Hampton Inn Orlando enacts COVID rules as they go


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Many changes have come about because of COVID, but many more were just opportunistic. This Hampton Inn in Orlando is one of the hotels using COVID as an excuse to drop service.


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COVID as an excuse

We’ve seen pretty much everything over the past couple of years. Real needs for better health practices (anyone who has worked in the restaurant business will be happy to remind you to wash your hands) to the absurd. I won’t bore you with my examples, without a doubt every person has their own – sometimes from like-minded people and sometimes from diametrically opposed ones.

At one point, some businesses started using COVID as an excuse. The breakfast buffets made sense, you just couldn’t have people near common food and utensils. But rather than replacing breakfast service with room service, plate or even takeout options, many hotels simply decided “due to COVID” that they didn’t have at all. to replace it.

There is an important difference between “we can’t be the cause and stay in compliance with health regulations” and “we decided not to find a way around it”. Hilton has said full daily housekeeping is a thing of the past, but it’s not due to COVID-related issues. Marriott, which switched to the same “on-demand” housekeeping, also said its employees were making too much money.

Separately, the tactic of using an agreeable and plausible reason for policy changes has been extended to other drawbacks the industry may want to avoid.

For example, a luxury cruise line in Antarctica recently sent a notice stating that due to environmental concerns, smoking or vaping would no longer be allowed on board the ship. There is no doubt that cigarette butts thrown from balconies into the Arctic Ocean are likely bad for the ecosystem, even if the threat is low – they also pose a fire hazard on the ship. However, isn’t bulky exhaust and burning fossil fuels a much bigger concern? And even then, how does vaping negatively impact the arctic environment? This is not the case, this is an exclusion of convenience and not of logic.

Periphery issues related to COVID-related disruption

In particular, the hospitality industry has been hit hard due to COVID. First, it was the decline in travel that seriously threatened economic models as they had existed for decades. But then labor shortages in some of the most difficult jobs (mainly the service sector) started to hamper the recovery. For hotels, that meant housekeeping staff were less likely to return, even as pay rates and demand increased dramatically.

It is impossible to provide the same level of service even though the prices have come back without the staff to do the job. However, the service provider must declare that housekeeping simply cannot be offered, rather than offered on demand.

Hampton Inn Orlando abuses COVID excuse to make rules

When we arrived this week in Orlando at the Hampton Inn on South Kirkman, Holly, the duty manager, informed me that housekeeping was available on request for our three day stay. We knew we wouldn’t need daily maid service, but wanted housekeeping the next morning. Here is how this exchange went:

“We would like to be served in the morning, please. “

“You have to ask for it before nine in the morning.” (it was 8 p.m.)

“Okay, I ask. “

“No, you have to ask for it before nine in the morning. (I visibly check my watch to make sure I’m right and missed 12 hours of time.)

“It’s before nine in the morning, it’s before nine in the evening too. We could not have given more notice than now.

“It’s Hilton policy and it’s on the mirror.”

“It’s not Hilton policy. Hilton policy is housekeeping as requested, and I request it.

“You have to call in the morning. “

“Do I have to get up, precisely to call to ask for cleaning service?” “

“Yes. It has been Hilton’s policy since January [2021.]”

This isn’t the only Hilton we’ve stayed at this year, and I didn’t tell her I was a travel blogger. Instead, I set an alarm for the morning after a previous exhausting day, called housekeeping and got an answering machine around 8am. Fair enough, they’re probably doing their rounds. I left a voicemail message requesting service.

It did not come. We came back and the room was in the same condition as before.

If the hotel management wanted to introduce this policy, put it on the website and make it clear at check-in, that’s fine. This is not what happened, they said it was Hilton company policy. It was not. Then they were given hoops to jump through and broke their own rules when followed. It’s using COVID to set rules as you go.

For the avoidance of doubt, here is what Hilton is actually offering for housekeeping policies in 2021:

“Our free housekeeping service is now available on request. We know that comfort levels can vary when it comes to people entering your space. Now you can just contact the front desk to request a room cleaning or just a few extra towels. The Waldorf Astoria, Conrad and LXR properties continue to provide daily housekeeping as well as our properties in Asia Pacific. However, when you stay at one of our 18 brands, you can tailor housekeeping services to your personal preferences. – Hilton.com

Conclusion

This incident is not the reason for this message. It’s the abuse of COVID as the reason not to do what the service provider doesn’t want to do without notice and accommodation while charging the same rates for the full service as before. If we had known their policy, we might have stayed there, but we probably would not have. They did not publish it online as it would violate their agreement with Hilton and discourage customers who want and expect these services. It’s spurious, it’s intentional, and it’s using a pandemic as an excuse for a service the hotel can’t or won’t provide but chooses not to disclose.

What do you think? Have you seen any other examples of service providers using COVID as an excuse?


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