Lilo blog

Ways to Reduce Housekeeping Department Costs in Your Hotel

cost control methods for hotel housekeeping departments


The housekeeping department holds immense significance within a hotel. 

From cleaning and restocking occupied rooms to refreshing spaces after guest checkouts, the housekeeping teams ensure that every corner of the hotel, including the front desk, restaurant, spa, meeting rooms, and hallways, exudes a pristine ambiance.

Tasked with physically demanding and labor-intensive responsibilities, the housekeeping department incurs significant monthly costs.

In the light of ongoing staff shortages and rising supply chain costs, hoteliers, therefore, are actively seeking ways to reduce housekeeping department expenses. This, in turn, improves overall profitability.

Here in this post, we will look at some actionable strategies to help you achieve cost savings in your hotel’s housekeeping department.

Cost Control in Housekeeping Department – Reduce Turnover  

The hospitality industry has been grappling with significant labor shortages globally. 

In the United States, approximately 3.5 million individuals exited the workforce in 2022, a third of them in the leisure and hospitality industry, either temporarily or permanently. This “Great Resignation” trend, where millions left the workforce, continues to impact staffing.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report,  hospitality jobs held the unfortunate distinction of having the second-highest turnover rate in 2023. This trend underscores the pressing need for effective strategies to reduce high turnover within hotel housekeeping departments.

The cost of replacing a single hotel employee can be significant, ranging from 30% to a staggering 150% of their annual salary, according to the data shared by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD).

High turnover in housekeeping also creates a vicious cycle – low morale, decreased productivity due to understaffing, and ultimately, a decline in guest satisfaction.

Therefore, hotels must take all steps necessary to break this cycle and cultivate a stable housekeeping department. 

To reduce hotel housekeeping turnover, hotels must – 

  • Prioritize comprehensive onboarding processes for new housekeeping staff
  • Implement structured onboarding checklists that cover policies, procedures, and relevant training materials to help new hires acclimatize to their roles. 
  • Assign dedicated mentors to support new employees during the first few weeks on the job to foster a sense of belonging and facilitate smoother integration into the team.
  • Invest in ongoing training programs to nurture a skilled housekeeping workforce
  • Take effective steps to prevent harassment and encourage diversity and inclusion 

Streamline Housekeeping Department Purchases

Guest amenities, laundry detergents, cleaning supplies – the list goes on. These everyday essentials might seem like a minor expense, but they can add up quickly.

In absence of a robust hospitality procurement system, hotels may inadvertently overspend up to 30% on housekeeping supplies.

Therefore, housekeeping managers and hotel GMs should consider platforms like Lilo, a hospitality procurement solution designed to save them money on housekeeping cleaning supplies. 

Lilo negotiates wholesale rates with suppliers, but its benefits go beyond discounts.

With Lilo, hoteliers can gain real-time visibility into inventory levels and expenditure trends. 

It also offers customizable order guides and uses AI-powered demand forecasting tools to ensure you have the right supplies, in the right quantities, at the right time. 

Use Contactless Checkouts

Housekeeping departments are often understaffed, operating on tight budgets with limited resources. This lack of resources can be further compounded by the uncertainty surrounding guest check-out times.

While reducing staff size might seem like a cost-cutting solution for the housekeeping department, it can quickly backfire.

Instead, hoteliers should consider innovative solutions like contactless checkout to reduce burden on staff. 

This technology allows for accurate tracking of guest departures; it eliminates the need for time-consuming manual checks (which can incur higher costs).

Encourage Towel Reuse

Encouraging guests to reuse their towels can help reduce expenses associated with: 

  • Outsourcing laundry services or in-house labor
  • Water consumption
  • Sewage costs

Thus, sustainability isn’t just good for the planet. It can also benefit your property’s bottom line. 

Less frequent laundering translates to savings on water, energy, and labor costs. It also means less wear and tear on towels, extending their lifespan and reducing waste. 

Many guests appreciate the opportunity to participate in eco-friendly practices. 

Track and Optimize Minutes per Room (MPR) – Reduce Housekeeping Cost Per Room 

Each hotel room requires about 20 to 30 minutes for thorough cleaning. So, if a boutique hotel anticipates filling 1000 room nights in a month, this translates to a labor requirement of 300 to 500 hours. At a wage rate of $20 per hour (i.e. housekeeping cost per room), this equates to a monthly labor cost ranging from $6,000 to $10,000.

If the housekeeping manager succeeds in reducing cleaning time by just two minutes per room, the hotel can save up to 10% on housekeeping labor costs. 

Therefore, hoteliers or housekeeping managers should monitor and optimize Minutes per Room (MPR) or Minutes per Occupied Room (MinPOR) with housekeeping scheduling apps for data-driven cost control in the hotel housekeeping department. It’s similar to tracking metrics like Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR).