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.