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November 17, 2010

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Sorry, I never tip the hotel housekeepers.

I never even heard of this custom until a couple years ago. So what if they make minimum wage? So do a lot of other people who work in the hotel and I don't tip them.

I'm not a scrooge-like tipper in general--I tip 20% to waiters in restaurants, 20% for my hairdresser, 20% to a cabdriver, and a couple dollars to the bellboy if he helps with my luggage or calls me a cab or something like that. But these are people I interact with directly.

In contrast, I never even see the housekeepers.

I consider the basic cleanliness of a hotel room to be included with the already substantial price of the room. Sort of like the hotel landscaping--and does anyone suggest that I place cash in the potted palms for the gardener?

And if she's not cleaning the toilet, she's not doing her job IMO.

I always tip a couple of dollars, even if it's the last day of our stay. Many times the employees are single moms or people taking on second jobs and working nights/weekends to make ends meet.

I appreciate attention to detail and not having to make my bed or wash linens...so I will tip extra on a day when there has been a little extra effort put forth.

Since when is tipping the maid not the standard practice. Check the etiquette books, folks. A few dollars per night is standard; IIRC, as high as $5 (tho probably for a high-end hotel). This is for the U.S.

I've also seen advice to tip at the start of the stay or daily, "to improve service". However, the mechanics of tipping is to encourage good service for the next person, because the person before you left a tip that encouraged the good service you received.

That said, I wish we had the overseas practice of not tipping. But we don't, so it's a discourtesy to other travellers not to tip the maids.

You tip the room-service waiter, right? The waiter in the restaurant?

I travel w/my husband on business trips and sometimes stay 2-3 weeks in one place. I always tip, around $2 a day. For that little amount we get "movie star" treatment for the most part and it extends to other personnel, such as the breakfast room attendent, health club attendent, front desk, etc because the maids talk about who tip.

I do agree that tipping does not guarantee a sparkling clean room, or even enough soaps, shampoos, etc. On my own experimentation, increasing it to $5/day (when we are upgraded to a suite, which is a lot more work) doesn't give more effort so I've settled on $2. This is usually in Canada, but their conversion rate is about the same as ours now.

I do not tip as well, when I already pay $150 or more per night then the factor of good service and cleanliness are expected. Besides, any housekeeper that comes in behind me has it made, I keep a clean room and clean up behind myself anyway. That is my way of tipping.

I agree with Jason for the most part. I've only tipped twice, once in a big rush to leave and the room (although not dirty) was a mess. The other time was when we had rented a hotel room and had come back after playing paintball.. as a result of four guys using the room and shower with muddy clothes and shoes and then drinking and eating all night, I left five bucks. We cleaned up but it was undoubtedly more work then the standard room.

Otherwise though yes, I keep a very clean room and bathroom, and I'm paying $100+ a night for a place to sleep- that money should include the service of someone coming in and not doing much more than emptying my trash. I would do the same in a rental car and I'm certainly not leaving a tip for the guy who vacuums and washes the car.

I worked in hotels throughout college and a good friend worked his way up through the Plaza and ran housekeeping for a number of years.

1 House keeping staff do not earn minimum wage unless you are staying in cheap motel. In NYC at the higher end union hotels I know the average total comp is over 100k per year. (Ok its NYC but still- you'd be shocked what some of the people make at these hotels in nyc.)

2. Its not standard to tip the maids. They are compensated in a way that assumes they do not make tips. Same for the front desk staff. Bellmen, Servers, etc are compensated less by the hotel because they get tips.

3. The best jobs at most hotels are room service and banquets- just an fyi.

4. Only tip for extra service or if you anticipate needing extra service. I get paid by the hotel to do my job. I get tipped when I need to do more.

5. Most rooms are checked by the housekeeping manager and if the maid failed to do their job they will hear about it and be called back. Only flush the toilet because there wasnt a tip? Yeah right. Good luck keeping that job.

Cindy-

If you are going to stay at a place for a while its a great idea to tip early and regular small amounts. But, the main reason people who stay at a hotel for long periods of time or on a regular basis is because they are regulars... in a business where everyone comes and goes, "regulars" are a rare breed and get better service just because. The $5 you give me doesnt motivate me to call you by your name or go the extra mile in that case; I do it because I 'know' you.

Wow, I am shocked at how utterly cheap you all are, especially you FMF... Please tip your maid! You tip a waiter 20 percent, why not give 5 bucks to the poor maid cleaning up your mess. Why not do it?

Emily-

It doesnt have anything to do with being cheap. It has to do with social norms. I dont tip my airline pilot. I dont tip the check out person at the grocery store. I dont tip the bellman $10,000 just because I can.

Here is where I will back track slightly, if you create an excessive mess, tip the maid. They had to do extra work. If you are normal, no need to tip.

I've always tipped housecleaning $2-$3 per night when staying in a hotel. I've never expected better service because of the tip but it always seemed like a courteous thing to do.

