Room Service Surplus

Staying at the Sheraton Boston, the hotel room has an option:  “Reward yourself with a $5 voucher at participating food … outlets for each night you decline housekeeping services.”   My consumer surplus actually exceeds the $5:  I would pay a little bit extra not to have the cleaning people in my room, since I wouldn’t have to worry about packing things up to hide them, nor about the cleaning people mistakenly throwing something away.  So I take the deal.   One friend here says this isn’t worth it to him—he likes having his room cleaned up each morning.  This illustrates how crucial individual tastes are to determining the surplus we gain from transactions—and the choices we make, or don’t.


Perhaps you are assuming everyone is a business traveler at a mid-level hotel? Consider the difference in response across types of traveler, and/or room price (or hotel quality).


5.00? Nah. Clean my room. Now the other option is to recieve 500 Starpoints.

SPG sells 500 Starpoints for $17.50.

A random check of Washington DC SPG properties shows I can get one night at the Sheraton Herndon Dulles Airport Hotel for a mere 4,000 Starpoints, refundable if canceled. The lowest rate, which is nonrefundable prices out at $170.

So eight random nights of not using housekeeping will earn $170 dollar room.


I'm assuming the bottom part that got cut off says "What Sheraton gets: To save 10% on labor costs."

big panda

Here is the opportunity for the hotels to learn from the airlines. Start booking room service at check in like luggage. It would allow hotels to change another fixed cost into variable. People will resist initially but get used to after a while.

Lisa Sansom (@LVSConsulting)

I've stayed at a Sheraton a few times and always take advantage of this offer. However,the offer that I get is slightly different - you can get points on your Starwoods reward account or the $5.00 voucher. I always opt for the points. Then, when always happens, is that every morning, someone slips a $5.00 voucher under my hotel door. This requires me to take the voucher, stand in line at the front desk, and give them back the voucher and let them know that I asked for the points. The $5.00 voucher often isn't worth anything to me - I'm getting food at the conference or whatever event I'm in town for. I want the points! I think this is a great system, but if I ask for the points upfront (because they do ask me at the front desk which "reward" I would prefer....) then why are they giving me the voucher and adding an extra step to my rewards?


Or are they perhaps adding the points to your account at check-in, and then the housekeeping person comes along and thinks "No clean, stuff voucher under door" every morning?


I just hate that late afternoon knock to come and put pillow chocolates, just as i am taking my afternoon nap!

Eric M. Jones

And the super-rich hotelier won't have to hire sub-minimum wage slaves to do the dirty work.

"It's getting hard to stay cynical enough to keep up with reality" --Lily Tomlin.


I wonder how the housekeepers feel about it?

I'd been told that housekeepers would much rather see you post the "do not disturb" sign, allowing them to skip your room that day, than get a tip.


If housekeeping services are not needed, it's cheaper to rent a furnished studio apartment. A large portion of hotel room cost is for housekeeping, clean towels and linens every day, and someone coming in to fluff the pillows.

$5 voucher, that costs them perhaps $2, instead of all this (already paid for) work is a sweet deal for the hotel.


It's not exactly cheaper to sign a one-year lease when all you need a room to sleep in for 7 hours.


One of the Doubletrees I've stayed in (maybe all - not sure) used to offer a $8 voucher for food in their restaurant for the day I don't have housekeeping clean my room. It would help us both - I'd get a discount on their food, and they would give me an incentive to each in their restaurant (which I might not have done otherwise) while also saving housekeeping costs.

Unfortunately the Doubletree I stay at stopped with that program.


"Would you like to make a green choice"? I get this question every week when I check in the the Westin downtown Phoenix. Every week I say, "no thanks" to the offer of making "green choice". I tell them that it is a labor cost saving, profit maximizing choice for Westin rather than a green choice . I hang my towels up every night so the Westin doesn't harm the environment by washing my towels. How am I saving the environment by having my bed made, soap, shampoo, and bottles of water replenished?


For an individual in one room, I'd take the $5.00. However, when traveling with the whole family, maybe 3-4 people in one room, no thanks. For 4 people it would make it $1.25 each.