Say goodbye to hotel turndown and these other services people simply don’t want to pay for anymore

hotel maid
  • Hilton discontinued daily housekeeping this week, part of a wider trend in hospitality.
  • It’s one of several things that customer-facing businesses are realizing they don’t need anymore.
  • The economy of 2021 is leaving behind parts of the economy of 2019: the physical ones.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

For Americans, early July marks Independence Day. This year, it also marks independence for hospitality workers.

A record number of hospitality workers are simply quitting their jobs with no intention of ever going back, declaring a certain kind of independence. And those still on the job just gained independence from daily housekeeping as Hilton announced this week that the service will only be performed upon request, Travel Weekly reported.

As hotel stays plummeted in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, daily housekeeping was one of the first services to be cut, but even as travel revived, it’s not coming back. It’s part of a wider trend within hospitality, the same publication previously reported, fueling the rise of third-party operators like New York-based Butler Hospitality, a “ghost kitchen” for room service. It’s one of the starkest examples of how the economy of 2021 will be different from the one of 2019.

The issue comes down to staffing. In March and April, as a record number of workers were quitting their jobs, the quit rate for hospitality workers actually increased, along with job openings. That means hospitality firms were trying their hardest to hire just as more of their workers were deciding to leave.

As Bloomberg Opinion columnist Conor Sen wrote on Twitter: This is a job that just “won’t exist in the future because it’s uneconomical.” In other words, you’re going to have to make your own hotel bed.

Here’s what today’s economy is finding it just doesn’t need.

Daily housekeeping service and breakfasts at hotels

day room hotel

Before Hilton’s announcement that housekeeping was a thing of the past, Baird analyst Michael Bellisario told The Washington Post that many hotels were considering permanent cuts to a range of services, including cleaning but also free breakfasts. 

The new American consumer doesn’t mind too much, as reflected by an August 2020 survey by the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Almost two-thirds of travelers said daily housekeeping should be done without. 

After the pandemic, contactless is what travelers want. Insider’s Michelle Gross reported in July 2020 that technology and safety will be paramount to the future hotel experience. Vanessa Ogle, CEO of hotel technology company Enseo, said, “Technology will be the bridge that enables and manages safety and cleanliness procedures and communicates those procedures to guests as well as associates.” 

A Hilton spokesperson told Insider that daily housekeeping is available “upon request” in the US and will be automatically done on the fifth day of an extended stay. Visitors to the Hilton brands Waldorf Astoria, Conrad and LXR properties will still automatically receive daily housekeeping. 

Menus at restaurants

qr code menu restaurant

The QR code could be the ATM machine of our day. Before ATMs, people would wait in line to get money out from a bank with the help of a bank teller. Today, many restaurants don’t use a physical menu, but instead instruct guests to access it via phone from a laminated QR code on the tabletop. 

Similar to the ATM, the QR code has been around for decades. As Insider’s Kristen Hawley reports, it dates back to the 1990s, and widespread adoption of it has waxed and waned. Insider’s Ben Winck reported that the pandemic accelerated automation’s adoption in restaurants, with QR codes leading the way at Cracker Barrel, Dave & Buster’s, and Olive Garden parent company Darden.

More automation means less cashiers, too, so be prepared to wait longer to pay for the food that you ordered on your phone. With the persistent rising trend of ordering to-go, there’s a chance you’ll have to wait for the restaurant staff to sort through their flood of online orders first, too. You could also end up eating more. Insider’s Grace Dean reported diners could feel less judged, and end up ordering a lot more food.

 

 

Dressing rooms at retail stores

dressing room

During the year of lockdown, ecommerce took off and looks to be holding its gains. A report this week from a Deutsche Bank team led by Senior US Economist Brett Ryan found the online shopping trend that accelerated in 2020 “appears to be holding onto the pandemic gains,” meaning that shopping for clothes online could well be a sticky habit.

At the same time, Ryan’s team found consumer spending well above pre-pandemic levels for three straight months. That means a lot fewer brick-and-mortar stores where you can walk in and physically try on clothing. At the start of 2021, Coresight Research predicted 14% more store closures this year than last, meaning up to 10,000 stores will disappear.

Instead of more visits to more stores, think a lot of cardboard boxes piling up at your door instead. And probably a lot of returns of clothes that don’t quite fit.

[Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct a reference to Butler Hospitality as a “ghost kitchen” third-party operator, not a room-cleaning service.]

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Expedia and Marriott rise as stimulus checks and easing restrictions boost optimism for travel and hospitality

family travel road trip
  • Expedia stock ended Thursday’s session at a record high and Marriott gained as travel optimism grew.
  • The US will begin sending $1,400 checks after President Biden signed off on a stimulus package.
  • New York State will lift some travel restrictions starting on April 1.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Shares of Marriot and other hotel chains pushed toward record highs Thursday as investors anticipated that new stimulus checks for millions of Americans and relaxed travel restrictions will lead to more bookings.

Hotel names rode up alongside other consumer discretionary stocks, in turn drawing the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund up by 1.5% at the close.

