Hotel Housekeepers Launch New Ad Campaign To Get You To Ask For A Clean Room

Hotels made severe cutbacks during the pandemic, since revenue was down when people weren’t traveling. Even though travel and room rates are back in the U.S., hotels are trying to hold onto these cuts as much as possible. One of the major ones they’re trying to avoid re-instating is daily housekeeping – because that means they can employ fewer people to clean rooms.

Housekeepers represented by the union UNITE-HERE want guests to request housekeeping every day of their stay. More work for housekeepers means more jobs for union members.

But they aren’t wrong that without daily housekeeping, trash, dirt and debris builds up in guest rooms – and that makes it harder to clean, and often rooms don’t get thoroughly cleaned as a result.

Whether dirty rooms are the fault of housekeepers (who have more work in a given guest room than before and overlook some things), or hotel management (for not giving housekeepers enough time to clean, giving the increased workload when turning a room) the result is the same: dirty rooms.

Even if you don’t feel badly for the tough physical labor of housekeepers (though as travelers, it’s hard not to sympathize), if you don’t want to sleep in dirty rooms then you need to patronize hotels that invest in proper housekeeping. I know I try to avoid those that do not.

Here’s a case where the interests of a union and good customer experience really align. That should tell hotel chains and ownership groups something very important.

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. The best thing to do is always to leave a bad review for hotels which can’t be bothered to clean their rooms.

  2. This is one of the rare situations where I side with the union. Outside of resorts and some luxury properties, everyday hotels over the last two years have been the dirtiest I have ever seen because reduced housekeeping means dirtier rooms. It’s not like maids are getting more time to clean a room after four or five days of no service. I am getting hair on toilets or shower and on the bedding at almost every property. It’s just disgusting, not least because some of the chains are still claiming they have extra cleaning protocols in place. Those extra protocols missed the used vibrator and lube oil on the floor next to the bed at the JW Marriott in Miami.

  3. I always cleaned my own room as long as I can remember. If I stayed for two weeks to several months, I would have them come in and clean the toilet/floors once per week while I was there. And request linen/towels etc when needed. Otherwise everything I would clean. Hotels will offer you all the supplies to clean yourself, or you can buy it. I just don’t want strangers in my room when it’s not necessary pre-covid or now. I always bring a swiffer duster and a minature handheld broom dust pan for my convenience. Works like a charm.

    *also, I can see why housekeeping would want to start cleaning rooms again….so they can get daily tips. But, I tip regardless whenever they do something even bringing me linen.

  4. No daily housekeeping is better. I don’t need someone in my room everyday. Let guests request it if they want it, but there’s no need for daily housekeeping to be the default.

  5. If the hotels that cut daily housekeeping are forced to bring it back, look forward to a “daily housekeeping surcharge” added on top of room rates, on top of the destination/resort fees. The union is right that hotel rooms are harder to clean after a few days, but at the end of the day, hotels will try to keep their profit margins.

  6. I have made it a point to call the hotel(s) in advance, ask what the current housekeeping standards are, only book where it is at least daily ‘upon request’ & then be sure to request daily service for all of the reasons cited by the union & in this article. I stayed @ an ES in Pasadena in Oct ’20 & couldn’t believe how filthy it was, especially the mountains of take-out trash piled up in the halls & elevator lobbies-and that was just from the guests who put their trash out! If the hotels want me to believe all their cootie theatrics about ‘cleanliness’, then the absolutely last thing they should have ever done was get rid of daily housekeeping.

  7. To add to my last comment, Airbnb, VRBO, etc already charge “cleaning fees,” so I would anticipate these being added on to hotel stays for brands like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt Regency, etc. For luxury brands (St Regis, Park Hyatt, Waldorf, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, etc), expect housekeeping to be included.

  8. I recently stayed at a hotel which pressured me into “every other day” cleaning. Just one problem: they missed my room on the 2nd day, and never corrected the issue on the 3rd day. I basically went my entire stay with zero housekeeping.

    The overflowing trash cans is one thing, the lack of replacement coffee pods is even worse.

  9. @Pat You use the coffeemaker? Most of them are disgusting. My buddy travels with his own small Mr Coffee coffeemaker.

  10. I think with this news today from the CDC that “monkeypox” may start spreading in the USA if it doesn’t get under control in Europe, it will give hotels even more reasons not to clean rooms, especially daily.

  11. For my own personal stays, I don’t mind not having housekeeping and actually generally prefer it. It’s nice not to have to worry about housekeeping coming when you are in the room in the middle of something. That said, I rarely spend more than 3 nights in the same hotel, and I rarely eat in the room.

    HOWEVER, I tend to stay in “no-frills’ places and in the past 9 months I’ve revisited several hotels that I was happy with pre-pandemic and seen roaches in the rooms. Presumably this is from people leaving their food waste in the room for days without any housekeeping. I’ve started checking recent reviews for places that I even previously knew well, and oftentimes end up booking some place else. It’s a shame because a lot of these places are going to need more than daily housekeeping to fully get rid of the pests that have moved in.

  12. “The best thing to do is always to leave a bad review for hotels which can’t be bothered to clean their rooms.”

    The best thing to do is not stay in hotels which can’t be bothered to clean their rooms and also leave bad reviews.

  13. Last week, I stayed at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta. I was frustrated when they did not allow me to request housekeeping during my stay, saying that I needed to stay for at least five days for housekeeping to visit my room. Prior to this, I had thought that housekeeping was always still available upon request, but now I know that many hotels do not even let you request daily housekeeping.

  14. Another manifestation of property owner tight-fistedness. And, another reason why I abandoned the ¨big hotel chain¨ world. Given everything they are doing to cut costs, one has to wonder what they are doing with the food. Do we *really* want a tier status free breakfast at these properties? Whatever you do, do not order a milk shake (Gary´s turn to laugh).

    See the recent MtM video article about the Bellagio stay . . . raw sewage backed up in the bathtub . . . not cleaned by housekeeping. Are you (stinkin´) kidding me?

    I will stick to properties that gladly offer twice-a-day housekeeping . . . and I will gladly pay up for it.

  15. Daily room cleaning is the base line standard. Properties need to restore this if they don’t have it. Otherwise, I can stay at a Airbnb.

  16. A pro tip here for @FNT Delta Diamond… Most people reuse vibrators, so if you found a “used” one in your room in Miami, it was still probably perfectly fine. It seems that the owner had a nice stay and probably would like to get it back. If you ever acquire a vibrator, feel free to use it as many times as you want. A prophylactic; however, that’s a different story. They’re one and done. Do not reuse.

  17. Recently stayed at the Movenpick in Amsterdam. We didn’t exactly tidy up our room as we weren’t expecting daily housekeeping. After returning from a day around the canals, we were pleasantly surprised to come back to a room with empty trash receptacle, made up bed and clean towels.

    In the past two years we have not experienced this with a Marriot stay or different DoubleTree hotels around the USA. What a pleasant surprise while staying at the Movenpick!

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