AUSTIN, TX—As new hospitality cleaning protocols are being released on a daily basis worldwide, operations platform Optii Solutions has worked with hotel partners to calculate the cost of implementing the new cleaning requirements. Initial analysis shows that hotels will need to budget around $130,000 for a 250-room hotel, running at around 60% occupancy. However, measures such as cutting out stayover cleans or charging extra for additional ancillary services could be introduced to raise upwards of $110,000 in the same scenario, thereby largely offsetting these additional costs.
The industry expectation is that it will be the leisure sector that revives first, a long time before the business travel sector is expected to reemerge. Before the pandemic, a standard leisure room took an average of 39.3 minutes to clean and cost $9.42 in terms of staff time. Optii technology has analyzed that incorporating the new cleaning protocols will push the cleaning time for a standard leisure room up to 42.3 minutes to clean at a cost of $10.12.
Optii proprietary data collected across a wide range of hotel types shows that leisure rooms inherently take longer to clean than business traveler rooms, so this shift in market segmentation will immediately drive up cleaning costs. Added to this will be additional cleaning measures needed to ensure sanitization of the rooms. The overall payroll cost of the additional cleaning time alone will be approximately $62,000 and will also require hotels to add at least one additional full-time housekeeper to cope with the increased demands and additional cleaning needed in the public areas of the hotel. More staff will be needed on top of this if specialist cleaning equipment is deployed, according to the company.
Hotels are also carefully considering the supply of in-room amenities such irons, hairdryers and additional pillows, and most will now mandate that these items will only be supplied to guests who request them from the front desk. This will put further pressure on service staff and will require additional staff to be hired to fulfill requests efficiently. Optii anticipates that hotels will also need to hire at least one full-time service team member to fulfill the additional service requirements. In total, the additional two staff combined with the added cleaning payroll costs will cost hotels on average around $132,000 per hotel, per annum.
However, if hotels decide to implement a strategy where stayover cleans are only done every fourth night, for example, it will be possible for them to largely offset these additional costs. Minimizing the amount of times that staff enter occupied rooms could well be preferable for the guest of the future, too. Optii calculations show that not performing 75% of stayover cleans (based on 60% occupancy of the hotel) could save around $110,730 per annum. Ancillary services such as additional deep cleans or stayover cleans could also be offered by hotels in the future to generate new revenue.
“Hygiene guarantees are going to be one of the key factors that will enable the hospitality market to start successfully operating again as people seek guarantees for their safety when traveling,” said Soenke Weiss, chief strategy officer of Optii. “But there is no doubt that running a hotel post-pandemic is going to be more expensive in order to deliver these reassurances. Added to this, hotels are currently facing revenue battles on many fronts including very low consumer numbers, capped occupancy rates and restrictions on banqueting revenues.”