After guests had checked out from a corner room in the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort, Waikiki Beach, Luz Espejo, the housekeeper, collected enough trash to stuff seven large garbage bags.

She took the sheets off the beds and wiped the furniture of any dust. She got down on her knees to grab confetti from carpet that a vacuum could not reach.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village, like many other hotels in the United States, has eliminated daily housekeeping service. This makes what was already one the most difficult jobs in the hospitality sector even more strenuous.

According to industry insiders, the shift away from daily cleaning during the pandemic is driven by customer preference. Others believe it is more about profit. It has allowed hotels and restaurants to reduce the number of housekeepers, at a time where many of those women are still recovering from the loss of work due to the coronavirus shutdowns.

Many housekeepers who are still employed claim that their hours have been cut and that they are being asked for more work.

Espejo, a 60 year-old Filipino woman who was born in the Philippines, said, “It’s big change for us.” She has been cleaning rooms at the Hilton’s largest Hilton hotel for 18 years. She was not laid off during the pandemic, but she did manage to clean them for about a year. “We are so busy at the office now. “We can’t finish cleaning our rooms.”

There were 670 housekeepers at Espejo’s resort before the pandemic. 150 housekeepers have not been hired back or remain on-call, and they spend their days waiting for a call to say there is work available. This has happened more than two years ago. Just a few weeks back, the number of people not being hired back or on-call was 300.

D. Taylor, president and CEO of UNITE HERE, a union that represents hotel workers, stated, “This is all about more cash in the owners’ pockets by putting a greater workload onto the frontline workers, and eliminating jobs,”

Although some hotels tried to be more sustainable by offering less frequent cleaning, this became much more common during the pandemic. Many hotels began to offer room cleaning only upon request and sometimes after a limited number of days. The front desk was instructed to ask guests to put trash out their doors and give them clean towels.

Many hotels will continue to follow their current cleaning procedures, even though safety restrictions are less important and the country enters peak travel season.

Hilton Hawaiian Village spokesperson said that no Hilton representative was available to discuss such policies at any Hilton property. Representatives from several major hotels chains, including Caesars Entertainment and Marriott, declined to interview or did not respond to Associated Press inquiries for comment.

Chip Rogers is the president and CEO at the American Hotel & Lodging Association. This trade group includes owners of hotels and management companies. He stated that it was guests’ demands and not hotel profits that influenced decisions regarding pandemic housekeeper services.