Online travel bookings site Expedia rose by 2.1% at end at a record close of $171.08. Marriott tacked on 1.6% to end at $148.83, a third winning session. The stock two weeks ago logged its all-time high of $159.98.

The S&P 500 closed at an all-time high Thursday, the same day President Joe Biden signed off on a $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package passed by Congress. With his signature, the government will begin sending $1,400 checks to most Americans with the aim of assisting them until the economy fully recovers.

Some industry watchers have said consumers having more spending money can help the travel sector recover from the coronavirus crisis, but hurdles remain. The pandemic is still not over and millions of Americans are still out of work, they’ve cautioned.

But COVID-19 case counts “continue to decrease every day,” as more people are vaccinated, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday as the state lifted its requirement for domestic travelers to quarantine after arrival, effective April 1. International travelers will still be required to quarantine.

Among other travel stocks, Hyatt rose 1.6% and InterContinental Hotels Group added on 0.6%. Hilton had been more than 1% higher intraday before turning lower, ending down by less than 1%.

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Waldorf Astoria has unveiled a private island in the Maldives for the ‘privileged few’ at $75,000 a night – take a look around

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

  • Waldorf Astoria has unveiled its Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.
  • The island can be booked for $75,000 a night for up to 24 guests.
  • The hotel chain has another resort nearby, but wanted to unveil a private island for the “privileged few.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

If you’re looking for a lush and expensive getaway distanced from other people, Waldorf Astoria’s latest private island offering may be the perfect place for you.

The luxury hotel chain already has a nearby $1,700-a-night resort in the Maldives that was launched in 2019, but if you’re looking for more exclusivity and luxury, head to its latest Ithaafushi private island instead

Here, social distancing should be no problem, especially since you and whoever you travel with will be the only guests on the island (accompanied by a personal concierge team, of course).

Read more: Wealthy parents are investing in high-end, ‘backyard’ camp experiences and private excursions to give their kids a taste of summer in light of COVID-19

“We have launched the private island for discerning travelers during this time when we know that safety and security are a top priority amongst the evolving needs of travellers,” Etienne Dalancon, general manager at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, told Insider in an email interview. “The Ithaafushi private island offers a high level of exclusivity and natural social distancing. “

“The main focus of Ithaafushi private island was to offer an escape where guests can have their own private haven that connects with nature, offering more outdoor spaces so they can enjoy holistic activities in distanced spaces,” Dalancon told Insider.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Waldorf Astoria has done just that with this new island.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The Ithaafushi private island is the hotel chain’s “crown jewel of their luxury portfolio in Asia Pacific,” Nils-Arne Schroeder, vice president of luxury and lifestyle at Hilton’s Asia Pacific segment, said in a statement.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The three-bedroom beach villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Source: Hilton

According to the hotel chain, Ithaafushi is Dhivehi for “pearl island.”

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The island is a 40-minute yacht ride away from Malé, Maldives.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Don’t worry about providing your own boat: guests can take one of the resort’s six yachts.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

If you’re prone to seasickness, the island can also be accessed via a 15-minute seaplane flight.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The private property spans 344,445 square-feet, providing space for up to 24 guests.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Upon stepping foot on the island, visitors will be greeted by a concierge team.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Despite its isolation, the private island houses plenty of activities, including watersports and diving.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The beach swing at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Not much of a water person? Yoga enthusiasts can head to the yoga pavilion or gym, where guests can also request a personal trainer or classes.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The fitness center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

There’s also a wellness concierge and a spa for those who need some more relaxation time on the private getaway.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The yoga pavilion at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The island may be surrounded by an ocean, but its occupants can instead choose to swim in one of the island’s five pools, which includes an almost 115-foot infinity pool.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

No need to travel by foot around the Ithaafushi private island: guests can take a bicycle or one of the buggies.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Accommodations on the Ithaafushi private island include two villas and a four-bedroom home.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The first two-bedroom villa come with two primary bedrooms, dressing rooms, and a living room

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The villa also has an infinity pool and jacuzzi.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

When it’s time to clean off, the villa’s occupants can either use the indoor or outdoor rain showers.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The other villa, which has three bedrooms, has direct beach access and two swimming pools.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The three-bedroom beach villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The final four-bedroom unit is made up of two king and two queen bedrooms.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Like its smaller counterparts, the four-bed home has a living area, jacuzzis, and easy beach access.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

When it’s time to eat, the on-island culinary team can prepare your meals. But if that’s not enough, guests can take a speed boat to the main resort and dine at one of its 10 eateries.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The entertainment center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

This getaway is perfect for a variety of people, from a wedding party to a group of loved ones to a work trip for clients, according to the hotel chain.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The entertainment center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

And if you’re planning on bringing children, they can spend time on the island’s children’s pool or gaming section.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The entertainment center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Despite its high nightly price, all of these amenities have caught the eyes of several potential visitors.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The three-bedroom beach villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

According to Dalancon, the hotel chain has already seen a “significant number of requests” for the private getaway.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

“We are committed to making the Ithaafushi private island a highly sought after, world-class destination for the privileged few,” Dalancon said in a statement.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The yoga pavilion at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Source: Hilton

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