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Room Attendant vs. Housekeeper: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Room attendants and housekeepers are both responsible for cleaning and maintaining guest rooms in hotels and other lodging facilities. Though both positions are important for keeping guests satisfied, there are several key differences between them. In this article, we discuss the duties of room attendants and housekeepers, the similarities and differences between the two positions and the necessary skills for each job.

What is a Room Attendant?

Room Attendants are responsible for cleaning and tidying guest rooms in hotels, motels and other lodging facilities. They typically work on their own or with a small team to clean an assigned section of rooms. Room Attendants start each day with a list of rooms that need to be cleaned and stocked. They enter each room, empty the trash, make the bed, clean the bathroom and replenish the room’s supplies. Room Attendants must be able to work quickly and efficiently to clean all assigned rooms before the end of their shift.

What is a Housekeeper?

Housekeepers are responsible for cleaning and maintaining the cleanliness of homes and other residences. They may work in private homes, apartments, hotels, motels, resorts, hospitals, schools or other commercial establishments. Housekeepers typically perform a wide range of tasks, such as sweeping, mopping, dusting, vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms. They may also be responsible for laundry, ironing, changing linens and making beds. Some Housekeepers may also be responsible for cooking or preparing meals, running errands or providing childcare.

Room Attendant vs. Housekeeper

Here are the main differences between a room attendant and a housekeeper.

Job Duties

Room attendants primarily focus on cleaning and maintaining the rooms in a hotel, motel or other lodging establishment. They clean bedding, change linens, sanitize bathrooms, sweep and mop floors and perform other basic cleaning tasks. Their job duties also may include operating and maintaining laundry equipment and machines to clean guest clothing.

In contrast, housekeepers typically have broader cleaning responsibilities. They perform general cleaning chores throughout an entire residence, including kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms. Housekeepers may also be responsible for landscaping maintenance and vehicle washing.

Job Requirements

Room attendants and housekeepers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the field. Some employers may prefer candidates with experience in customer service or the hospitality industry, but it is not always required. Room attendants and housekeepers can also pursue certification through organizations like the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA). These programs teach professionals how to properly clean rooms and use different types of cleaning equipment.

Work Environment

Room attendants and housekeepers work in different environments. Room attendants typically work in hotels, resorts or other establishments that provide lodging for guests. They may clean rooms during the day when no guests are staying there and at night after a guest checks out. Housekeepers often work in residential homes such as apartments, condominiums or single-family houses. They may clean these locations during the day while the owners are away or at night before they return home.


Both room attendants and housekeepers use cleaning skills to perform their jobs. However, room attendants typically focus on cleaning guest rooms in hotels, while housekeepers may have a more general focus that includes cleaning common areas in addition to guest rooms. As a result, room attendants may need to be more familiar with the layout of hotel rooms and the specific needs of guests. For example, they may need to know how to properly make a bed or where to place complimentary items in the room.

Housekeepers also use cleaning skills, but they may have a more general focus that includes cleaning common areas in addition to guest rooms. As a result, they may not need to be as familiar with the layout of hotel rooms or the specific needs of guests. However, they may need to be familiar with a wider range of cleaning products and techniques to address the different types of surfaces and materials they encounter in their work.


The average salary for a room attendant is $31,905 per year. The average salary for a housekeeper is $31,038 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the type of facility you work in, your location and your experience level.


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