Leaving Tips for Housekeeping Staff at Hotel and Resort Properties: $10 Per Day Per Person? The Debate Continues
The main reason why people stay at hotel properties is to get a good night sleep on a reasonably comfortable bed in a clean room equipped with the minimum necessities: lights, secure doors and windows for privacy and protection, and a bathroom with a place to wash and bath or shower…
Leaving Tips for Housekeeping Staff at Hotel and Resort Properties: $10 Per Day Per Person? The Debate Continues
…so leaving a tip for members of the housekeeping staff is not exactly the first thing on the minds of most guests when they book a hotel room. This may be the reason why a former housekeeper named Stephanie Land — whose book called Maid has been recently released — posted this message on her Twitter account:
Things to do before leaving a hotel room:
Ball up your towels, washcloth in the middle.
Pick the hair out of the drain.
Put garbage in the garbage.
Tip. ($10/day, per person who stayed)
If your stay is multiple days, tip every day you expect cleaning service.
— Stephanie Land (@stepville) March 15, 2019
Things to do before leaving a hotel room: Ball up your towels, washcloth in the middle. Pick the hair out of the drain. Flush. Put garbage in the garbage. Tip. ($10/day, per person who stayed) If your stay is multiple days, tip every day you expect cleaning service. Seriously.
This means that if a family of three people stay in a hotel room for five days, they should leave $150.00 for the housekeeping staff, according to Land — apparently no matter what the rate is charged for the room in which they are staying. In some hotel properties, that rate of tipping can actually exceed the room rate itself.
Gratuities and tips have long been controversial with regards to travel and dining — to the point of contentiousness from all sides of the issue, as evidenced by the following articles which I wrote for The Gate over the years…
- Do You Leave a Tip or Gratuity for Taking Out Food From a Restaurant?
- Should Breakfast Attendants at Hotels Receive Tips and Gratuities From Guests?
- Should Flight Attendants Receive Tips and Gratuities From Passengers?
- Should Customers Pay Servers By the Hour as a New Concept Pertaining to Tipping and Gratuities?
- Should Gratuities and Tips in Restaurants Be Discontinued?
- Tips and Gratuities: Your Thoughts, Please
- How Much Should You Tip Around The World?
- No Tipping Policy Pared Down at One Restaurant Chain
- Comparing Tipping to Paying Taxes? Get Real…
- When Is a Tip Not a Tip? When It is Mandatory
- Hey, Marriott: I Will Tip When I Darn Well Feel Like It
- Should the Practice of Tipping Be Abolished?
- Tipping the Hotel Maid: Yes or No?
- Tip: Charge the Charge to Tip the Tip Separately From Charging the Tip as a Charge
- Bad Service at a Restaurant: Should You Leave a Tip?
The Envelope, Please: Attempt by Marriott to Encourage Tipping
Apparently you and I are not leaving enough of a tip for the housekeeping staff at hotel and resort properties in the United States and Canada, according to this campaign called The Envelope Please which was launched by Marriott International, Incorporated back in September of 2014, of which Maria Shriver was the spokesperson.
Envelopes were to be placed in 160,000 rooms at up to 1,000 hotel and resort properties in the United States and Canada operating under the various brands of Marriott International.
I disliked 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, whenever lodging companies profit from increases in revenue, 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?
Here is an idea: How about Marriott use the funds which were spent on this campaign towards increasing the pay to members of the housekeeping staff at its hotel and resort properties?
Substandard Service — Plus Other Costs
What if the service performed by the housekeeping staff is substandard — such as the hotel glasses in your room 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?
In addition to the aforementioned general overall increase of hotel rates in the United States, 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 Tuesday, 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.
That I vehemently oppose the implementation of mandatory resort fees, facilities fees and destination fees is no secret to you if you have been a reader of The Gate for years — they should either be optional or eliminated altogether — and I would not be the least bit surprised if forcing guests to pay these nefarious fees reduces the number of tips and gratuities members of the housekeeping staff receive.
I will just let this extensive body of work over the years pertaining to mandatory resort fees speak for me…
- Resort Fees: The Database of Lodging Options Which Charge Them
- Is This Secret to Ease the Pain of Paying Resort Fees Viable?
- The Destination Fee Plague Spreads Again — This Time, To…
- Another Way Mandatory Resort Fees are Deceptive
- Caesar’s Entertainment Properties to Increase Mandatory Resort Fees
- Resort Fees; Then Parking Fees: Are Free Drinks in Las Vegas In Jeopardy?
- What is Included in a Mandatory Resort Fee of $160.50 Per Night?
- Legislation Targets “Deceptive” Resort Fees
- New Parking Fees at Hotels: When Mandatory Resort Fees are Not Enough
- I Want In on This Resort Fee Nonsense: Open My Own Resort
- It’s Time to Put the Kibosh on Hotel Resort Fees? Now?!?
- Mandatory Resort Fees Can Add Up to 50% More to Your Room Rate With Useless Amenities
- Mandatory Facilities Fee: A Growing Deceptive Trend in Lodging?
- Help Me List Hotel Properties Here to Fight Resort Fees
- What If Other Businesses Surprised You With the Equivalent of Resort Fees?
- $40 Resort Fee at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort Starts June 1, 2015
- Lawsuit Alleges Daily Resort Fee Was Hidden From Room Rate at Booking
- Who Likes Resort Fees? Not Me
- A Resort Fee Added on a $36 Rodeway Inn Room?
When I stay at a hotel or resort property, I try to leave the room as close to the way I found it as possible. I gather up the towels I used and either place them in the bathtub or on the floor in one area. I never leave hair in the drain. I always flush the toilet. Not only do I dispose of garbage properly, but I usually consolidated it in one trash can.
Some people do not leave a tip for housekeeping at all, with the logical and reasonable assumption that the services of the members of the housekeeping staff are included in the room rate — and they receive scorn from critics who claim that members of the housekeeping staff do not earn enough of a wage for their hard work to be able to afford basic living expenses; and by not leaving them gratuities, they are being denied reasonable compensation for doing their jobs.
If I decline to have a porter carry my bags to my room for me instead of doing it myself, am I denying him or her income? Do I not have a right to work for myself if I feel that I do not need any assistance?
Other people like to state that if you cannot afford to leave gratuities, then you therefore cannot afford to travel or dine at a restaurant. I believe that absolute statements such as that are overly harsh. Unless the service is beyond expectations, is enjoying a stay at a hotel or resort property — or even dining out in a restaurant, for that matter — without automatically acceding to what is basically a justified and glorified form of a handout too much to ask?
I will be the first to wholeheartedly agree that members of the housekeeping staff at hotel and resort properties need to be paid a better wage for their hard work. Artificially lowering the rate for a room at a hotel or resort property — only to have the guest pay resort fees and tips and gratuities and other hidden expenses — can be perceived as deceptive. Perhaps instead of $79.00, the true room rate should be $100.00; or perhaps instead of $213.00, the true room rate should be $345.00. At least the guest will have a better idea of what to pay with fewer surprises — as well as have the option of leaving a gratuity in addition to the real room rate if the service is indeed extraordinary. Lodging companies need to pay better wages to members of the housekeeping staff and not force customers to subsidize them. Tips and gratuities should be optional and at the discretion of the customer. Stop guilting guests into leaving a tip.
Finally, I am an adult. Don’t “suggest” to me when and how much I should tip. As I wrote in this article on Friday, 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.
All photographs ©2008, ©2015, ©2016 and ©2018 by Brian Cohen.