This strikes me as a big deal in the hotel industry.
The New York Hilton Midtown is the largest hotel in the city, with nearly 2,000 rooms. In August, it will earn another distinction: It will discontinue room service, becoming the largest property in the Big Apple that does not offer the amenity.
The move will eliminate 55 jobs. It could also ignite an industrywide trend. Other hotels, such as the Hudson in New York and the Public in Chicago, are already nibbling at the concept, offering meals delivered in brown paper bags rather than dome-covered dishes.
The Hilton New York will open a ‘grab ‘n go’ that guests can use, and lay off 55 staff as a result of the change.
Room service is costly to service (high staffing costs, not to mention the trays and hot boxes and dishware that is out for long periods of time and sometimes doesn’t come back). Room service is especially costly in high wage cities and with a unionized workforce. Apparently use of room service is on the decline as well.
I’ve certainly noticed more hotels, even better hotels in New York, no longer offering 24 hour room service. I do think properties that aspire to a level above the Hilton New York do need at least some sort of 24 hour offering — coming back to the room after late nights in the office exhausted, making it to the hotel after a lengthy flight delay, or waking up in the middle of the night because you’re in an unfamiliar time zone — it’s a fairly fundamental element of hospitality when you’re serving business travelers.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village has already eliminated room service, which I learned in the piece and hadn’t realized earlier. That surprised me, as I would have guessed that room service is an in-demand service for resorts and Hilton Hawaiian Village is certainly a flagship property.
From my stay last summer at the Hyatt Regency Fair Lakes, here’s what room service via brown paper bag looks like:
Do you use room service frequently? Will a hotel lose your business if they don’t offer room service?
(HT: Reader S.)