Given the challenges the international hospitality industry faced in recent years, total hotel revenue optimization (THRO) is essential today. This probably brings up ideas like optimizing revenue generation in rooms, F&B, and the spa for you and most other hoteliers.

But what about housekeeping? While this department was historically seen as a cost center, it has plenty of untapped revenue potential. Read on to learn how to optimize your housekeeping operations to save costs and drive much-needed revenue.

Housekeeping: Moving Away From The Cost-Center Image

A hotel’s main source of business, i.e., selling rooms, naturally incurs housekeeping costs. How else would the next guest get a clean room for their stay?

Many new services properties use to drive revenue, e.g., in-suite dinner packages or work-from-hotel offers, incur cleaning costs. But despite housekeeping playing a supporting role in boosting the top line, the results are rarely attributed to this department. It’s easy to see why. Other teams provide the main services guests book.

But there’s a way to start generating revenue and transforming your housekeeping department into a profit center. The key is to embrace guest-led housekeeping options and allow travelers to pick which services they want. As a result, you can optimize costs and workflow all while tapping new revenue opportunities.

Why Let Your Guests Customize Housekeeping Services at Your Hotel

1. Decreased Cleaning Costs

New hygiene procedures and a changed guest mix have driven up cleaning costs for many hotels. A recent post-pandemic study suggests an average increase of over 7% on average. This can add more than $60,000 in housekeeping costs for a 250-room hotel at 60% in a single year.

These findings show that flexible housekeeping options can drastically cut these costs. For example, if 75% of stayover guests reject the daily room cleaning at the same hotel, this property could save over $100,000. On top of this, charging for housekeeping as an ancillary service could add around $100,000 to this hotel’s topline.

2. Reduced Burden on Staff

The staff shortage in the hospitality industry is still a huge challenge for many hotels. Making housekeeping optional reduces the workload your smaller team faces. That lightens their burden, creates a less stressful work environment, and helps you retain staff.

3. Increased Flexibility

If you avoid overbooking your daily schedule, you have more time to optimize your operations, implement improved procedures and train your team. It also leaves your staff more time to react to last-minute changes and guest requests.

4. Smaller Carbon Footprint

Making their travels greener is gaining importance for a growing number of travelers. Let your guests be part of the solution by offering the chance to skip a daily clean-up – this cuts backwater, electricity, and cleaning product consumption. As a result, you shrink both your costs and your environmental footprint.

Take it a step further by using part of your savings to offset carbon emissions or fund reforestation projects. Work with partners specializing in this domain to implement this and share the results with your guests. Internal data from an upselling hotel platform suggests that such initiatives are popular among travelers. In 2021, 1,995 travelers at 98 hotels chose to forego housekeeping. That’s one in 15 guests.

5. Happier Guests

Travelers appreciate the chance to customize their trip and pick which services they need and want to pay for. Extending this to housekeeping will give your guests extra control and a more personalized experience. It’s also an excellent option for people who want their privacy or wish to avoid in-person contact to minimize their risk of infection.

Adopting Guest-led Housekeeping Options at Your Hotel

Today, travelers expect the opportunity to request rooms with specific amenities and book add-on services they value. Avoiding cookie-cutter hotel stays and creating a customized experience are becoming more critical to guests. The pandemic’s impact creates pressure to reimagine your cleaning policies and procedures.

Guest-led housekeeping options are the ideal way to address both of these trends. It puts your guests in control, helps you improve their stay experience, and saves costs at the same time.

Here are some ideas for new things to try at your hotel:

1. Customized Amenities

Allow travelers to pick some in-room add-ons that will make their stay better. For example, you could offer fancy branded amenities instead of your typical standard set. Other options include renting gym equipment in the room, setting up a workstation, or showing things in your room for sale (e.g., your fluffy pillows, monogrammed slippers, or your hotel’s signature line of jam).

2. Flexible Arrival Times / Allow Guests to Choose Their Arrival Time

24-hour check-in or discounts for guests who arrive late and leave early are another way to offer more flexibility. Test different deals to find out what works best for your guests and check with your operations teams for ideas on how to implement them.

3. Attribute-based Selling

Look at the desirable facilities that distinguish your rooms and leverage them with attribute-based selling. Look for things guests would be willing to pay more for, e.g., a higher floor, a better view, or a jacuzzi. Offer rooms with these characteristics for a premium either on your website or in your pre-arrival communication.

For more tips on optimizing revenue streams throughout your hotel, download the Total Revenue Management Report.

4. Opt-out and Opt-in Housekeeping

Both opt-in and opt-out housekeeping lets travelers decide if they want their room cleaned daily or not.

The team makes up the room every day with opt-out housekeeping unless guests expressly refuse this service. Many properties give this option at check-in or in pre-arrival emails. Sometimes, they offer a bonus such as a free bar snack or a drink for those who opt-out.

On the other hand, opt-in housekeeping means that daily cleaning is no longer part of the room rate. If a guest wants their room straightened up, they must opt-in and likely pay an add-on fee.

Implementing either of these options means a significant change for many travelers. Be clear about the new procedure you’ve chosen and the fees it comes with to avoid disappointment and misunderstandings. And make it clear that complete cleaning services are, of course, always available on demand.

Free Ebook: Total Revenue Management

Managing room revenue only is no longer enough in today’s unpredictable and fast-paced market and ancillary income has become a primary source of revenue for many properties. Within this free ebook “Total Revenue Management” you’ll learn how to get started with applying revenue management principles beyond the room departments. All revenue-generating areas of your hotel are included e.g., F&B, the spa, recreation, and housekeeping. Click here to download the ebook.

As you can see, your housekeeping department can be more than a cost center. You can transform it into a revenue driver and a guest experience provider. The best thing is that guest-led housekeeping does more than simply letting your guests create their ideal stay. You also apply the principles of total hotel revenue optimization to a new department. This gives you the chance to maximize business results even in challenging times.

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This article is written by our Expert Partner Oaky

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