Hotels may adopt permanent elimination of daily housekeeping service

I used to travel four or five times a year where I stayed in hotels. I continued that a bit during the pandemic. Hotels suspended daily housekeeping services unless you request them. Now that things are loosening up the policy hasn’t changed. It seems the companies operating hotels came to the conclusion people don’t mind not having the daily service and the policy may become permanent. This will have a massive impact on low skill employment that provide people entry into our economy.

In May 2020, as Covid-19 surged in the U.S. and the travel and hospitality industries cratered, the chief executive of Host Hotels & Resorts Inc., HST -0.48% a large operator of Hyatt and Marriott hotels, described the pandemic “truly as an opportunity to redefine the hotel operating model.”

CEO Jim Risoleo said the hotel chain planned to limit housekeeping at many of its properties and reconfigure its food and beverage operations. “It is really going to be opt in to housekeeping services as opposed to opt out going forward,” he said during a November call with analysts and investors. The company also reduced management staff by 30% in 2020 in its food and beverage department and said the changes would be permanent. The company didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Other chains are moving in the same direction, partly to address current challenges in hiring staff. Last week Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. HLT -0.35% announced a CleanStay program, saying that most of its U.S. properties are adopting “a flexible housekeeping policy,” with daily service available upon request. “Full deep cleanings will be conducted prior to check-in and on every fifth day for extended stays,” it said.

Daily housekeeping will still be free for those who request it. But Hilton businesses “will be higher-margin and require less labor than they did pre-Covid,” CEO Christopher Nassetta said on a conference call in February. The company declined to comment on how many fewer housekeepers it would employ once all the changes are implemented.

Wall Street Journal
Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay