Share on Facebook

5 Things You Won’t See in Hotels Anymore—And 2 You Will

As hotels welcome guests in a post-coronavirus world, some of the measures they put in place at the start of the pandemic are still top of mind.

Businessman leaving lobby with luggage, rear viewDavid Sacks/Getty Images

The future of hotels

Travel was among the sectors hit hardest by COVID-19. Worldwide, the pandemic cost the tourism industry $1.3 trillion and put more than 100 million jobs at risk.

Now that things are getting back to normal, many of the coronavirus protocols we all got used to last year are on their way out. Some of the changes put in place at the start of the pandemic, however, are here to stay.

front desk check in at a hotelKlaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Front desk check-ins

Many hotels began offering guests mobile check-ins via their smartphones during the pandemic, and that service will still be available at many hotels, likely one of the everyday habits that will have changed forever. This includes more than 3,200 Marriott locations around the world, as well as select IHG and Hyatt properties.

That said, guests who prefer to check-in personally will still be able to do so at the front desk.

Entering a hotel room with electronic lock and keycardMichael Kai/Getty Images

Key cards

You will also still be able to use your mobile phone as your room key. These “smart keys” are already in place at some Disney resorts, Marriotts, IHG hotels, and Hyatt properties via their respective apps.

In many cases, those apps are fairly comprehensive. With Marriott’s Bonvoy app, for example, you can, “Check in, check out, unlock the door, order room service, and more,” Elynsey Price, Marriot’s media relations manager, tells Reader’s Digest. This way, guests who still want to “can enjoy a contactless travel experience.”

RELATED: What “Smart Hotels” Mean for Your Privacy

Young hotel maid making the bed. Hotel staff in blue uniform preparing room for guest.Chadchai Krisadapong/Getty Images

Daily housekeeping

The pandemic certainly emphasized the importance of regular cleaning. But it also made many wary of letting strangers into their living space. While some hotels have returned to their routine of daily housekeeping, others are waiting for guests to request that service before knocking on their doors. “We will do our best to honor specific requests,” says Price.

Box of Soap, shampoo, conditioner hang on wall in bathroomMumemories/Getty Images

Shower dispensers

Those bulk-size soaps, shampoos, and conditioners that many hotels started using in an effort to be more eco-friendly are still taking a bit of a time-out. In their place, you’ll see the smaller, single-use versions of these and other toiletries.

That goes for some of the newer hotel amenities as well. Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, for example, still stocks guest rooms with things such as masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes.

RELATED: Amenities That Are Disappearing from Hotels

Crowded pools

Some hotels will still be limiting access to their pools, putting out fewer chairs, or capping the amount of time individual guests can use the facility. “I anticipate an increased desire in our pool cabanas, which offer privacy for families or small groups and will keep them guarded from others,” Karen Whitt, vice president of marketing for The Palms Turks and Caicos, tells Reader’s Digest.

Cleaning sink with spongeshironosov/Getty Images

Will see: Hospital-grade disinfectants

While you won’t see the above items, you will continue to see increased cleaning measures. Marriott reports, “the company has added to its already rigorous cleaning protocols, requiring that surfaces are thoroughly treated with hospital-grade disinfectants.”

Some hotel chains have partnered with health organizations to inform their cleaning protocols. Hyatt, for instance, is working with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), while the Four Seasons is collaborating with Johns Hopkins Medicine International.

RELATED: 13 Things Hotels Aren’t Cleaning As They Should

Reception desk luxurious open space interior with marble tiles with copy spacetulcarion/Getty Images

Will see: High-tech cleaning measures

Marriott is also using electrostatic spraying technology to rapidly clean guest rooms, lobbies, fitness centers, and more. And the Four Seasons will continue to have black light inspections of each guest room after cleaning to ensure it has been thoroughly sanitized.

RELATED: The 11 Dirtiest Spots in Hotel Rooms


Anne L. Fritz
Anne L. Fritz is a freelance writer, editor and mom of two based in Stamford, CT. Prior to launching her freelance career, Anne worked for Woman's Day, Life & Style, Seventeen, and more. You can find more of her musings on motherhood and more at

Fritz is on a lifelong hunt for the fountain of youth. She's convinced her two young kids, who won't let her sit down for longer than five mintues at a time, are it. Or maybe it's karma paying her back.

Newsletter Unit

CMU Unit

Subscribe & SAVE Save Up To 84%!