Goodbye Room Service? This Travel Editor Hopes Not

The New York Hilton Midown’s decision to stop offering room service will alienate business travelers and could wind up affecting the hotel’s ratings, Travel + Leisure international editor Mark Orwoll told NBR.

The city’s largest hotel announced this week that it will end room service in August, after seeing a decline in requests over the years. Instead, guests can go to a new self-service eatery with grab-and-go items.

“Most of the people who care about room service would be the business travelers, and they are the ones who have the money to spend,” Orwoll said. “Why antagonize a group of high-paying clients that need that service? I’m at a loss to explain it.”

More than 50 jobs may be eliminated by the move. But Orwoll said while hotels may save money cutting room service personnel, in the end it could wind up costing them money.

“The ratings groups out there look at all the amenities that hotels offer,” he said, “and if they feel that the lack of room service detracts from the overall quality, they could knock that down from a four or five-star hotel to a three-star hotel. And that means even more potential for losing money by that hotel.”

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So will Hilton start a trend? Orwoll hopes not, but he said he’s noticed that there is already a greater divergence between hotels that offer fewer services and luxury hotels.

“My fear is that we’re going to see fewer of the middle ground hotels—hotels like the Hilton Midtown, which have pretty decent good rates for a big city like New York and offer all the services that a traveler and a business traveler in particular could need,” he added.

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