Should Hotel Personnel Be Fully “Present”?

In the last month I have stayed in a wide range of hotels–including a five-star resort, a four-star business hotel, a three-star big box new brand, and another that could only be described as a flashback to the ’80s (maybe no stars?). In each case I noticed something new on my radar: housekeeping staff engaged on their cell phones while doing their jobs. And it was a huge turn-off for me.

I want to be realistic. I know these workers are, in general, not doing this job because it’s their calling or passion. So it would be a lot ask that they be fully engaged. But in all cases, I dinged the hotel a little in my mind…with a little bigger hit to the five-star property perception than the ’80s relic. It has made me think about the illusion of service in a hotel. I realized I want to believe the staff is there, fully present, ready to serve (even if I know, deep down, that probably isn’t the case).

If I were a hotel company, I would prohibit (and enforce) use of personal phones during staff working hours. Is that unfair? Of is it all part of creating the service illusion?

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