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What is opt-in housekeeping & how can hotels apply it?

Erlendur Steinn Gudnason

By Erlendur Steinn Gudnason | Co-Founder and COO at Sweeply

Good housekeeping is the backbone of a great hotel. 

Keeping rooms clean, ensuring the guest experience is top-tier, and reporting any damaged or broken items – it all falls to your housekeepers. 

That said, it’s possible to have a negative housekeeping experience. Who hasn’t felt the disappointment of returning to their hotel room and discovering it hasn’t been made up? Or wanting to take a nap, but your room is being cleaned?

In today’s day and age, guest preferences are a top priority, and as a hotel, you must find ways to impress your guests. 

But how do you get the balance right when good housekeeping means something different to everyone? 

The answer lies in opt-in housekeeping. In this article, we explore what opt-in housekeeping is, its benefits, and how you can apply it to maintain high service levels in your hotel. 

Ready? Let’s dive in.


What is opt-in housekeeping? 

Opt-in housekeeping is a service model where guests can ask for housekeeping services based on their preferences. If they don’t request housekeeping, the room will be untouched throughout their stay. 

Opt-in housekeeping allows hotels to put their guests in the drivers seat. By tailoring housekeeping services to their preferences, they enjoy a personalized experience suited to their needs.


What’s the difference between opt-in and opt-out housekeeping? 

Let’s touch on this quickly. Traditionally, most hotels used an opt-out model for housekeeping. Daily housekeeping came as standard. If a guest didn’t want it, they had to decline it specifically, whether that was mentioning their preference at the front desk or using their ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door. 

With opt-in housekeeping, however, the default is no daily cleaning. If guests want their rooms cleaned, they have to request it. 

Opt-in housekeeping as a service model grew in popularity during and after the pandemic, when many guests were understandably anxious about having third parties in their rooms. 

Today, it’s stuck around due to the industry-wide staffing shortage. A survey ran earlier this year by the American Hotel & Lodging Association found that 72% of hotels today are still struggling to fill positions. 

Amid this crisis, many hotels use opt-in housekeeping to fill their staffing gaps. Let’s look at some of the other benefits of opt-in housekeeping. 


4 benefits of opt-in housekeeping 

The beauty of opt-in housekeeping is that it benefits both the guest and the hotel – a win-win. Here are a few benefits of opt-in housekeeping.

Customized experience. Guests can tailor their stay to their exact preferences. One guest might want privacy during their stay, while one might prefer to be as eco-friendly as possible (every time a guest doesn’t request a clean towel, they save a massive 50 liters of water). The more customized an experience is, the better it is. 

Convenience. Opt-in housekeeping allows guests flexibility in accessing their rooms. They won’t have to work to anyone’s timetable but their own, making for a stress-free experience. 

Efficiency. Cleaning products cost money, as does your housekeeping staff’s time. The less cleaning there is, the more money you’ll save. Simple! You can even pass on these savings to your guests and make your hotel more competitive in the long run.

Sustainability. We mentioned saving water earlier, but how else does opt-in housekeeping help the environment? Think of reducing chemical use and minimizing energy consumption.


How do you apply opt-in housekeeping to maintain high service levels? 

So far, we’ve looked at what opt-in housekeeping is and what the benefits are. It’s also important to consider how to implement opt-in housekeeping well so your guests get the best experience. 

Take Sweeply client Íslandshótel, for example. When they introduced opt-in housekeeping, 70% of guests implemented it. That’s a significant portion. One that needs to be managed properly from the get-go. 

Here are a few tips when implementing opt-in housekeeping at your property. 


Think about your current processes

Consider how best to introduce opt-in housekeeping to your hotel. When do you want guests to request housekeeping—when they book, at check-in, or during their stay? How will they do it—on your website, via guest messaging, at the front desk, or using in-room tech? 

Getting this right from the start will make the experience seamless for your guests, whether they opt-in to housekeeping or not. 

Here’s a recommended process to follow: 

  1. Guests are introduced to opt-in housekeeping in their pre-arrival welcome email 
  2. At check-in, guests are told they can choose which days they’d like housekeeping. 
  3. Their choices are captured at the front desk and implemented into the hotel’s software of choice. 


Offer guest incentives

Every guest is different – and while some might be excited about opt-in housekeeping from the get-go, others might not see the value immediately. Exchanging housekeeping services for planting a tree, for example, is a great way to get your guests to stay opted-out and motivate them to adopt sustainable practices. 

Plus, giving a little extra creates a positive brand experience. Hello, return guests.


Use the extra time to your advantage 

Introducing opt-in housekeeping should cut your teams’ workloads. We’d recommend having your team use the extra time to create a stellar guest experience. 

Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Increase the number of staff on the front desk to help with suggestions and itineraries 
  • Have your housekeeping team focus on making each room clean exceptional
  • Celebrate guest milestones and special events with in-room surprises


Keep on top of repairs and damages 

One important role of housekeeping is to watch for hazards or damaged items throughout hotels. Ensure your team isn’t leaving rooms unchecked for too long, and communicate that your staff might still enter rooms even if guests have chosen not to have housekeeping services.

After all, the last thing you want is your guests’ experience spoiled by an easily fixed broken appliance. 


Opt-in housekeeping and high service levels: Final thoughts 

Impressing the guests of today is more important than ever before. Hotels that treat them like the individuals they are with tailored stays bring them closer to a fantastic experience. Opt-in housekeeping is one way to get personalization right and get your hotel ahead. 


A post by Sweeply

Sweeply simplifies housekeeping and task management for the hospitality industry and provides less workload, waste & carbon footprint. Currently serving over 150 clients across 18 countries, Sweeply offers a cutting-edge app & web app tailored to elevate the efficiency of your housekeeping, guest services, and maintenance teams. 

At Cloudbeds, we’re proud to partner with solutions like Sweeply to help lodging operators simplify operations.

Published on 17 May, 2024 |
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About Erlendur Steinn Gudnason

Erlendur Steinn Gudnason

Erlendur Steinn Gudnason is a seasoned entrepreneur with a passion for hospitality and technology. Born into a family that owned a vacation rental business in Denmark, Erlendur’s journey in the hospitality industry began at a young age. With a strong vision and extensive experience in software and telecommunication business, Erlendur specialized as a Full Stack Founder. For the past six years, he has served as the Co-Founder & COO at Sweeply, a leading task management & hospitality tool for businesses in the hospitality sector. With his deep understanding of both the hospitality and tech industries, Erlendur is dedicated to revolutionizing the way businesses in the hospitality sector operate.

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