Daily housekeeping, one of the key things that separates a hotel from home, is slowly disappearing or at least diminishing. This might be due to a shortage of employees, a desire to maintain social distance, or just a need to save money.
Even though COVID-19 was mainly responsible for the shift away from everyday housekeeping, it has now become the standard in many hotels. During the early stages of the pandemic, when the mode of transmission was unknown, several hotels stopped cleaning services to limit contact between strangers. However, the housekeeping work has not returned even after more than two years.
In Marriott hotels the housekeeping service is available upon request, although all rooms are cleaned every six nights. The same is true for Hilton properties.
Walt Disney World has decreased services to minimal cleanings such as towel replacement and garbage removal. Other hotels, such as Hotel Solares in Santa Cruz, Calif., have schedules: stays of three nights or less receive no service, whereas stays of six nights or fewer receive one cleaning. The hotel suggests leaving waste outside the room door.
“Customers don’t want to have to ask every time they need to empty their trash cans or replace their dirty towels. Without cleaning, what stops a hotel from being just a more expensive Airbnb?” asks D. Taylor, international president of Unite Here – a US and Canadian labor union.
Cutbacks in housekeeping may be motivated by money rather than security in many circumstances. Some hotels may not have enough money to cover their expenses. Others see it as a mere chance to do less.