC
    252-480 4060 ext. 5222

    So it looks like if you are staying in a Hotel with trash in the hallways, simply take a picture and e-mail it to the fire chief for that city. No need to complain to the management, just contact the fire department. The next guests who stay their will appreciate the 5 minutes it took you to look up the e-mail address of the City Fire Chief. This is BS trash in the hallways.

  21. As a present part- time employee for Marriott with twenty five years of hotel management experience.
    Now is NOT the time to be traveling staying at any hotels expecting the 100% Presidential service because you’re not going to get it. Hotels around the USA is lacking employees to provide you that great services. All current hotel employees are being overworked and under paid.

  22. Having worked in Marriott for 10 years, majority as a manager, I left during height of Covid-19 due to the amount of smoke and mirrors. I can tell you the reason for this is hotels cutting corners with staffing. They had cut staffing down due to less incoming money but would not add more when money started coming in. 2 housekeepers were expected to get the work done of 4, sometimes 5 housekeepers. While maintaining the “increases cleaning procedures” (I can tell you the electrostatic spray machine is not what you are thinking. Properties are lucky if they have one functioning one).

    Anyways back to the story the reason is probably a mix of the new decreased staffing models where the “we can blame Covid and guests will understand” excuse continues to stand despite increases in travelers and lack of pay. Housekeepers already struggled before in receiving tips and their pay continues to factor in tips in many places so many are expected to work for ~$10/hr. Which means they are leaving positions and filling is a challenge since better pay opportunities elsewhere.

    I personally know a GM that brought her family in to help clean rooms due to not having enough staff on payroll. Not because of trying to fill positions but because the company expects properties to run with the decreased staff. Aside from time crunch and rushing you know complete strangers won’t be cleaning rooms based in Marriott standards…

    Anyways felt the need to share some info, take it as you will!

  23. I won’t speak for all, but some hotels have experienced very high gross operating profit from running very lean on labor. It’s become somewhat acceptable during the pandemic because none of the major brands are heavily enforcing quality assurance standards nor are they concerned about survey scores. Some owners get addicted to the GOP numbers they see from running lean. That being said, it has been very hard in the entire industry to staff housekeeping right now. It’s the largest labor force in a hotel and pays the least. The entire industry has depended on minority workers and foreign exchange programs like H1 visas to staff hotels. There has been less immigration due to the pandemic and that’s contributing to the staffing shortage. Moreover, the persistent government benefits have 100% fostered laziness in the low income work force. The industry has depended on the backs of the lower socioeconomic class to provide services and now they are not as easy to find. Hotel rates have surpassed 2019 levels and owners need to pay these people if they want workers. Many of them have the money.

  24. Ben – the Marriott CEO base pay is what 4 of the striking housekeepers in Hawaii get after being with the company for. 2 years.

  25. I absolutely LOVE the Marriott brand. I just spent 4 days at TownPlace Suites Dallas DFW Airport North/Grapevine
    I currently have Ambassador Elite status. My original reservations had a bit of a snafu. My Ambassaor made a human error and booked us at the wrong place. By the time that was discovered, the location I originally wanted to stay at was fully booked.
    Marriott went above and beyond to be sure I was well taken care of. I was given a great upgrade at a equally close hotel and some extra points for the inconvenience.
    Everyone is hurting for employees in the service area. I have nothing but good to say about my relationship with the Marriott brand. Even when there are issues they do everything possible to make sure I am satisfied.

  26. Marriot is delusional. I was a housekeeping supervisor and made $15 an hour. Our starting wage for housekeepers was $12 an hour and we were union. If a housekeeper quits a hotel to work at another, even after 10 years of employment with that hotel, the housekeeper has to start at the bottom pay rate($9-$12). Most of the time there are no ft benefits.
    No guests should ever stay in a dirty room! I’ve seen front desk, maintenance, and managers team up and clean rooms before guests guests check-in. My Marriot manager cleaned rooms and did laundry throughout the pandemic because they didn’t have housekeepers. Guests really need to expect more from the hospitality industry. General managers get 6 figure bonuses for squeezing every penny out of their budget, including payroll. Hospitality is greedy AF!

    Just because an immigrant may do it for less, they still deserve more! Immigrants will work their butts off and do great job while Americans are lazy and can’t stay of their cell phones phones long enough run a vacuum.

  27. The exact same thing happened to me except that they sent us to a room without their knowledge and my knowledge that it was dirty. Then they sent us to another room and it too was dirty. They were dirty wash clothes on the floor in the bathroom. They did not charge us for our night but said that a manager would call us to credit us a future night for free. It’s been several weeks and we haven’t heard anything.

  28. It’s a nightly occurrence at the Marriott where I work. I’m so scared to check people in that I go check the room before I hand over the keys!

  29. The same thing happened to me on 7/24/21 dirty room stinky refrigerator after I complain they sent me to another room wich was ok while the AC UNIT was set at 60 degree it was too cold I turned it down and all hell broke lose with stench because I turn it down I reported everything they sent someone to vacuum the floor I leave the next day 3 nights of horror

  30. I stayed at a marriot property near sesame place in langhorne pa same issues stained rugs no help at desk things lacking and no one responds I did 2 surveys and manager does not care I am switching to Hilton properties to see what I can earn for future so done with marriot manager needs to own the process I ran stores for macys for 20 years and was accountable these people are not

  31. Yep. A very similar thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago in Charlotte NC. > I came in from a flight exhausted, ready to get to my room. I have stayed at this hotel for many years,.always had excellent experience.
    When I got there around 4 pm, there was a line of people at the front desk all waiting for rooms. The rooms had not been cleaned because they only had two housekeepers working and they just couldn’t do it. They eventually called in the manager and she was helping clean rooms.
    I have never experienced anything like this before. I finally got to my room at 8:30 that evening. And the one remaining housekeeper, God bless her was STILL working. I gave her some extra money and thanked her. Tbe manager apologized profusely.
    This is happening everywhere. A little local restaurant closed last week because they couldn’t hire enough staff.
    Apparently no one wants to work anymore.
    So sad.

