TPG Readers Discuss: Has Housekeeping in the US Gotten Slower?

Apr 12, 2018

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Have you ever wondered what’s going on with your hotel housekeeping service? Have you come home from a long workday only to find your dirty towels still on the floor and your sheets still tangled up in knots? Or on the other hand, have you been awoken far too early by overeager cleaning staff?

TPG Lounge reader Anthony L. recently asked:

Has anyone else noticed that U.S. hotels — whether chain or independent — seem to be servicing (cleaning) rooms later and later (and often forgetting to service rooms)? I’ll sometimes travel for work and be out and about all day, and all I want is to relax for a bit at 4:30 PM, but the room still won’t have been serviced. When you ask, the hotel will say, “Oh, we have until 5:30!” I think that’s crazy.

If you complain, the first thing the reception will often do is condescendingly ask, “Oh, did you have your ‘do not disturb’ or ‘make a green choice’ sign up?” Umm, no, I did not, because I wanted to have service.

In contrast, in Paris or many European or Japanese cities, I often find check-in time is at 2 PM (in the U.S., it’s often 4 PM), and the room is almost always serviced much earlier in the afternoon.

Has anyone else noticed this?

TPG readers chimed in with their own experiences:

Service no longer is what it used to be

I noticed this too. I was at a business conference recently, and my room wasn’t even started by 2 pm on some days. – Jessica S.

Arrived back at my hotel room in Nashville one night last October to find it unserviced. Marriott paid me a chunk of change. – Patrick K.

This issue has been a pet peeve. Coming back to the room @ 3:30 to get ready for evening activities and the room has not been touched after having left for the day at 7:30 am. Once @ Hilton Burlington VT they completely skipped our room. If this were some $75 motel room I might think, “Well, you get what you pay for”. But this was room that, with taxes and upgrades, was almost $400 a night. – Jennifer R.

It happened to me three out of five days in Orlando with my family. At 5 pm the room was undone and one day we declined service (with 2 kids and wanting to relax). Two times I texted the Hilton number who made sure they serviced the room while at dinner. – Klaus B.

We were in Atlanta two weeks ago when the room we had been assigned hadn’t been serviced at all. Mind you, we checked in at 11:30 at night, but we were still assigned a dirty room. Emailed Hyatt and got 10k in points back . Only spent 5k to stay at this place so worked out for us in the end, I suppose! – Yami M.

I get it both ways. They’re always knocking on doors by 8 am, and yet when I get back from a construction site at 3, my room is often untouched. Had a major falling out with a Hilton property, though, that still didn’t service my room the day after I complained they had left it filthy from the *last* guest. “We’re so sorry,” but then I gave them an entire day to try again and they didn’t bother. – Sarah K.

Happened to me last week. Returned to room at 9:30pm and the Please Make Up Room sign was still hanging on door. – Suze M.

YES! I’ve noticed. My husband always calls and ask “Why did you skip our room?” They usually lecture him “The day is not over.” – Paula W.

Yep. They didn’t get to my room 3 days in a row when I needed service. I was gone all three days for almost entire day. – Sarah G. 

I’m cool with it

I’ll just take the 500 points to “Go Green” and they can leave my room alone ☺️ – Ben T. 

I’ve had this happen but it’s a easy request from the front desk. Never an issue when I’ve had to ask. I’m a Hilton guy so my experience is within that chain mostly, but the staff has actually been very happy when I let them know my schedule. During check-in or booking, I mention I’ll be out by 9am during my stay, and request the room be serviced by 3pm at the latest. I think they appreciate the heads-up. – Son V.

I tend to have more the opposite problem. I’m not a morning person and don’t care to have housekeeping arriving at 9 am wanting to clean the room. Especially when jetlagged. – Ross B.

I had a housekeeping woman try to come into the room at 8AM in Germany this summer. Did not love that wakeup call. – Jake P.

I had housekeeping knock on my door at 8:15am a few weeks back. I was blown away…and annoyed. – Dave M.

I don’t know…  I paid for late-check out, but had room service try to open my door multiple times. I put the bar across, but it’s scary to have your door opened, and annoying when you paid for it. – Stephanie H.

