The Dirty Little Secret Of Chain Hotels Bringing Back Daily Housekeeping

During the pandemic hotels used the excuse of not wanted to enter a guest’s space to cut housekeeping services. When guests returned, hotel owners liked their lower costs, and didn’t want to bring back full housekeeping. But it’s something that guests expect.

Hilton’s CEO defends not offering full housekeeping. He’s said “When you’re at home, do you change your sheets every day? Do you wash your towels every day? … No.” But hotel stays aren’t the same as being at home, if they were you’d just book an Airbnb.

The middle ground chains have largely landed on is bringing back the option of housekeeping, rather than making it something every hotel has to do every day. And many guests won’t proactively request it.

Some chains are even making daily housekeeping the default again. At least in theory.

Marriott even offers the opt-in or out of housekeeping as a radio button choice when making your reservation on their website for U.S. and Canada properties. Not in my experience any hotel, ever looks at – let alone acts on – these preferences. Still, housekeeping is supposed to be standard.

Daily cleaning is now standard at all premium-tier properties for stays of two nights or more and every other day cleaning at select service and extended stay brands for stays of three nights or more. Obviously, rooms will be cleaned between guests for stays of shorter lengths. If you do not want daily or every other day cleaning, you must opt out.

That may not be how things work in practice and the housekeeping you receive may not be the housekeeping you’ve come to expect.

Marriott’s Westin Annapolis is clear that you can have the choice for housekeeping and they’ve even brought back ‘Make a Green Choice’ to discourage the housekeeping expense – albeit the current version is a lot less generous than Starwood’s used to be. But read a little closer to see what housekeeping consists of.

They will make the bed (not change sheets), replace towels, and take out trash. They’ll restock the coffee, but ‘supplies’ are pretty limited since most properties are using wall-mounted toiletries anyway.

I asked Marriott if this is what they mean by housekeeping. They confirmed that the Westin Annapolis “is in compliance.”

Even making housekeeping optional sounds good in theory, ‘guests are empowered’, but many guests won’t incur the cost of remembering to ask and then making the actual request for housekeeping. And they have to ask. Some will be bashful about it.

United Airlines figured out they could save money on food and beverage service in business class by eliminating the ‘wine flights’ where they offered to let customers try different wines, and by eliminating dessert carts. Putting the choice in front of the passenger encouraged consumption. Making customers ask discouraged consumption. And in the process they turned an indulgent service into a workmanlike one. Hotels are a more competitive space than airlines, and Airbnb looms large.

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. We’ve already established Airbnb sucks. It doesn’t loom any larger than Trump’s manhood, which we know from the revelations of an adult actress, is mushroom like.

  2. Well said. What troubles me is that the people making these policies are presumably not stupid but acting in such a shortsighted fashion really is stupid.

  3. Yes but my towels at home are much thicker than those razor thin rags hotels provide…..

  4. Distinguishing between true luxury and simply expensive, luxury hotels never discontinued top quality room service. For some, there is comfort.

  5. 100+ plus nights in hotels a year and I say: that’s too bad. Wish house-keeping on request would become the standard.

    No need for it. No need for someone to enter my room everyday. No need for wasted supplies, energy and water. No need for the housekeeper to re-arrange the stuff I had purposefully moved to make my stay comfortable. Etc.

  6. I like housekeeping to replenish the toilet paper and/or Kleenex. I suppose that I could always ask the front desk for that.

    Most hotels don’t change sheets daily. Towel changes are not absolutely necessary for me unless I throw towels on the floor.

  7. I’d be happy if the default service included “make the bed, replace towels, take out trash, and restock the coffee”. Better still if I don’t have to make a specific request or pay $/day for it.

  8. Utterly pointless article. Hotel rooms don’t need daily housekeeping. I stay a around 70 to 100 nights a year. Already up to 90 this year. I put the do not disturb light on and get the house keeping done every 3 days. You don’t need new towels every day. Anything you need you can request. It’s better for the environment. Keeps hotel costs down and I personally don’t like people in my room anyway.

  9. In this case, the “green choice” is the green they save on paying housekeepers, not in support of the fake theory of global warming.

  10. @DaninMCI, where did you learn that global warming is fake? Climate change is very much real and affected by human activity. It is morally incumbent on us all to conserve, to reuse and recycle, because the waste of single-use and the pollution generated by our activities makes our planet less habitable for future generations.

