I am conflicted. As we holiday and enjoy our stay away in a hotel, I am reminded of the hit that the service industry has taken due to the pandemic. What I worry about is how many folks have been affected and just how far-reaching the cuts have been to everyday people, like you and me, who are just trying to make a living for themselves and their families; many of whom are immigrant families with limited means to begin with. What has/will happen(ed) to everyone who has lost jobs or faced reduced hours? Many businesses are still operating with less employees for numerous reasons, one of which is the obvious cost-savings and I think many entrepreneurs will keep it that way. Less overhead means more profit. Yes, it’s all about the mighty dollar once again. Understandable given the trying times, but I also wonder how much the virus will be used as an excuse for doing without going forward. As customers/clients, it seems as though we can expect less overall service(s) for more money. Not very favourable, but I suspect a continued trend.
This morning, as I wandered down to the front desk to ask about a later check-out time because of our cold items needing refrigeration, I could see that it was going to be a tough sell. With COVID-19 and its strict cleaning demands, staff are under extra pressure to ensure everything is just so for the next set of guests. A few days ago, we checked into our room hoping for a certain level of cleanliness—others after us will too. I assured the desk clerk that the room would be left in good shape minus the deep cleaning things that would need to be done. She appreciated that statement citing that the hotel was expecting a huge turnover of guests given that it is now the weekend and all. I was grateful for the extra hour that she afforded us and I think that she could tell that I was being sincere with my statements. It didn’t hurt that I went down first thing in the morning to secure some extra time, as I was the only ask up until that point. I’m sure there will be more requests to come as the day unfolds. No one really wants to be out of their room by 11AM or accept that their stay away is over, do they?
Throughout our stay, we have not had maid service at all. Once checked in, you have to make a special request for staff to come in and clean because of COVID. We never made that request since we did some cleaning of our own and wanted to keep it that way with some of our things carefully unpacked and set out. Towels and such can be accessed through a quick call to the desk, but otherwise, we’ve not had any interactions with hotel staff. A different experience for us for sure which leads me to the following question: When all is said and done, does one leave a tip still? I mean, really, we haven’t been helped in any way other than the late check-out. If we are re-thinking what to do, I’m positive that fellow patrons are wondering the same thing. I feel obligated to leave something, whereas my husband doesn’t necessarily. I see both sides of it. Then I got to thinking that maybe we should have made more requests for services because if we did, and others did as well, it would necessitate more workers and perhaps help them accrue more in gratuities. On the other hand, given that places will likely remain understaffed compared to ‘normal’ circumstances, it could generate more stress on the job. It does put those of us who are tourists in a bit of a bind in that we want to be courteous, helpful guests, but not too helpful in that the employees aren’t valued by their employers.
The other consideration with respect to vacationing again is the sheer expense of it all. We’re finding that it is pretty pricey out and about, as places try to re-coup some of their losses over the past year and a half. While we’re not surprised and we feel for them, we also have a pocketbook to protect; especially if affected by COVID’s downsizing effect—not necessarily our personal scenario, but the circumstance out there for many just the same. One thing is for certain and that is that change has come about whether we like it or not. There’s no going back to how things were now. Too much has happened, too much time has gone past, too many cuts have been made. All that we can do is muddle through the best we can weighing out all of our options along the way. The fact of the matter is that as travel increases, those who can afford it may be fewer and fewer between. In turn, less patronage could dampen the recovery of costs that large companies are trying to make if people simply cannot swing any extras and stop going altogether. Interesting challenges ahead for everyone it seems, I do believe. Meanwhile, it is clear to us that most folks are just happy to be able to do a few things outside of their homes again. Staycations aside… until the next lockdown of sorts, that is.