Stuff You Won’t Hear From Your Hotel Housekeeper

Those plush beds are doing a number on my back.

The same luxurious mattresses and piles of pillows that hotel guests adore make a hotel housekeeper’s work even more challenging. “The trend in recent years has been to dramatically increase the number of facilities available in rooms. Luxury mattresses are more difficult to raise, and some hotels have increased the number of pillows in each bed by fourfold “”Hotel Workers Increasing,” says Annemarie Strassel, a spokeswoman for Unite Here. Brigida, a housekeeper at a chain hotel in Toronto for 19 years, has to change the linens on 8 pillows in each of the 16 rooms she cleans on a typical shift—128 that’s pillows per day! “Plus, every time we shake out the fresh fluffy blankets, dust and fluff fly everywhere, which we have to clean up,” she adds.

Preparing for a new guest entails far more than making the bed and stocking clean towels.

Have you ever arrived at your hotel early and waited for your room to be ready? That’s because there’s a good reason for it: Cleaning a hotel room for a stay-over guest will take twice as long as preparing a room for a new guest. “You have to go through the entire inspection list for a new arrival, which may have about 100 check points,” says Lara Weiss, Managing Director of K Hotels. “Things like making sure the proper TV Guide is there, checking for stains on the amenity cards, and making sure the bed linens are absolutely wrinkle free are just a few of the things that must be attended to that you wouldn’t think of.”

We wish you would reconsider your participation in environmentally friendly initiatives.

Many hotels are also providing green initiatives in their rooms by allowing guests to choose whether or not to have their rooms cleaned regularly. Although eco-friendly programmes seem to be beneficial, they can also deprive housekeepers of much-needed work—and pay. “If 100 guests refuse to get their rooms cleaned at my hotel, six to eight housekeepers receive a call the next day telling them they don’t have to come in to work,” Brigida explains. This is a challenge because housekeepers are paid hourly. “It’s causing a lot of pain to people.”

We don’t want to wake you up in the morning by banging on your door, but we have to.

On average, housekeepers clean 13 to 15 rooms each day, but at some hotels, this number can reach 30. They’ll have to clean them all in a single eight-hour shift. And if you have a “Do Not Disturb” sign up, they will still need to knock. “The housekeepers must clean your room first [so it’s ready for new guests] if you’re due to check out that day,” Weiss explains. “In order to remain on schedule, they need to know if you’ve left yet.” Rather than getting irritated by the rap on the door, keep in mind that the person on the other side is simply doing his or her job.

Also within the same chain, there is no minimum hourly pay for housekeepers.

Hotel employees’ salaries vary greatly due to labour unions. “Housekeepers make $14.60 an hour in a city like Chicago, where the majority of hotels are unionised,” says Strassel. “However, in a city like Indianapolis, where there are no union hotels, a housekeeper at the same chain would earn about half as much. There’s a big difference, and we’ve seen places where people are paying significantly more or less than that.”

In the hotel, we have the most dangerous work.

Housekeepers have a 50 percent higher injury rate than all other hotel staff, according to Unite Here, and a study of more than 600 hotel housekeepers in the United States and Canada found that 91 percent have experienced work-related pain. “The hardest part is lifting the mattresses,” says Lisa, a housekeeper who cleans 22 to 30 rooms per day in Long Beach, California. “Our backs are in excruciating pain as a result. My colleagues complain about leg pain, knee pain, arm pain, and everything else on a daily basis.”

If you could leave us a tip, that would be fantastic.

Most citizens, according to Brigida, do not tip housekeepers. Even if visitors leave cash in the bed, she typically isn’t able to accept it. “We won’t take money left on the dresser or table without a note because it’s not obvious it’s for us,” she says. “However, leaving money on or under the pillow normally indicates that it’s for housekeeping.” As a result, please provide a note with your tip to ensure that it reaches the intended recipient. Although there is no regular tipping number, Lisa says, “It would be awesome if every room left only one dollar a day—I’d have an additional $22 to $30 per day.”

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