AUSTIN, Texas — As new hospitality cleaning protocols are being released worldwide on a daily basis, hotel-operations platform Optii Solutions, has worked with hotel partners to calculate the cost of implementing the new cleaning requirements.
Initial analysis shows hotels will need to budget around US$130,000 for a 250-room hotel, running at around 60-per-cent 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 re-emerge. 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 predicts 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 leisure rooms inherently take longer to clean than business-traveller 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.
Hotels are also carefully considering the supply of in-room amenities such as 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. As such, the company anticipates hotels will also need to hire at least one full-time service-team member to fulfil the additional service requirements. In total, the additional two staff combined with the added cleaning payroll will cost hotels, on average, around US$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 number of times that staff enter occupied rooms could well be preferable for the guest of the future too. Optil calculations show that not performing 75 per cent of stayover cleans (based on 60-per-cent 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 travelling,” says Soenke Weiss, Chief Strategy Officer, 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. In this environment, taking early action to gain a precise understanding of the budgets and best business strategy required to manage the extensive operational changes necessary will be absolutely imperative for financial survival. Smart deployment of technology to effectively manage labour will also be critical.”