Opt-out and opt-in housekeeping benefits

What once seemed impossible is now becoming an accepted solution in many hotels around the world. We talk about opt-in and opt-out housekeeping. This is partly due to the continued staff shortages that many properties are facing, as well as the preference of travelers not to let staff into their rooms.

Big players like Hilton International have responded to this by implementing flexible housekeeping models across multiple brands. This development raises an interesting question: what benefits do opt-in and opt-out housekeeping programs have for hotels and guests? And should you implement this in your property?

Opt-out and opt-in housekeeping: what’s the difference?

Daily housekeeping used to be a fixed part of the stay and room rate. The few unwilling guests prevented the staff from entering with the DND sign. Once the pandemic hit, more travelers began skipping daily cleaning to minimize their risk of exposure. Hoteliers quickly realized this was a boon as it saved them on the now increased cost of cleaning a room. As a result, opt-in and opt-out internal management models began to spread.

They both let travelers decide if they want the cleaning service while they’re there or not. However, opt-out housekeeping is closer to the past norm since the service is included unless the guest opts out. You can notify travelers of this option via emails prior to arrival or upon arrival. You might even consider sweetening the deal with a small thank you gift for unsubscribing. The opt-in housekeeping, on the other hand, means that cleaning is no longer included by default. Guests must specifically request that their room be tidied and may have to pay extra for this. If you choose this option, let travelers know at time of booking and again upon check-in to avoid disappointment.

Benefits of opt-out and opt-in housekeeping

Taking a more responsive approach to housekeeping can benefit both travelers and hotels. Here you will find some of the main benefits you can expect from a flexible model.

1. Reduced cleaning costs

Recent search by a hotel operating platform shows a 7% increase in cleaning costs compared to the pre-pandemic period. They also show that the higher ratio of leisure guests to business travelers drives up costs, as walk-in rooms generally cost a bit more to clean. Combined, this can result in over $60,000 in additional cleaning costs per year for a 260-room hotel operating at 60% occupancy.

Flexible housekeeping can counter this effect or even reduce your overall cleaning cost. Research results revealed that you can save $100,000 per year if your average occupancy rate is 60% and 75% of your guests don’t do daily housekeeping. Using the opt-in model to bill travelers for cleaning services can yield an additional $100,000 in this example property.

2. A way to deal with the labor shortage

Struggling to staff their housekeeping crew and having to follow stricter hygiene regulations is a challenge for many hotels today.

Opt-in housekeeping can help you navigate this situation, as it reduces the number of rooms to put away each day. This reduces your costs and relieves the shoulders of your team. As a result, you’re not stretching your small team too much and they’ll be more likely to stick around.

3. Reduced carbon footprint

Travelers are increasingly aware of the impact of their travels on the environment and wish to minimize it. Getting out of daily housekeeping is a big step towards reducing the carbon footprint of a hotel stay. After all, it saves water, electricity and cleaning products. Draw your customers’ attention to this aspect and show that you want to help them travel more ecologically thanks to opt-out housekeeping.

Show that you are committed to sustainability by supporting conservation or reforestation projects. Donate some of your savings to relevant foundations to show customers that their decision not to clean has a direct impact.

Data from Oaky, hyper-personalized upselling software, proves that this approach works. In 2021, 98 hotels used Oaky to offer their guests cleaning opt-out offers. In total, these offers accounted for 6.37% of all promoted offers. 1,995 travelers redeemed the offer, each earning around $10.12. cost saved. It also means that about one in 15 guests chose not to have their room cleaned daily.

4. Greater customer satisfaction

Making your housekeeping service a choice is also good for travelers who want complete privacy and more security. They may feel more comfortable skipping the daily cleaning to prevent staff from entering their room or disturbing them throughout the day.

Giving them the ability to easily opt out of housekeeping is a great way to allow them to personalize their stay. As you can imagine, this can lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction.

The risk of adopting opt-out and opt-in housekeeping

At first, some customers may not be enthusiastic about making housekeeping optional. It just reflects a massive shift to a well-established norm. When implementing a flexible service model, communicate openly and thoroughly about it. Emphasize that the overall level of service will remain the same and room cleaning will still be available. If you decide to charge extra for this, say so up front. Share this information during the booking process and before arrival so there are no surprises and everyone is on the same page.

Set up opt-in/opt-out housekeeping at your property

Considering the many benefits of opt-in and opt-out housekeeping, you’re probably ready to implement it in your hotel. This is an opportunity to give customers more flexibility to personalize their stay and only pay for the services they really need or appreciate. On top of that, you can create offers around housekeeping that will make your guests smile and stick in their minds.

If you want travelers to have fun not doing daily housework, why not offer them something of value in return?

Here are some examples of what other properties have done successfully:

Source: OakySource: Oaky
Source: Oaky

You can also suggest something else here. Maybe you have a branded snack, drink or service that you can promote as a replacement for housekeeping. There’s no limit to what you can try here!

With the aid of The upsell platform is the perfect way to provide such offers to customers. Your guests can browse while having fun and take advantage of the offer in just a few clicks. And it’s easy for you to test different options and see which travelers prefer.

Of course, you can also use an upsell tool to suggest your opt-in cleaning service. When customers book without booking daily cleaning, you can offer it as a paid or free supplement. This approach can have a strong positive impact on your bottom line as it puts guests in control of their stay and allows them to choose the customizations they enjoy. But remember to be upfront about potential additional charges.

Then nothing will stand in the way of a successful flexible housekeeping model that works for both your hotel and your guests.

About Oaky

Oaky is a hyper-personalized, automated upsell engine that helps hotels increase revenue through enriched guest experience and branding. By browsing top-selling upsell offers, hoteliers can add personalized offers to guests in minutes and promote them through perfectly synchronized guest communication. Oaky is trusted by innovative hotels, groups and chains around the world, including Onyx Hospitality & Radisson Hotel Group.

For more information about Oaky, visit