Are Hotels Going To Start Charging For Daily Housekeeping?

Hilton permanently eliminated daily housekeeping at U.S. non-luxury (Waldorf, Conrad, and LXR) brands. It’s supposed to remain available ‘on request’. But will it remain… free (included in the room rate)? Charging for housekeeping is the next logical step, and one hotel consultants are talking about.

Hotel owners want lower costs, which they can get by paying for fewer housekeeping. That’s why Marriott’s CEO sees the elimination of housekeeping services during stays as permanent. One major hotel owner has started adding a housekeeping fee to guest folios. Could this idea spread? According to hotel consultant Rachel Roginsky,

This would run counter to hotels’ own best interests.

Without housekeepers, one Marriott found itself unable to clean rooms for guests checking in. So one guest found himself sleeping in an uncleaned room – there is a huge disconnect between cutting back on housekeeping and a commitment to clean.

By eliminating services, hotels are giving up their differentiation with Airbnb. If hotels don’t provide a unique experience then guests might as well look elsewhere. In other words hotels may lose more revenue than they save in costs.

Eliminating housekeeping spills over into cleanliness of the whole property, and degrades common spaces and guest experience even beyond the room.

It doesn’t make sense to charge guests for housekeeping, because cleaning a guest room is a public good for the hotel benefiting other guests as much as the guest receiving the service.

One major Hilton and Marriott owner wants to make lodging more like an ultra-low cost airline. That’s the direction some chains are headed at the behest of short-sighted REIT investors. But it’s going to drive customers away. Charging for housekeeping services will mean less revenue for the hotel.

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