To get an idea of what the hotel bill of the future might look like, take a look at your present bill at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas.
Guests at the resort are “required to pay a mandatory housekeeping gratuity and utility service fee of up to $22.95 per person per day,” according to the terms on its website.
Or stay at easyHotel, the European-based discount hotel chain, where housekeeping costs between 8 and 10 euros and at one of its properties in Dubai, it even charges for an extra towel. I’m not making this up.
American hotels might appear hesitant to follow suit, but there’s evidence that they’re warming to the idea. Selected Starwood hotel properties, for example, offer 500 frequent-stayer points for guests who opt out of housekeeping services. Other chains have cut back on housekeeping or offered discounts (some as high as $20 a night) for guests who turn down maid service.
Many vacation rental properties break out housecleaning fees, but when hotels try to get in the act — as this one did back in 2008 — guests protest.
It’s safe to say that an overwhelming majority of hotel guests assume the cost of housekeeping is included with their room. But the same could once be said for the ability to check a bag on a plane or be served a meal on a longer flight. Neither of those is automatically included in many domestic airfares anymore.
The first step in this transition, which is already under way, is for hotels to allow guests to opt out of having their rooms serviced.
Some guests like being able to tell the hotel staff to skip their room. Scott Weiner, a Virginia-based executive, recently stayed at the W Hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., and collected 500 extra loyalty points (W is part of the Starwood chain).