Hey, Marriott: I Will Tip When I Darn Well Feel Like It
Apparently you and I are not leaving enough of a tip for the housekeeping staff at hotel properties in the United States and Canada, according to a new campaign from Marriott International called “The Envelope Please” of which Maria Shriver is the spokesperson.
Envelopes will be placed in 160,000 rooms at up to 1,000 hotel properties in the United States and Canada operating under the various brands of Marriott International.
I dislike this concept for various reasons:
First of all, there is usually enough junk lying around the room as it is: advertisements, forms to join the frequent guest loyalty program, notices and menus. I do not need an envelope reminding me to tip to add to the clutter.
Second, why is it my problem that housekeeping staff is supposedly not paid enough in wages? I am not their employer. Besides — due to the outlook of business travel expected to increase in 2014 combined with the room rates of hotels in the United States increasing by five percent overall — lodging companies should have seen increases in revenue, which usually lead to increased profits. Why are they not sharing more of the wealth with supposedly underpaid staff?
Third, why is this concept only for the United States and Canada and not being introduced worldwide? Could it possibly be because the concept of tipping might be different in some other countries — especially those where the culture is not conducive to the concept of tipping to the point where it could be considered offensive or an insult?
Finally, I am an adult. Don’t “suggest” to me when and how much I should tip. As I wrote in this article on April 26, 2013, I will tip when I darn well feel like it:
I understand the argument that service personnel — mainly in the United States — depend on gratuities due to low and even sub-standard compensation paid to them by their employers. They do deserve to earn a living and be compensated for their work. If those service personnel choose a job or profession which is reliant upon gratuities, then they need to perform their role as best as they possibly can — and unfortunately expect the occasional deadbeat to not leave a well-deserved tip. Others may argue that service personnel earn more than people think as a result of gratuities — but I am not about to tackle that debate here at this time.
The point I am attempting to make is that a tip should be deserved, not expected; earned, not required. If you are a service provider, did you offer a service of value to your customer — and did you do it exceptionally well? If so, that is how you will get a tip out of me. If not — well — that is up to me to decide. Not you.
What if the service performed by the housekeeping staff is substandard — such as the hotel glasses in your room not being properly cleaned? Would you still leave a gratuity?
In addition to the aforementioned general overall increase of hotel rates in the United States this year alone, guests are subject to other expenses — sometimes without those costs being obvious. That $79.00 hotel room can easily exceed $100.00 per night when you factor in such items as taxes, tips for other employees of the hotel property, and resort fees — and that is not including optional services such as room service, which in and of itself has been known to at times have excessive gratuities and fees attached to it.
As I mentioned in this article from April 22, 2014, I have always been against what I perceive as deceptive advertising. I want to know the total cost of what I am paying when I book an airfare — or a hotel room or rental car, for that matter; and I have always believed that the full price should be what is advertised. I do not agree that this should be applied to tips for hotel staff; but a guest might be more inclined to willingly tip hotel staff if not bombarded with other expenses — whether or not they are expected — which are not included in the advertised room rate.
Here is an idea: How about Marriott use the funds to be spent on this campaign towards increasing the pay to members of the housekeeping staff at its hotel properties?