I’m not even a stickler for making the bed every day at home, so I don’t want someone coming into my room every day to do it when I’m at a hotel. As long as I have clean towels and clean sheets every few days, I’m good. I have bigger things to worry about. *shrug* I guess different strokes for different folks. I find the housekeeping staff appreciates my low maintenance. – Anthony R.

I stayed at a hotel in Berlin that had an interesting way of handling housekeeping. The default was to NOT service the room. If you wanted your room serviced, you simply needed to flip a door tag by a certain time (I think it was noon). No issues with late servicing. – Chris G.

I’ve had Hilton & Marriott knocking on the door @ 7:15 am to clean the room (despite the Do Not Disturb signs). – Jan B.

Personally I’d rather have my room cleaned later, after I’ve gone out than having them knocking on my door trying to push me out. Even if the hanger is out. Think all this is a personal preference. – Lisa W.

Most of my stays are short and I don’t particularly care about having my bed made, so I typically take the “green choice” points, but my wife and I were staying at the Prince De Galles in Paris last September, and it blew our minds how efficient their house keeping was. We didn’t have house keeping knock on our door when we were in the room a single time, but whenever we’d return there was always some service that had been done. They were like housekeeping ninjas. Lol. – Dave W.

I usually have the opposite. Knocks of the door at 8:30 trying to clean me up in the bed. What hotel brands have given you issues? 5:30 seems way late to me. – Trevor S.

What’s really going on? 

Some readers had insight to offer on housekeeping policies and practices in this day and age:

Actually did see this and asked about it at a hotel in Jersey City where I stayed a LOT. It’s a combination of lower staffing levels and a trend in people leaving rooms later in AM plus noise complaints. Some locations don’t even start housekeeping now until 10 and do turnovers first. Came back from client early one day and noticed no housekeeping, at that point was on good terms with the GM and asked him that night and he told me how they did it. Especially makes sense given the mix of business and tourists they have there. He said its far more common for people to leave around 10 and be back after 5 than the old 8-3 schedule. – Jeff L.

This was an explanation I got a few years ago as well. It makes sense. I find the more expensive the brand, the more often this happens. At a Best Western or low end Marriott/Hilton, they are knocking on your door at 8 am. Ugh. – Jeff D.

I think the problem is more getting help at the price they want to pay a housekeeper. I had one hotel where they were cleaning until almost 9pm one night because they just didn’t have the help. I think some hotels are doing the “bonus” points if you don’t get service just to help out on staffing, not always the “go green” they say, it just sounds better. – Scott P.

It’s all the late check-out perks. – Oric E.

It’s cheaper to have X people do every room by 5:30 PM than have 2*X people do every room by 1:30 PM. Not to mention the number of people who will say “forget it just towels” later in the day which results in not having to pay for any service at all. – Justin G.

What can we do? 

Other readers had good suggestions on how to handle the housekeeping situation moving forward.

Just call the house keeping and let them know it’d be super convenient if they did your room in the next hour or so, when you leave. Never had problems with that. – Mattias S.

I have found that Tweeting my problem gets much quicker resolution than dealing with the hotel people. – Lisa A.

The whole hotel landscape is changing from major upscale brands to select service hotels. Hilton has their digital check in and other fancy things in the app, Marriott has the messaging system. Use these things to your advantage and communicate with the staff at the hotel so they are aware of your personal schedule and likes and dislikes. Different hotel brands are targeting different types of travelers now much more than the Leisure and Business types of the past. Those hotels will differ in many ways of other hotels in the same brand. – Matt B.

Having worked in the hotel industry, [communicating a guest’s preferences] is one of the most frustrating aspects of communication between front desk and housekeeping. If the late checkout request is made before the AM housekeeping supervisor arrives on site to print out their daily reports (usually 7am-ish), they shouldn’t bother you. If you make the request after that, then most likely the communication will be lost unless you’re staying at a five-star hotel or resort, where the front desk will take ownership and find a housekeeping supervisor who will then let the housekeeping attendant assigned to your room know about the late check-out. Your safest bet is to request a late checkout the night before without having the staff bother you. – Mike P.

Ask for the general manager, and clearly state your needs. – Frank I.

Featured photo by the Rosewood Bermuda.

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