According to USAToday reports, hotels have experienced a steady decline in business and in an effort to save money, many are cutting back on housekeeping. This means asking customeers to forgo daily changing of linens, towels and toiletries.

As stated in the article, the trend isn't new, but the urgency is spreading to more chains as the industry battles a historic downturn in travel. Hotels market their new housekeeping approach as a "green" effort, and some analysts and travelers say the spin has merit.

"I have no issues with hotels cutting back," says frequent traveler Mark Hanna, a technology industry executive. "Replacing my linen on a daily basis is the height of absurdity. I don't do it at home, so why do it in my hotel room?"

Best Western asks guests to specify their choice of housekeeping: no service, replace towels/empty trash/quick vacuum, or full clean. Guests can check their choice and specify the cleaning hour on a card hung on the door knob. Since the program began late last year, about 40% of guests chose no or limited cleaning, says Ron Pohl of Best Western.

Some chains operated by Wyndham — Super 8, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Days Inn and Ramada — are adopting Wyndham Hotels' practice of leaving linens unchanged whenever possible, says Wyndham spokeswoman Evy Apostolatos. Starting next year, all Days Inn hotels will reduce bed linen and towel changes from daily to every third day in occupied rooms.

Omni Hotels began asking customers last year whether they want limited housekeeping, in which bed and bath linens are changed on request or on the third day.

Some hotels give financial incentives. The Marmara Manhattan Hotel in New York offers a $20-a-night discount to customers who go without housekeeping for three days. "The green rate" applies only to those who book at least three nights on its reservation system.

Bjorn Hanson, of New York University, says customers aren't buying the industry's "green" argument but are generally accepting modest cutbacks in housekeeping. "The long-term trend (for companies) is to look for ways to make hotels more affordable and accessible," he says.

Not every traveler likes the trend. Says business traveler James Lawrence Wilson: "If I'm paying for a hotel, then I want clean sheets, clean towels and a clean room every day."