One of the impacts of the pandemic was of course a reduction in housekeeping. It was for safety reasons and ultimately due to a shortage of housekeepers. According to Gary Leff of “View from the Wing,” at least one brand is going back to the old days of housekeeping—Hilton, and at least with some of its brands.
According to an internal Hilton communication reviewed by View From The Wing, “Daily housekeeping will be a brand standard at all full-service hotels, and every other day at limited-service properties though in both cases either more or less housekeeping will be at the direction of the guest. Housekeeping, deep cleaning, and maintenance standards will be as follows:
Effective October 1, 2023, the following will be required under Brand Standards 722.04 and 722.05:
- Full Service/Lifestyle/Embassy Suites: Stayover housekeeping will be provided to all occupied rooms daily or as requested by the guest. Full cleaning will be provided after the 4th night on the 5th day, and upon guest check-out.
- Focused Service/Homewood Suites/Home2 Suites: Stayover housekeeping service will be provided to all occupied rooms every other day or as requested by the guest. For example, the first stayover clean would occur after the 2nd night on the 3rd day. Full cleaning will be provided after the 4th night on the 5th day, and upon guest check-out. Note: if a Focused Service, Homewood or Home2 property wishes to return to daily, they may do so without a waiver.
- Luxury: Stayover housekeeping will be provided to all occupied rooms daily or as requested by the guest. All guestrooms must be fully serviced, cleaned and inspected after every 3rd night on the 4th day, or upon guest request, and upon guest check-out. Housekeeping cleaning protocols will be refreshed to align with the brand service standards.”
Hilton says it will make new towel product—from supplier Sobel Linen Co.—available across all brands in the U.S., Canada and Caribbean on a rolling basis and will be in touch with hotels when it is time to order. In the meantime, hotels should allow the current program to wind down by exhausting existing supply. According to Hilton, the new towel program uses innovative technology so that towels grow plusher through washing, providing the feel of a heavier, more luxurious product. The terry offers up to a 50 percent longer lifespan (from 60 to 80 washes currently to 100 to 120 washes) and improvements to the inventory system with purchasing notifications and color-coded tags to help Team Members know when to replace towels.
“We anticipate product cost savings ranging from 3 to 20 percent depending on brand,” Hilton says. In addition, Hilton will invest in this program with owners by funding 20 percent of the cost for a limited time, once the product is ready for ordering at hotels.
In addition to changes in housekeeping procedures, Hilton says it has reinvigorated its Standards around Deep Cleaning and Preventative Maintenance (Brand Standards 722.07 and 721.0). Beginning January 1, 2024, hotels globally will be required to conduct deep cleaning on every room at a minimum of two times per year and preventative maintenance (PM) on every room at a minimum of two times per year.
Hilton’s previous decision to scale back its housekeeping was too much for its brands and diminished the guest experience. Increasing the cleaning frequency of linens and towels will of course have a negative environmental impact while using a sturdier towel will have positive benefits. In regard to the stepping up of deep cleaning and PM in every room, I am surprised that Hilton has only been requiring it once a year. There are many environmental benefits to frequent PM.