Housekeeping is an often-overlooked but critical part of any Las Vegas hotel visit. We asked an industry insider about these unsung employees, and learned some truly fascinating things about the folks who clean up after us during our Sin City escapades.
Here, then are 15 things even we didn’t know about housekeeping at Las Vegas hotels.
1. A Las Vegas hotel housekeeper cleans an average of just 16 rooms in a typical eight-hour shift. For comparison purposes: MGM Grand has 5,124 rooms.
2. Housekeepers are called “Guest Room Attendants” or GRAs for short.
3. Most Las Vegas casinos pay housekeepers $15-17 an hour.
4. Although their meals are free (in EDRs, or employee dining rooms), most housekeepers don’t eat during their shift for fear of not meeting their daily quota of “turned” rooms.
5. Our industry expert says hotel guests don’t tip like they used to, but most housekeepers get anywhere from $20-100 in gratuities during a typical shift. It’s estimated only about 40 percent of hotel guests leave a tip for housekeepers.
6. In time share hotels, housekeepers aren’t unionized and are paid a “piece rate,” a set rate for each room according to the room size.
7. Housekeeping is typically the largest and most costly department at a hotel.
8. Major hotels have 24-hour housekeeping and rooms are cleaned non-stop to accommodate late check-outs and early morning check-ins.
9. While housekeepers do general cleaning tasks, there are “bio teams” that specialize in vomit, blood and other bodily fluids. Bio teams are specially trained, but things like suicides and people who die by natural causes are done by outside vendors. It happens more often than you think.
10. Sex toys and porn are often left behind in rooms. Most hotels have “Lost and Found” policies, and found items are held for 30 days. If the items aren’t claimed, they go to the finder, unless it’s a sensitive item like cell phones or laptops. It’s estimated about 2% of hotel rooms have lost items in them.
11. When cash is left in a room, anything under $100-200 goes to the housekeeper who finds it. Anything more than that goes to a special fund. Cash found in public areas or the casino goes to the hotel.
12. Recreational marijuana became legal in Las Vegas on Jan. 1, 2017. This has led to a headache for housekeepers and hotels. Getting the odor of weed out of Las Vegas hotel rooms has become a huge challenge. It takes a lot of time, sprays and ionizers, and in Las Vegas, time is money.
13. Housekeepers know lots and lots of secrets. One of the more intriguing is that there are celebrities who visit Las Vegas frequently and are known for their tastes in, well, the scatalogical. Our expert says these celebrities tend to be generous tippers because of the mess they create.
14. Housekeeping room assignments are doled out by seniority, and some of the prime sections can have the same housekeeper for decades. If a housekeeper encounters a “Do Not Disturb” sign, she (they’re mostly female) has to keep coming back to the room until it’s cleaned. About seven percent of a hotel’s rooms aren’t cleaned on a given day because of “refusals” or “Do not disturb” signs. Housekeepers must hit their quota, and being re-assigned another room can be an ordeal. So, if you’ve ever thought, “Let’s give them a break, no service today,” you’re actually making life harder on the housekeeper, not easier.
15. Motorized housekeeping carts weigh about 500 pounds.
These tidbits about housekeeping helped give us a new appreciation for the hard-working folks who do this physically demanding job. Take time to thank the housekeeping staff at your Las Vegas hotel, and tips—two or three bucks each day works—are always welcome.
Bonus Las Vegas trivia: We get this question quite a bit. “How much does it cost a Las Vegas casino to give a free room?” The answer is it costs Las Vegas hotels about $35 to “turn a room.” The “cost per occupied room” (also known as COPR) varies by hotel. Now you know!