South-Westerns' Economic News Summaries
Hotels won't change the sheets every night anymore
Subject Some hotel chains have decided not to change the sheets every day.
Topic Production and costs; profit maximization and the firm; monopolistic competition
Key Words

hotels, sheets

News Story

Hotel chains are beginning to act environmentally responsible: They're not changing sheets as often. It's also a good business decision, as their costs fall as a result. But some travelers aren't happy with the trend: They want fresh sheets every night.

A USA Today poll indicated that many hotel chains (14 out of 25 surveyed) don't change the sheets every night, but rather every third night or so for those clients who stay. Of those hotels who don't, though, all said that they would change the sheets if a client requested it.

Hotels argue that changing sheets less often is not only a good business decision, it also makes little to no difference to most of their customers, since they don't change their sheets at home every night, so there's no reason to expect the sheets to be changed every night at a hotel.

Maybe for those customers who want it, hotels can stock up on Febreze.

Questions
1.

Is this an example of a reduction in fixed costs or variable costs for hotel chains? Why?

2. What might this practice do to those hotel chains that continue to change sheets every day? Why?
3. Are there external benefits to reducing the amount of laundry done by a hotel chain? If so, what are they?
Source Gary Stoller. "Hotels taking fresh sheets off room-service menu," USAToday, 25 July 2005. USAToday.

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