- Many hotels were forced to slash services during the pandemic.
- Suspension of daily housekeeping was one of the options for many hotels.
- Hilton was one of the first to come out with a formal stance on housekeeping.
Hotels struggled to remain upright in 2020: just breaking even was considered a monumental feat. In order to do so, many hotels were forced with the unenviable—though necessary—task of slashing services where they could.
One of the most remarkable was and continues to be the suspension of daily housekeeping at many hotels. The service, once taken for granted by guests, became an on-request deliverable and typically not offered until multiple days after a check-in.
Hilton was one of the first to come out with a formal stance on housekeeping, but most brands followed, either stating so in the public domain or informing customers when they checked in. The measure was ostensibly a strategy to limit guests and staff against exposure to COVID-19, but it, too, was deemed a money saver, limiting housekeeper hours.
Some say that the move to on-request housekeeping is one in what could be a cascade of services and amenities unbundling, similar to how the airlines operate, where there is a cost attached to various things that used to be complimentary.
Does the shift have real impact on the bottom line—saving money and boosting profits? Will it continue as occupancies rise? What do guests think?
Like most aspects of the hotel industry, the issue is more complex than one might think at first glance.