Hampton Inn Kanab
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Gratuity For Reduced Housekeeping Services at Hotel Properties?

How much should you leave — if anything at all?

Leaving gratuities for members of the housekeeping staff at hotel and resort properties has been a contentious topic which has been debated by frequent travelers for many years — from recommending that ten dollars per person per day should be the standard to a lodging company placing envelopes in hotel rooms to strongly encourage and persuade guests to leave a gratuity for members of the housekeeping staff…

Gratuity For Reduced Housekeeping Services at Hotel Properties?

Holiday Inn Lisbon – Continental
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

…but all of this controversy was when rooms were fully serviced every day by members of the housekeeping staff, as it was expected: just leave the room for a few hours during the day and finding the bathroom replenished with fresh towels, surfaces cleaned, and the comforter and duvet on the bed in place as though no one had used them.

“Hilton continues to offer daily housekeeping by request to all of our guests, free of charge, across all of our 18 brands around the world”, my contact at Hilton relayed to me back in July of 2021. “Throughout the pandemic, we discovered guests enjoyed the flexibility of on-demand housekeeping services and have varying levels of comfort with someone entering their rooms after they have checked in. We encourage our guests to call the front desk to request room cleaning, and our Team Members stand ready to assist with extra towels or amenities.”

The translation is that housekeeping services will no longer be performed on a daily basis for the same guest in the same room unless it is specifically requested.

Honestly, I do not have a problem with the room in which I am staying not being automatically serviced every day by members of the housekeeping staff — but this does raise at least a couple of points: does this policy jeopardize the livelihoods of employees in the housekeeping department in terms of gratuities, salaries, or even the job itself…

…and if Hilton is saving money by not automatically providing daily housekeeping of every room in every hotel and resort property, should at least some of those savings be passed on to the guest? As a corollary, could an extra fee in addition to the room rate possibly be charged in the future when requesting housekeeping with increased frequency?

Final Boarding Call

Currency
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

When you arrive at a hotel or resort property for a stay, your room should have been thoroughly cleaned and prepared for you to use — and the room should once again be serviced for the next guest who uses it. If you stay for only one night, nothing changes for you — but if you stay in the same room for a week and receive no housekeeping services during that week, how much of a gratuity should you leave to members of the housekeeping staff? Should the amount be the same as always; less because you are receiving fewer services; or should you leave no gratuity at all?

What if the service you receive is considered to be substandard? What if the hotel glasses in your room were not being properly cleaned to the point that you would likely not want to drink out of them? What if you found out that your room was infested with bed bugs? Would you still leave a gratuity?

What if you received virtually no service at all at the hotel or resort property at which you stayed — especially during the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, when many amenities and services were either substantially reduced or temporarily eliminated altogether?

All photographs ©2017 and ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

  1. I don’t ask for any housekeeping for any stay, and consequently will not leave any gratuity for the housekeeping staff to do their basic job – to clean my room one single time before I arrive. It is not my obligation to augment the hotel’s underpayment of their staff. If that causes a retention issue for the hotel, they can solve it by paying more to their staff, which I’m sure they’ve cut due to no longer offering daily housekeeping, or go out of business.

    1. I agree. For the life of me, I don’t understand why guests need to pay a part of hotel employees’ compensation. Most currently have a starting pay of around $15 per hour. In any case, hotels should pay all of their employees adequately for the job they do – including housekeeping. I don’t tip airline baggage handlers for loading my luggage on the plane and I can think of many, many examples where folks do service-related jobs that aren’t tipped. However, if you want to tip, tip. No problem.

  2. “…if Hilton is saving money by not automatically providing daily housekeeping of every room in every hotel and resort property, should at least some of those savings be passed on to the guest?”

    Bwahahaha, awesome rhetorical question. While there might be debate as to whether savings “should” be passed on to guests, we all know the destination of those savings.

  3. Easy – I leave $5 which is what I would usually leave for 1 night. I am not tipping for multiple days with no service but also if I was only there 1 night I would leave a tip then so I do now as well. It isn’t just for extra service but to show housekeepers they are valued and appreciated. Now, more than ever, I feel such a tip is appropriate.

  4. To me this debate has nothing to do with the hotel profits, management or even services rendered. It is about the disadvantaged loyal housekeeping staff who were laid off, lost paid hours furloughed or completely lost their jobs during this pandemic. I actually tip more, to thank EVS workers and hope they will continue servicing our hospitality industry.

  5. I like the ideal of paying for the room to be cleaned, added towels and bed made. If I stay 3 nights I order 1 cleaning, for 4 nights 2 cleanings………… as long as their is a discount for the nightly rate and I would leave a tip. One of the reasons I tip, is because others don’t. I walked pass a room in Miami where the chamber maid was noting to management a 5 night stay (with no services) and the room was trashed.

  6. I leave a tip in accord with the service rendered. If I get great housekeeping service then I tip for that service. If I don’t then I won’t pay anything. This is true for housekeeping, cabs, valets, restaurants or any similar service. If they don’t clean the room why would I tip them anything?

  7. We now live in a world where everyone feels like they should receive a gratuity. From the tip jar at Subway or Chipotle and everywhere beyond. It’s like Vegas on steroids. If you want to leave a gratuity, go ahead, but nobody tipped housekeeping 40 years ago (when the rooms were arguably cleaner) so I’m not sure what’s changed or when it changed. Growing up and paying my dues in the service industry in Vegas you didn’t even have every occupation expecting tips; only those providing personal service. I was in Minneapolis recently and two businesses I patronized both added an automatic 21 percent to the bill “for the welfare of our employees.” The outdoor patio bar bartender mass-pouring a pre-made punch received the same 21 percent as the more skilled bartender inside who later made my Perfect Manhattans. I left an additional tip to the second bartender, who I felt should be tipped better, but I wouldn’t have left the first guy 21 percent to begin with. The server at the restaurant would have made 20-plus on my gratuity to begin with. And…I’m certainly glad that neither spot was in the mode of fast food-type service where I would have walked had a mandatory 21-percent been the norm. If this is the future, just go to the VAT like Germany and be done with anything beyond rounding up to the next Euro.

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