Waste Management

  • Should Hotels Ditch Housekeeping?

Should Hotels Ditch Housekeeping?

Mar 02 2018 Read 950 Times

One of the perks of staying away from home is having someone else clean up after you. Making your bed, changing your sheets and cleaning the room are services provided by almost all hotels… but are they really necessary on a daily basis?

In the States, some enterprising outfits have launched the idea of dispensing with housekeeping in exchange for food and drink credits, loyalty points or other perks, with the ultimate aim of becoming more sustainable. As the world grows ever more conscious of its own carbon footprint, the scheme has proven to be hugely popular with the more environmentally-minded clientele.

A greener hotel experience

We’re probably all familiar with the signs inside hotel bathrooms which urge us to hang towels up if they’re not dirty and only leave them on the floor if they really need changed. It’s part of a push towards reducing the strain on the environment by minimising the use of water and the release of chemicals during the laundering process.

While many scientific experts have been looking into ways to convert wastewater into energy, perhaps a better solution to the problem would be to minimise our production of it all together. As hotels must wash hundreds of towels and sheets on a daily basis, anything they can do to reduce that workload can help.

As a result, certain hotel chains in the US have began offering their customers reduced housekeeping services. Rather than needlessly changing sheets and towels everyday – or even entering the room at all – the hotel will offer their clients perks in another form, which allows them to reduce their monetary outgoings and their carbon footprint in one fell swoop.

Everyone’s a winner

The hotel benefits because they don’t have to employ as many cleaners to service all rooms, and they also save on their energy bills with regards to laundry. The environment benefits because not as much energy or water is used for little to no purpose and not as many contaminants are released as wastewater. And the customer benefits with a financial incentive, such as loyalty points or a free beverage every day.

The Make a Green Choice programme, for example, was run by Starwood hotels initially. When the hotelier giants Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016, they rolled out the incentive to 20 of their 30 brands in the States and Canada, including such household names as Marriott, Sheraton and W. The programme offers patrons the option of foregoing housekeeping services in exchange for a $5 food and drink voucher or 500 loyalty points for every day of their stay.

The idea of hotels becoming more sustainable is not a new one. Back in 2009, the London Savoy launched a food waste recycling programme, whereby all food waste from the hotel was converted into biomass energy. But just because dispensing with housekeeping isn’t entirely original, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t represent a positive step towards a greener tomorrow.

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