    The scientific consensus is clear that human activity worsens climate change. There are reams of peer-reviewed papers, empirical research, to this effect. It also makes sense under basic physical laws of thermodynamics.

    Where did you learn that global warming is fake? Could you be brainwashed by partisan sources? Their motivations are to earn money and fame at your and your childrens’ expense.

    The science is clear and nonpartisan on this issue. Climate change is real. Humans cause climate change.

    Failure to acknowledge the above when presented with the basic facts, speaks volumes about one’s intellect or lack thereof. Surely you consider yourself a smart individual, DaninMCI?

    Climate change is real. Humans cause climate change.

  11. You are making the assumption that the room was properly cleaned and stocked from the previous guest…

    I average 130 nights a year in the mid to lower range hotels. Average stay is 2 nights.

    I stopped using Hilton at several locations due to crappy rooms on check-in.
    Hyatt has been a crapshoot.
    There nothing better than getting into a hotel at the end of a long day and having to do the housekeeping supervisor’s job for them. Dirty sheets, missing towels, no coffee, etc .

  12. Gary,

    As many point out, your constant mention of Airbnb in these articles is missing the point

    1) Airbnb first and foremost used to offer a cost advantage – in many markets, that’s not the case, especially with cleaning fees

    2) However Airbnb (or VRBO or whatever) is much better for certain kind of stays, like group travel (bachelor / bachelorette parties, large families traveling where a fridge is required, etc). These options have been available for a long time, whether vacation rentals, timeshare, etc. Airbnb allowed more of them to be built and marketed

    3) Hotels still can provide a ton of convenience over Airbnbs without daily housekeeping. On-site restaurants, gyms, convenience shops, proximity to meetings or events, etc.

    Airbnb has grown the accommodation market significantly in the US, and hotel demand continues to be strong so a lot of room for all of it

  13. Climate change is totally overblown. Hoax to juice up funding for EV companies and other alternative energy producers.

    You can cite all the peer reviewed journals you’d like -bull science just like the studies overhyping efficacy of the vax

  14. Rakesh & Wahoonc: what kind of work do you do? Are you consultants? Salesmen?
    I’m not trying to pry, I just can’t imagine a job that requires so much travel. It blows my mind!
    Is it a hard life?
    All that time in Airports, ugh, I do not like airports. Please let me know in general what kind of work you do.
    My brother was in real estate for years in the before times and had to travel constantly “to check on properties.” I think he’s really a CIA hit man like in that movie
    “The Accountant.” LOL
    He sure built up a lot of hotel points!
    And government benefits…..

  15. @JorgeGeorge Perez

    I work in industrial construction. We have projects that are national accounts. We visit the sites prior to project start-up, then every 2-3 weeks until it is completed. We currently are covering projects in 11 states. My peak year was 2010 when I spent 289 days on the road. We don’t always fly, if a closer to home I am more than willing to drive.

  16. This whole housekeeping or lack of, is just disgusting! Many hotels are significantly more expensive than 2019. I do a lot of 1 night stays. I expect clean sheets and I check them before using the bed. Along with a bedbug check. As for longer stays, I expect the towels to be replaced. I do not re-use towels. Too easy in multi member family to mix up towels, which is disgusting.

    If I stay in a 4 or 5 star property, I expect housekeeping everyday. No ifs, ands, or buts! I will avoid any hotel that does this skimping. And I already avoid Marriotts like the plague.

  17. I do not mind if there is not daily housekeeping, in some ways I prefer that. However, if I would like fresh towels, I expect them to be available and timely. Same with other amenities. I also expect a super deep clean in between guests which I would suggest is reasonable if the room is being cleaned less often. Unfortunately, I have had hotel rooms lately where I questions the quality of cleaning between guests. Seems like a quick clean may be becoming a mind-set which is NOT okay.

  18. Hotel rooms are already unsanitary because housekeeping deals with what is observable rather than actual cleaning. If a hotel doesn’t provide daily housekeeping they should pass on the savings to the customer via a lower rate.

  19. I usually stay 3-4 nights in a hotel, per stay – I have no need for daily housekeeping. If I need something, I can catch the person doing housekeeping and ask for what I need – or I call the front desk. I always leave the room tidy – only privileged slobs seem to need the extra attention and they always leave their room a mess. To “Actual Statistician” – the condescending crap you post is why real Americans hate lying liberals. The name you use here should be “Actual Ignorant Asshole”. GFY

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