Hotel housekeeping: Do you tip?

When it comes to tipping hotel staff, most guests could use a few tips themselves. That is, hotel guests are often confused about when and how to tip hotel staff. The employees in our hotel laundry management business work directly with various members of hotel staff in luxury hotels across the tri-state area. At Prestige, we offer many services for hotel laundry management, such as hotel linen services, valet services, on-premise laundry, RFID solutions and more. Use this information below as a guide to better understanding how and when to tip hotel staff.

Article by: Marnie Hunter

Business traveler Bob Logan always tips hotel housekeepers, but he still has questions about the best way to do it.Tipping hotel staff

"Let's say I'm going into a hotel for three nights, do I leave something every night, do I do it only at the end? Does the housekeeper at the end -- is it the same one that did it the other night?" wonders Logan, a New Jersey business development director who spends about 50 nights a year in hotels.

Housekeeping is a realm of hotel tipping that even frequent travelers find confusing. Tipping the bellman is obvious; he's standing right there. But many guests skip tips for the hidden housekeepers or forget gratuities in the scramble to get out of the room.

Survey data shows that about 30% of U.S. hotel guests leave tips for hotel housekeepers, according to Michael Lynn, a professor at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

Since housekeeping positions fall into the out-of-sight ("back of the house") category of hotel work, the jobs aren't considered tips-based positions. Still, that doesn't mean tips aren't warranted, and in terms of tipping etiquette the rule of thumb is, "When in doubt, do," said Lizzie Post, an etiquette expert with the Emily Post Institute.

"This is a person who really does try to make your stay in your room nice every single day, and that is why we tip her," Post said.

So when and how much? Post offered these guidelines:

  • Tip every day to ensure your tip gets to the person who actually cleaned your room.
  • Leave a note in your room with the money indicating it is for housekeeping.
  • Tip $1 or $2 per person, per night in most hotels. In higher end hotels, $3 to $5 per person per night is typical.
  • In a motel, tips are generally not necessary for a one-night stay. The $1 or $2 standard is appropriate for multiday stays.

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