As hotels consider phasing out daily room cleaning for good to help offset worker shortages, one hotel chain has taken the plunge. Hilton Hotels announced this month that its U.S. properties will not clean rooms on request, until the fifth day of the stay.
Luxury Hilton hotels, including the Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, and LXR, are exempt from this plan, as are international hotels.
Hotels are defending less cleaning, saying many guests do not want housekeepers to enter their rooms due to the risk of the spread of COVID-19. But critics of this new housekeeping plan say people concerned about germs are more likely to stay at an Airbnb, which traditionally doesn’t offer daily cleaning. They wonder why people would pay the price for a full service hotel if they don’t get full service.
Guests expect cleanliness when checking into a hotel. According to a report by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, guests said improving cleaning and hygiene practices was the second most important factor in their choice of hotels, after price. Critics question whether hotels are rejecting a key guest expectation to save money.
According to the US Department of Labor, the country’s hotel industry has lost 2.2 million jobs since 2019, prompting some hotel companies to downsize, mainly housekeepers.
About 40% of jobs in the hotel and housework industry, or nearly 200,000 workers, are at risk of being permanently eliminated, according to the Unite Here union. He adds that 73% of American hotel cleaners are Hispanic or Latino, Black, Asian or Native American.
Union leaders have vowed to fight back and are encouraging hotel guests to insist that their rooms be cleaned frequently.