Hotels Have Eliminated 102,000 Housekeeping Jobs

Hotels have eliminated daily housekeeping in many cases. All except the top luxury brands won’t automatically clean your room every day, or if they do it’s a ‘light service’ making the bed and swapping out towels on the floor. That means they don’t need to hire as many housekeepers, and a single housekeeper can service more rooms.

How big of a cost savings is this across the industry? Hotels eliminated over 100,000 housekeeping jobs since the start of the pandemic, even as the hotel industry recovered into May 2022.

The total number of hotel-housekeeping jobs as of May 2022 was 364,990, a 22% decline from the total of 467,270 such positions during the same period in 2019, according to numbers released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hotels claim they’re just giving guests a choice not to have their room serviced, by making them ask for it. But guests had a choice before. They could always ask not to have their room serviced. Changing the default saves costs, making it more cumbersome for guests to get a service saves costs, and when they do ask for a room to be serviced hotels are doing less in the room than they used to to save costs. That way they don’t need to hire as many housekeepers.

One Hyatt Place actually says they “renounce” daily housekeeping. A Hyatt Regency makes guests fill out a form and place a phone call in order to get the housekeeping service they’re required to offer by the brand.

The problem for hotels, of course, is that they’re eliminating the things that make them different than an Airbnb and Airbnb has been their primary competitive threat. So squeezing customers in the short term – charging them higher room rates, while delivering them less – could well undermine the viability of their business over time.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. You’re going to wear out the pixels on that hallway photo one of these days.

  2. Unfortunately, it is the US that leads the way in such customer unfriendly initiatives while increasing room rates enormously. I have just returned from an extensive trip to Europe & Asia and nowhere did I encounter such petty steps from mainstream hotels (usually Marriiott & Hilton) that I stayed at. But here in the US, it is the Wild West and anything goes. What a shame.

  3. Good. I don’t want them in my room, messing with my stuff. I’m even that way in high-class Dubai hotels.

  4. YMMV. I checked in at Embassy Suites Chicago Magnificent Mile on Sunday and was asked whether I wanted housekeeping and how often. I actually did appreciate it that I was explicitly given the option. I selected every other day, which meant Monday and Wednesday on a 4-night stay. Worked out perfectly. On Monday, they cleaned while I was having my free “cooked to order” Embassy Suites breakfast, and on Wednesday they showed up as I was about leave the room. I could have declined the service if I changed my mind.

    Can’t beat that…, especially since as LT Diamond I also got upgraded to a King Corner Premium Suite at an-all suites property where upgrades to non-standard suites are not an official Diamonds perk.

  5. This seems like an objectively good thing in an overheated economy. It doesn’t align with your personal preference but that’s not the obligation of anybody in the value chain.

    I find your thesis that this will help Airbnb at hotels’ expense intriguing. Luckily, the stock market provides a place for you to exercise that thesis.

  6. I leave the room a wreck and dont tip. Why not. But thanks for the upgrade! #Diamond

  7. I do not think greed caused this. Most of the jobs eliminated were not ever going to be filled anyway. There is a major labor shortage in hospitality industry.

  8. I can’t fathom how this is a bad thing. I’m not a slob and capable of 1) Using a towel for more than 1 day and 2) Hanging it up. So I don’t care one bit if I get daily housekeeping.

    Under the old system, a LOT of people who placed no value in daily housekeeping were getting it anyway. Under the new system, the people daily housekeeping is important to can ask for it. My last check-in the hotel asked how often I wanted it and I just said if I needed it I’d let them know.

    Of course, it should be EASY to ask for housekeeping if you want it. I’m a Marriott guy and you can ask for it using the chat function in the app, which seems about as easy as it can get, although I suppose adding a preference to frequent traveler profiles would be easier.

  9. Chris, I also re-use towels. Trash should be taken out daily and some hotels are still providing tiny shampoo or shower gel bottles that can be depleted in a day, depending on how many people are staying with you.

