By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky
Housekeeping opt-out was as hot a topic yesterday as it will be tomorrow when travelers start surging back to hotels. The paradigm shift worth considering for housekeeping that has occurred as a result of the pandemic is that an increasing number of guests will want a totally no-touch onsite experience.
In this case, giving them the ability to opt-out can save you on costs, particularly as cleaning SOPs and minutes of labor per room have gone up substantially with all the new safety guidelines to follow. While there are reasonable limits to this given the opposing security risk of letting a room go unchecked beyond a certain threshold, the general thrust for contactless guest experiences will inevitably mean fewer rooms cleaned each day.
So, there’s the opportunity to save, the guest incentive for opting out can be loyalty points – that is, a means of increasing brand advocacy and return visits – or vouchers for other onsite services where the most often outcome is a greater total spend than the voucher amount.
As an important caveat, luxury and resort end of the spectrum, however, daily housekeeping often acts as a hallmark of the brand, with opting out not even open for discussion. Whether out of the desire for immaculately clean spaces, nostalgia for 2019 or only for a glimmer of interaction with another human soul, many guests may actually yearn for the opportunity to have proper housekeeping service.
This brings us to attribute-based sales (ABS) which will be a central part of revenue planning and a key upselling tool in the decade ahead. At its core, ABS for hotels inscribes the use of every single feature – in-room, on-property or through a third party – to incrementally build revenues on a per-guest basis.
The encapsulating buzz term for this is TRevPAR or total revenue per available room. Smart hoteliers will use ABS to grow TRevPAR, with housekeeping opt-out as one variable to play with in terms of reducing costs and building revenues elsewhere.
Let’s look at an example. Imagine you are one half of a couple looking for a romantic, seven-night vacation to a tropical resort for some time late in Q4 2021, taking advantage of a newly reopened flight route following heavy vaccinations in the host country and an all clear from IATA.
You choose to book direct, then within the reservation engine, after you’ve selected your room and picked out some dining spots, you can decide what days during your stay when you want room attendants to enter for a proper cleaning. It could be six times; it could be zero. This depends on each individual guest’s attitude towards contact and any continued fears of COVID-19.
Many guests, yourself included for this scenario, will likely partially opt-out – say, reducing the total number of intra-stay cleans down to three, with spa vouchers selected as the compensation. Because this is all done at the prearrival stage, the hotel can better plan ahead instead of having to react in the moment around a bunch of DNDs. Moreover, those spa vouchers, besides resulting in perhaps some additional treatment revenues, may lead to some spa product purchases and better overall satisfaction with the hotel.
Of course, the technology has to be there to support such an opt-out system as you will need a booking engine that allows for amenity upsells within an appealing user interface as well as a strong PMS to support the new data flowing into the guest folio and housekeeping optimization software. Thinking broader, with housekeeping opt-out as one post-pandemic consideration, ABS may help you protect your guest satisfaction scores while allowing you to recover profitability even when maximum occupancy cannot be attained due to all the prolonged restrictions still in place.
This article may not be reproduced without the expressed permission of the author.
Editor’s note: To discuss business challenges or speaking engagements please contact Larry or Adam directly.