I worked cleaning resort rooms in the Midwest one summer during college, and while I appreciated tips, they were rare and didn’t typically influence my level of service. We were expected to clean every room to a certain standard, so we met that, and since we were making a just a few cents over minimum wage, were not inspired to go above and beyond. I maybe made a total of $10 in tips that summer (plus maybe an extra $20 in unopened beers and other random perishables that were left behind—management considered those ours for the taking)

There were exceptions of course: there was a group of construction workers staying long term… the ones who tipped well generally got extra towels or extra amenity-type things left in their room, but the cleaning itself was no better or worse than any other room. Just flushing the toilet instead of cleaning it would have put our job in jeopardy had the owners come through to inspect.

I usually leave a dollar or two a night if I have cash. Of course, most of my hotel stays are single nights in cheap roadside places when I'm traveling. If the room is only barely clean to start with, I'm not going to reward the staff. I do think tips are for above and beyond service.

My husband is away at military schooling, staying in an extended-stay suite hotel for 3-1/2 months. We were just discussing how much he should leave for the housekeepers (he thinks he's had 3 different ones so far) when he leaves in December. Any thoughts on tipping in those circumstances?

I try to leave a dollar a night... maybe a little more if I've been there awhile. It's just good karma, I think

I seriously feel like tipping has gotten out of control, if you take the logic that some present, we should be tipping TSA for patting us down and looking through our bags at the airport. A line has to be drawn somewhere.

Viola-

A card and a few bucks.

"Thank you for taking care of us over the last few weeks. Please enjoy lunch on us today."

I always tip housekeeping just as I would a waiter, bellman or anyone else who performs a personal service. The time and effort a housekeeper puts into your room is likely way more than other people you wouldn't hesitate to tip, like the guy who takes your order and brings you a sandwich.

$5 a day is usually what I leave and I do notice housekeeping seems to take a little better care of things like leaving extra coffee or drinking glasses or whatever it is they notice I use more of.

If we are staying in a hotel for 2-3 nights, we typically leave the "Do not disturb" sign on the door whenever we leave - we keep our rooms fairly neat and clean, and I'd rather not have to put away all our personal items in order for housekeeping to clean it. If we're staying longer than that, I'll typically leave $2 or $3 for each time they clean the room (maybe twice for a 5 night stay?) and $5 when we check out. I agree that it *should* be considered part of the room price, but I feel better leaving a few bucks for a hardworking staff.

The staff often changes so leaving a smaller tip "daily" means (vice all at once at the end) that each housekeeper shares, plus you'll get better service along the way. I also leave $1~ at the free hot breakfast buffet for the gal who serves my coffee, takes away the dirty dishes...

I usually tip a few bucks, but I'm positive it won't affect the service rendered.

I bet if that person got a $100 tip everyday, they still wouldn't clean the toilet (I know too many people like this!)

The writer in your post just isn't a good honest person, end of story...

I really don't like the extortion tactic and entitlement attitude with tips. The toilet should be cleaned no matter what the tip is.

I do tend to tip housekeeping around $1 a night give or take.

Our tipping system makes much sense to me so arguing that you should or shouldn't tip one group because another group is or isn't tipped really doesn't explain it all. I think tipping is inefficient and I much wish that we simply paid people better wages and maybe gave small tips.

Nowadays hotel and motel rooms are so expensive I have a hard
time justifying a tip on top of the price. I DO appreciate the work
housekeeping does, but no one tips ME....how many people should one
tip, when everyone starts expecting one? I just don't trash the room,
and I say "Good morning!" (or "Buenos dias!") when I see the housekeeper
in the morning outside the room.....

"House keeping staff do not earn minimum wage unless you are staying in cheap motel. In NYC at the higher end union hotels I know the average total comp is over 100k per year. (Ok its NYC but still- you'd be shocked what some of the people make at these hotels in nyc.)"


The mean pay for maids in NYC is $15.48. And we all know how expensive NYC is, making $15 there is like making $8 in most places.

Nationally the median wages for housekeeping in the accommodation industry is $8.75. The top 10% earn $13.75. For every maid in the US making $100k theres probably 100,000 maids making under $8.


"Its not standard to tip the maids."

It is certainly a custom and has been for a long time. I can find numerous references to the practice dating back to the early 20th century.

NY Times article dated Mar. 19, 1922:
http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50D17FD355810738DDDA00994DB405B828EF1D3

Mrs. Rockefeller launched into a defense of the "tipless" rule. "We feel that there should never be any tipping allowed in the Grace Dodge or in any such hotels", ...
"If the woman in the room next to me can tip the maid a quarter and I can tip her only 10 cents, the natural instinct of the maid is to give better service to the other woman."