  10. Do you take your trash out daily at home..?

    I bring my own shampoo, but maybe I’m just particular.

  11. These are not good for luxury brand if room are not looking good and clean who want to stay there it’s a worst scenario.

  12. Hey!

    Alan says:
    “These are not good for luxury brand if room are not looking good and clean who want to stay there it’s a worst scenario.”

    Ok? Nuff said?

  13. @Chris Raehl – I bet you have bigger trash cans at home than in your hotel room, and they aren’t just out in the open so that any food refuse begins to smell..?

  14. “So squeezing customers in the short term – charging them higher room rates, while delivering them less – could well undermine the viability of their business over time.”

    This is very true.

  15. This was always the endgame for hoteliers who told you that limiting housekeeping service was a necessity because: “COVID”. Like most other COVID trends, this was nothing but BS to fool the sheeple while the purveyors of said BS get a desired result. In this case, saving money by firing housekeepers.

    When will we learn to question everything we’re told?

  16. Maybe some people used to like reveling in being a slob in a hotel room knowing that someone would come in every day and clean up after them, but I fail to see what the big deal is here. It may have been a bit more of an issue earlier in COVID when restaurants were not open and more meals were being eaten in hotel rooms, thus generating more trash that was left in hotel hallways, but on recent hotel stays I have not noticed this as much and personally, I never liked having the stuff I left out rearranged every day, the bed remade not to my liking, cleaning of surfaces that was obviously superficial and thus basically pointless, someone knocking on the door while I was in the room and not waiting more than a nanosecond before coming in, etc etc. Plus it is simply wasteful to launder towels every day, and hotels were already moving away from that by only not laundering stuff if it wasn’t left on the floor. I do see how this has impacted the labor market for housekeeping services, but given the current labor shortages in the service sector I wonder how easy it would be to return to 2019 staffing anyway.

  17. What about between guests? Bad hygiene. Bacteria can rest on surfaces that make you sick. Bring your own hand wipes, disinfectant spray and sleep in your own sheets.

  18. There are no house keepers because the immigrants have been deported and Americans do not like to do this work.

  19. Great! Stay out of my room. I’ve spent over 2,000 nights in hotels. Go away!

  20. Airbnb: i read so many wack stories about airbnb i would want to be on the but end of them. While hotel/programs have their own issues it seems like a better chance to get some things resolved with the hotel. But then i just read about Marriot and tip stealing and luggage theft etc. so which devil you bring to the dance

  21. Housekeeping, like tipping (often linked) is a topic on this blog that evokes far more passion from some than one might reasonably expect.
    That said, hotels (in the US) found that COVID allowed them to cut back on many things, housekeeping being one such, and that folk didn’t kick up a stink. Of course at one point most folk just wanted other folk to stay away so not having housekeeping was a boon not a pain.
    I actually expect housekeeping. I pay reasonable rates for the hotels I stay in, and have a not unreasonable expectation that the bed will be made, the bathroom cleaned, clean towels, bins emptied etc. Consumables topped up too. Could I do much of this fior myself? Indeed yes, but why wouldn’t I just stay home for free if I want to do that. Now that Global COVID Pandemic Crisis (vomiting sounds off, stage left) is officially over, hotels have no excuse. It’s just a greedy rip-off attempt.
    Those of us who travel a bit have a broader experience than domestic travelers, I think. I cannot imaging in my wildest dreams being asked if I wanted housekeeping at a Shangri-La hotel. But you don’t have to go to a level that high to see what simple customer service looks like when it comes to housekeeping. Best Western gave me a decent status match (doesn’t get you much) but I do like to reward companies that appreciate me and I have started to stay in Best Western and Best Western Plus hotels in the UK. Once you get outside the cities there are some quite decent hotels. Recently had three nights in the Buxton Lee Wood. Housekeeping was done by 11:00am, cheerful, efficient and no tips required or solicited. Just because we’ll put up with BS in the US doesn’t mean it has to be that way.

Comments are closed.