The hotel stay of the past has checked out

Richard Turen
You never know what you might find. Crisp, new bedding is a thing of the passé. This may be because it was once a time when hotel rooms were manned by housekeepers dressed in white uniforms.

The morning cleaning was thorough, and the evening cleaning included additional cleaning while we were away. It was easy to let maids know when we wanted our rooms cleaned. Staff were always available to help. There was always chocolate on the pillows at the end of the night. The maid often left a note with a signature.

However, this is now changing.

In the days just before the pandemic, we had bathroom amenities all over the place. One of the amenities at Burj Al Arab, Dubai, was a large bottle of Hermes perfume for men. A similar-sized bottle was also available for my wife. It was not a gift, it was a standard item with a street price of $340.

Minibottles of shampoo or conditioner were offered by all hotels. These small gifts were expected to be taken home by guests at hotels.

However, this is changing as well as so many other aspects of the hotel industry. To make up the 18 months of empty rooms, on-site restaurants, and staff shortages, cuts are being made in nearly every aspect of the operations.

InterContinental and Disney are now replacing miniatures with bulk dispensers that "no waste, not theft" of toiletries. Just like the ones at the YMCA.

This is just the tip of the hotel-change iceberg.

The most significant change is the absence of automated room cleaning. Marriott announced it would no longer offer daily housekeeping services at premium brands such as Sheraton or Aloft. Hilton announced that it will discontinue daily housekeeping at all of its luxury brands, except for Aloft and Sheraton.

The majority of budget and mid-range properties in the U.S. operate on a new set if assumptions regarding Covid cleanliness. The American Hotel & Lodging Association published a "Stay Safe” manifesto that advised members that housekeeping should not enter a guestroom during a visit unless the guest has specifically requested it.

This assumes that clients don't want anyone to enter their rooms for any reason.

Related column: Daily housekeeping could be a permanent Covid casualty

Can we ever go back to TNT (Travel Normal Times). The answer is no, if you look at the hotel industry. There are many changes taking place. These are just a few.

Towels and room cleaning are requested by guests.

Robots will provide room service

Room service will be offered in hotels, and guests can bring their food back to the hotel.

The days of the bathtub will soon be gone. They are difficult to clean.

Lobby areas will be more retail-oriented than "conversation" spaces. Conversation with strangers is no longer possible.

Guest services can be ordered through an app each guest downloaded.

Another change is that rates will rise across all segments of the hospitality industry due to the increased demand.