Did the Pandemic Permanently Eliminate Daily Hotel Room Cleaning?

Cost-cutting measures may put housekeeping jobs in danger

July 6, 2021

As tourists flock to hotels this summer, eager to make up for last year’s lost vacations, will they return to their rooms after a day of sightseeing to find freshly made beds, clean surfaces, and fresh towels?

More likely they will return to find their room in the same state they left it, with unmade beds, wet towels, and no replacement for the small, half-melted bar of soap. While this scenario was to be expected at the beginning of the pandemic as hotels suspended daily cleanings to protect workers and travelers from catching COVID-19, housekeeper and consumer advocates fear this reality will remain when the pandemic is over as hotels eliminate daily room cleaning as a cost-cutting measure, Forbes reports.

Although many hotels and their patrons welcome this change as a way or protect the environment by cutting down on laundry and cleaning product use, labor unions and other worker advocates are concerned this trend will eliminate housekeeper jobs. They say the housekeeper industry is made up of women and minorities who will struggle to support themselves post-pandemic. 

Consumer advocates fear people will pay the same, or higher, prices for hotel rooms but no longer receive amenities like clean rooms and toiletries. They speculate hotels may soon begin charging extra for daily room cleanings, adding to traveler fees. While some travelers don’t mind uncleaned rooms, others have reported difficulties such as waiting hours for clean towels or a bar of soap.

The advocates call for hotels to offer discounts, or extra bonus points, to travelers who want to forgo daily room cleanings, while keeping routine cleanings part of the standard cost of a room. This will help protect housekeeping jobs and ensure satisfied customers.

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