Whether out of necessity due to staffing shortages, out of respect for social distancing or perhaps just to save money, one of the primary amenities that sets a hotel apart from your home — daily housekeeping — is disappearing.
The days of returning to a wrinkle-free duvet are likely gone. Forget fresh towels, and accept that your trash might never get taken out during your stay.
The trend of no more daily housekeeping — while largely initiated by COVID-19 — has become the norm at many hotels. During the pandemic’s early days, when transmission was more of a mystery, many hotels cut housekeeping services to reduce contact between strangers. But more than two years later, housekeeping still hasn’t returned.
Marriott’s policies vary by property, but housekeeping is usually offered only upon request, with all rooms cleaned automatically every sixth night. Hilton’s default is no more daily cleanings at most properties unless requested. Walt Disney World reduced service to light housekeeping every other day. That entails towel replacement and trash removal but doesn’t necessarily include services you might expect, like getting your bed made.
Other hotels have schedules, like the Hotel Solares in Santa Cruz, California: Three-night stays or fewer don’t get service, while six-night stays or fewer are cleaned once. The hotel recommends you leave trash outside your door.
Those service reductions aren’t always welcome.
“Guests don’t want to have to ask every time they need their trash emptied or dirty towels replaced,” said D. Taylor, international president of Unite Here — a U.S. and Canada hospitality workers’ union — in a prepared statement. “Without cleaning, what stops a hotel from being just a more expensive Airbnb?”
WHY CUT HOTEL HOUSEKEEPING?
In many cases, the cutbacks may be more about money than safety. For some hotels, there’s not enough money to cover the cost. For others, it’s an opportunity to make more of it.
LABOR AND MATERIAL COSTS ARE AT MASSIVE HIGHS
The nationwide labor and materials shortage has hit hotels particularly hard. For instance, the leisure and hospitality industry lost 8.2 million jobs in March and April 2020 which is an employment decline of 49% , according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there has certainly been rehiring hope (travel-related jobs are now among the fastest-growing sectors lately), the industry is still about 1.5 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic levels.