  32. Not surprising! Marriott has really been subpar since COVID has come around. It’s like they’ve found a way to function with less staff and haven’t gone back to the “normal” ways of doing things. I used to stay at Marriott because they provided great service. It’s hard to convince myself to stay at a Marriott now, after several mediocre to awful experiences. Not to say all are bad…I have had some great experiences as well. But…how do I know which Marriott hotel will provide good/bad service?

  33. I feel that some chains like Hyatt and Hilton should use this opportunity to gain Marriott loyalists. After all the negative reviews I’d been seeing on Tripadvisor, I just booked a Hyatt for my next stay to try them out. They may be smaller but they can probably manage their brand better because they don’t have all these independent owners and they’ve lost their way in terms of consistency and quality.

  34. I didn’t see that the guest called the front desk to let them know that the room was not cleaned. I would bet an entry error moved the room from vacant dirty to vacant clean, thus ready for guest. The hotel would not put someone in the room knowingly. Really? I have worked at hotels, mostly Marriotts, and know what goes on, and what doesnot. Even now retired, Marriott is my first choice because of what I know.

  35. Having recently quitting my Director of Housekeeping job at Residence Inn by Marriott Portland North. Making a 42000 annual salary.was a slap in the hourly wage was average 6 dollars an hour i was understaffed without laundry attendant and expected to to work 12 to 14 hours a day 7 days a week my GM had 3 days a week off.a week Everyday we were over sold for the almighty revenue 50 checkouts means 50 rooms sold .with myself and maybe 2 or 3 staff members pitching in! Never once had my GM or the Sales dept. Clean a room or fold a not feel sorry for hotel owners during this time the clean rooms i supplied gave them 13000 in revenue per day.

  36. This happened to me 2 weeks ago at the Springhill Suites. Front desk gave me sheets & towels and I had to make the bed myself.

    The font desk guy said they had enough employees they were just “lazy.” Unfortunately it was also 1am and didn’t fee like going to find another hotel with availability.

  37. till Demented Joe stops paying people to sit home–this will be an ongoing problem… Add to it the new idea of paying welfare and lo-income cash of $500-$1000 A MONTH In these guaranteed income programs thought up by Billionaires we will not see the end of it….

  38. The Marriott” brand” can apparently be purchased by any property owner who “agrees” to meet their “standards”. WE are not really Marriott’s customers, the property owner is and apparently, Marriott is becoming very reluctant to enforce standards with these customers.

  39. Marriott has gotten so big that it ruined the hospitality business and has lowered the industry’s standards. It’s in its way to failure and crash.

  40. Any such kind of incidents and it’s social media reviews by the guest can impact a bad reputation for that particular hotel.
    And for a big brand like this can take more measures to make better experiences for their guests.

  41. “Marriott’s CEO says says hotel workers earn too much, that’s why it’s hard to staff properties“

    That’s complete nonsense. It’s difficult to staff properties because they aren’t paying enough.

  42. My grandsons were removed from the room I had reserved for them and they occupied for two nights. Left a credit card to pay for reserved third nite but they were told to leave. Still have received no info. I am Bonvoy and MRriott VCation club owner ( 10 weeks) that’s how they treatfamily”

  43. Having been a loyal MARRIOTT REWARDS MEMBER and Patron for over 42 years …. I had even an opportunity to meet Bill Marriott years ago near my home in Maryland- ie Marriott’s corporate HQ

    It is sad to see how that through extremely incompetent and inept management that this once preeminent hotel chain is sinking into the cesspool of mediocre. And the new CEO simply doesn’t get it and should be removed by the Board.

    I also have had some recent “challenges” with hotel management over unclean rooms, inaccuracy in billing, and just plain rude and obnoxious behavior by staff. BOTTOM LINE IS THAT MONEY TALK and I can too talk my business elsewhere

  44. I was actually at that hotel for that weekwnd and checked out on Aug 15th, 2021. I am saddened at the treatment he recwived, however I can say we were treated well ans housekeeping was ready and available to assist.
    The hotel was very busy all night, and at times did seem a bit understaffed. We also had a big event there this weekend.

    However there is no excuse for being given an unclean room and if paying the staff is the problem, then that’s even worse.

    I hope this gets better as we have future events planned at this location. Also for the sake of other patrons.

  45. Whoever suggested the hotel hire know undocumented workers that are happy to do a housekeepers job for $15 an hour is literally suggesting the hotel break the law and be subjected to harsh fines, penalties, and jail time. It sucks what happened to this customer. I’m curious why the customer didn’t just go to a competitor hotel on their own. There are tons of huge hotels all around DFW. It seems like this customer has some flawed loyalty to only staying at that one Marriott (there are tons of other Marriotts near DFW also) or put themselves through an entirely avoidable situation just to have something to complain about on the Internet. There’s a pretty good chance this entire story is made up so the author can drum up clicks and buzz. I call BS on this whole story. Just search “hotels near DFW” on Google maps and you’ll see how avoidable this situation is.

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