There’s no question hotels are struggling – many are closed, and yet occupancy rates for the ones still open remain at lows not seen prior to the pandemic. They’re going to have to do more, spend more, to bring guests back. That means investing in sneeze guards, and more cleaning products, and also spending more on marketing. But it comes at a time when hotels are struggling to meet their mortgage payments.
So it’s no surprise that hotel chains are looking at ways to cut costs any way they can. Marriott promoted using their mobile app for keyless entry to room, bypassing contact with the front desk, as one way to promote distancing. Yet it let hotel owners delay actually putting this feature in.
Expect hotels to look at ways to cut costs anywhere they can and to use coronavirus as an excuse. Even better when changing consumer preferences make it easier to impose cost savings. The Wall Street Journal reports on hotel chain efforts to fund enhanced cleanliness by cutting other amenities.
Many—including franchise-run chains—are cutting amenities such as daily housekeeping visits, hot breakfast buffets and even complimentary soaps and lotions. The moves may help defray the costs of sanitizers, protective face masks and antiviral cleaning devices for individual hotel owners.
“Lysol is the new luxury,” said Chekitan Dev, a professor in the hospitality school at Cornell University.
Choice Hotels “sees an opportunity in scaling back its hot breakfast options, a move that helps meet local food-service requirements and addresses customer concerns and expectations regarding hygiene.” They plan to offer cheaper prepackaged food instead of eggs and breakfast meat. This is explicitly tied to funding cleaning efforts, expecting “the savings on breakfast to offset the cost of products that hotel owners will need to buy to meet Choice’s new cleaning standards.”
Meanwhile Best Western is similarly working to be “cost neutral” as it rolls out greater cleaning investment.
Since it’s actually a cost saving measure, none of the chains have announced they’re backing off on the move to wall mounted bulk toiletries in the shower even though those are disgusting, shared across guests, and high touch.