Should you say "no" to housekeeping services when you stay in a hotel?
Some hotel chains are offering their guests that chance, with the claim that skipping everyday cleaning is good for the environment. But a recent Boston Globe report suggests that what hotels are really helping is their bottom line, not the Earth.
When a guest declines cleaning service, the hotel isn't just saving the supplies and water its housekeepers would have used. The hotel's owner is saving money by not paying the housekeeper to work for that time, too. What's worse? The room is still getting dirty, meaning that the housekeeping staff will have to work harder, and use more chemical cleaners, to get the room prepared in the same amount of time that they will have to clean the room after you check out.
Some chains offer guests an incentive to decline daily housekeeping, but if the incentive is reward points, those often don't cost the company real cash. You're saving corporate profits — and costing workers income — more than you are saving the planet.
At least Disney has been offering to kick back some of its savings as cash to its guests. Under a trial program, Walt Disney World hotels have been offering selected guests the choice to opt out of "mousekeeping" for their rooms, in exchange for gift cards. Disney has been offering cards adding up to $10 for each night of the stay, minus the last one, when mousekeeping is required to clean the room for the next guest.
Is skipping daily cleaning worth it? I've stayed in some hotels that no longer offer even the option daily cleaning services, with housekeeping coming just every other or every third day. And if you've stayed in an Airbnb or other alternate lodging, you've likely gotten used to cleaning up after yourself, too. I am sure that the hotel industry would love to find another way to cut costs by further reducing service without the public objecting. Soaking us for "resort fees" only goes so far. The environment provides a convenient excuse. There's nothing that companies love saving more than profits.
And consider this response from a reader:
500 (or whatever the hell it is) points is never "worth" it. ALWAYS get the housekeeping. Also, @WaltDisneyWorld isn't removing straws because it all of a sudden "loves the environment."— Greg (@greg_crowder) August 27, 2018
My advice? If you want to help the environment, be a responsible guest and enjoy the best possible experience, learn to tread lightly as you travel. Don't trash hotel rooms. Keep things straightened up, throw away your garbage, don't be wasteful in the shower or at the sink and do take up an offer to reuse a towel for a night to save on laundry. Use reusable bottles for water, walk when you can and use mass transit instead of private cars where possible. Eat less, don't smoke and don't buy souvenirs that will end up in a drawer, the closet, or the trash.
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