Bathing on Vacation and the Death of the Hotel Bathtub

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This week I spent days talking to managers at local hotel chains and asked them how they felt about the bathtub situation. Many of the big name hotels had already had all their bathtub removed. I asked "what options are there for families traveling with young children? What about traveling athletes or people on extreme vacations who need to soak? What about people who envision taking a nice long bath because they are on vacation?" No answers. These hotels are catering only to business travelers who want a quick shower before cocktail hour..

Experts all cite the same basic reasons for the decline of the hotel bathtub.

  1. Business travelers are just too busy for leisurely soaks.

  2. Liability issues make the tub-shower combo a magnet for lawsuits because a surprising number of travelers have trouble navigating the walls of an unfamiliar tub.

  3. Then there’s the “ick” factor: Hotel designers say travelers, especially women, are concerned about the cleanliness of hotel tubs. Even if they prefer bathing, they won’t do it in a hotel. I’m going to say that this has been me, sometimes even with my own bathtub.

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After a long flight, a grueling day of business meetings, or simply walking around a new city, few things sound better than a hot bath. To some. Should you actually fill up that hotel tub, you may sit in a stew of germs, bacteria, and cleaning chemicals. A 2012 study of hotel cleanliness found that housekeepers spend about 30 minutes on each room, and that some of the most contaminated hotel items are actually the sponges and mops in housekeepers' carts—a.k.a. the items used to clean the tubs. More recent research unveiled another sad truth: Hotel bathrooms are even dirtier than airplanes.

But tubs won’t disappear. Some vacationers like a good soak. For hotels that cater to families, and if there’s small kids, having a bathtub is a necessity. Families dominate the hotel business on weekends and, of course, represent an important revenue stream during traditional vacation times.

Today we introduced the idea of providing TUBSKY bathtub sheets on demand for their customers to the hotel managers. A guest amenity that can be checked out for a nominal cleaning fee to use during your stay. How simple is that? Plus, it is sanitary and sustainable because it can be washed and bleached with the sheets and towels. Win win for all. TUBSKY to the rescue. It’s definitely cheaper and more considerate than ripping out all the bathtubs.

A word to the world’s remaining hotel-bathtub fans: To avoid disappointment, make sure you request a room with a tub when making your reservation.

Have a great bath! TUBSKY, #abetterwaytobathe