Home Cleaning & Maintenance Housekeepers Reveal Toll of New Hotel Cleaning Policies in Digital Ad Campaign

Housekeepers Reveal Toll of New Hotel Cleaning Policies in Digital Ad Campaign


NEW YORK—Hotel housekeepers are sharing stories about filthy rooms, painful workloads, and lost income as they ask guests to choose daily housekeeping in a new digital ad campaign by the hotel workers’ union UNITE HERE. The ads launched Monday, May 16 and will be served to frequent travelers and bookers of business meetings.

Hotel guests might think it helps workers to skip cleaning, but housekeepers report that hotel brands’ decision to end automatic daily housekeeping makes rooms dirtier and harder to clean while also cutting jobs. Ads feature housekeepers from Marriott, Hilton, Caesars Entertainment, and more coming off shifts and sharing how the new policy has impacted them.

“Now we don’t clean the rooms every day, and the rooms are dirtier,” says Gloria Rodriguez, a housekeeper at Marriott’s Westin Gaslamp San Diego, in one of the ads. “There’s more trash, more grease in the bathtub, more towels. It’s more difficult. The guests think it’s better for me to not clean the room, but it’s not.”

“It’s strenuous on the body and it’s also strenuous with home effects as well,” says Luanna Molley, a housekeeper at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, in another of the ads. “When I get home from work, I’m taking Tylenol 600s every day for the pain for my lower back. I cannot help my son with his homework at times. Sometimes I cannot walk the dogs, and I have to let them go out front and come right back.”

Many Jobs, Wages Lost

In hotels where daily room cleaning has been eliminated, housekeepers have reported rushing, skipping breaks, stress, fatigue, physical pain, and increased reliance on pain medication. UNITE HERE estimates that ending daily housekeeping industrywide would eliminate up to 39 percent of all U.S. hotel housekeeping jobs and cost housekeepers—overwhelmingly women of color—$4.8 billion in annual lost wages. Learn more in UNITE HERE’s “Playing Dirty” report.

“We want travelers to know that getting your hotel room cleaned every day is a free and easy way to help housekeepers,” said D. Taylor, International President of UNITE HERE. “Hotel guests might not realize that housekeepers want to clean your room every day, and some might even think it helps them when you skip cleaning. Major hotel companies are shortchanging customers and their dedicated staff in a bid for an extra buck. These changes to standard services are reducing mid-tier and luxury hotels to levels of service no better than ‘limited-service’ hotels. It’s damning to an industry that runs on hospitality.”

UNITE HERE has secured daily room cleaning protections in key markets including New York City, Washington D.C., and Las Vegas and will continue working to ensure that guests and housekeepers across the U.S. and Canada can expect daily disinfection for no extra charge.