What’s the difference between a fee for a service and a discount for not using it?
Not much but semantics. The hotel industry is moving toward a la carte room cleaning options, and it hardly matters whether we get a discount for opting out of housekeeping or pay a fee for opting in. The bottom line is the same.
There is a great division of opinion on the message boards attached to a recent story on this subject by Roger Wu at USA Today. Most people seem to agree on one thing, though. If hotels give you the option to forego housekeeping services, they should also give you a discount.
Some do. Many others pass off the housekeeping cutbacks as a “green” initiative to spare the environment by cutting back on energy-intensive activities such as washing and vacuuming. There’s less stress on the environment, the hotel saves money and the guest feels virtuous. Everybody wins!
Except the housekeeping staff, of course. The underpaid housekeepers will see their hours and perhaps benefits cut and they’ll end up with much dirtier rooms to clean when a guest checks out after five days without housekeeping.
So when we opt in or out of housekeeping services, let’s keep in mind that the housekeepers will still have to clean the room when we leave. And they still deserve tips.