Less Housekeeping, More Perks

This WSJ article mentions a new trend in the hotel guest experience.  Hotels are offering discounts or rewards for guests who opt out of housekeeping service during the stay.
For example, Starwood’s “Make a Green Choice” program offers $5 credit or 500 Starpoints. A spokesperson for Starwood mentions that 8.5% of guests take advantage of the program.

The program saves the hotel a lot of money in labor costs, but it doesn’t really do much for the guest experience.  For guests who did opt out of housekeeping service, the hotel probably won’t know if the guests need new bath amenities until they request it.  Housekeepers won’t have that opportunity to check all the lights to make sure they are functional except at the beginning of the stay.  The hotel would not have the chance to anticipate needs and proactively fulfill them.

However, maybe the program does improve the guest experience, because it offers a choice.  Often during two-night stays, I’ve never really felt that stayover service was necessary.  I may not opt out at $5, since the feeling of returning to a clean organized room is worth $5 to me.  For a $20 discount, which is what the Marmara Manhattan offers, I’d probably participate.

I don’t really buy it as a green program, even though it is.  Although I know that the guests who participate will definitely use less soap, and housekeepers would not need to use cleaning supplies for that room that day, my immediate reaction is similar to the WSJ headline “Less Housekeeping”, which translates to lazy housekeeping in my mind.  Once, my brother-in-law, while opting out of getting his towels changed, pointed out that the hotel claims they are green so they could avoid washing your towels.  With such programs, the financial benefits to the hotel are so obvious that it sort of outweighs the environmental benefits.  Even so, my brother-in-law still opted out of getting his towels changed and would probably also opt out of stayover service because that “green” choice was offered.

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