Geez, I *ALWAYS* tip if I have to stay in a hotel room (I do, when I go to art conventions to sell my art, usually 2-3 times a year)

I always leave between $2 and $5 for the maid, depending on how many people are in the room (we artists usually room together in groups to save on costs). I tip, because I'm poor, and I know how much I'd appreciate the extra income if I was the maid. And on top of that, I also make sure the room is relatively clean, so they don't have to do too much. I'd hate to walk into a slovenly room where the guests just left crap all over (or nasty surprises in the toilet), if I was a maid.

And people who don't tip....disgust me.

jim --

I'm willing to tip a quarter to get better service. ;-)

I have worked as a housekeeper before in a resort and tipping was definately not the norm, but was always appreciated. And contrary to one of the comments I wasn't making anywhere near $100K, it was $6.10 an hour, so every little bit counted! As usual though the people who really needed to tip - left dirty diapers scattered across the floor -never did, and the people who left their rooms spotless would leave you $20. I did have cases though where someone would leave me a note apologising that their kid had wet the bed, along with a hefty tip, and thats definately appreciated, the warning as much as the tip. Having said that, I never let the housekeepers into my hotel room unless I'm staying more than 4 or 5 days, I'd just rather keep the privacy.

This is a larger debate that could easily be a blog in itself. I think, outside of the restaurant, tipping is hotly debated. Who do you tip:
Barber/hairdresser?
Newspaper delivery person?
Cab driver?
Grocery bagger?
Maid?
etc...
I tip well in restaurants because tips are an expected part of the wage and the conventional wisdom is 15% (usually I tip 15% for average and 20% for good and will stiff for exceptioanlly poor service). But many states allow restaurants to pay wiatresses and waiters at or below minimum wage in expectation of these tips. That said, most of the other professions above do not plan tips into the plan. And changing times have changed the dynamic of some of these tipable trades (you are no longer tipping a local kid who rides his bike each day to deliver your newspaper, you are tipping an employee - or more likely a subcontractor- who delivers them). So who do you tip?

Jim-

Feel free to show me data within the last 15 years. I am fairly certain social norms have shifted in the last 100 years.

Have you ever worked for a hotel? Most people who stay at hotels, do not tip the maids. Right or wrong, they dont tip. The hotel does not expect guests to tip their maids just like they dont expect guest to tip the maintenance person or management. Its not expected by the hotel, its not done by most guests, and its not expected by the staff.

Just called a friend who is the COO of a major publicly traded hotel company... "maids in our NYC hotels get paid per room and the average total compensation is 80-100k"

Total compensation includes extra pay for tasks not in the contract. Cleaning up puke for example is not covered in a maids employment contract and the task is negotiated on the spot with the manager. A lot of compensation comes from this 'negotiation'.


I think the practice of tipping a person to get them to do their job properly is a mistake. It just allows the employer to underpay the employee. The employer should pay what ever is necessary to hire competent people who will do their job properly and discharge those employees who who do not. If a customer decides to leave a tip because he received exceptional service that is his privilege. The tip should never be expected and never left before the service is received. If it is left before the service is received it is not a tip, it is a bribe.

I try to tip $1/day per person in the room. If my wife, son and I spend 3 days in a hotel, I tip $9.

I usually tip a buck or two a day, but I give it when I check out. Once I tried to tip after the first day of a multi-day stay, but the maid didn't take it. I assumed that it was because she didn't want to be accused of stealing.

Tyler,

If maids are making $80 - $100K a year in NYC, there must be HUGE pressure by management to reduce headcount and get the number of rooms cleaned per maid up.

With costs like that, robotic maid service isn't a bad idea. Or grab a roomba and turn it loose while the maid is taking care of the other tasks.

-Mike

I'm probably beating a dead horse but here is my $0.02:

I normally tip at hotels, usually $1-2 per night, no more than $5. I'm typically not staying more than 2-3 nights anyway.

I like good surprises and like to give positive surprises as well, so I figure since nothing is expected it's a minor surprise for the housekeeper. I also think that a few dollars may mean more to the housekeeper than to me. Finally I hope to get a bit of good karma back in the form of a smooth travel experience (no delayed flight, no lost bags, easy security line, low stress experience, etc).

Sometimes by giving first you become more receptive to receiving positivity.

Nothing scientific by any means but seems like a worthwhile small expenditure.

And I never expense these tips for business travel (the reimbursement form we use has a line for tips).

-Mike

Mike-

Of course there is pressure to reduce headcount. In any business that pressure exists.

Another example I was given... "When movie star A and B, stayed at hotel X we had to pay $200 per person for 3 maintenance guys to move a tread mill into their suite because moving tread mills was not in their employment contract." I was also told the highest paid people were the banquets manager of the servers- not a management position but someone who is hourly and basically the head server... he said in NYC at their hotels between 200 and 400k. Its a slight issue because the 'staff' positions pay a lot more than the management positions(front desk manager, banquets manager, etc).

I dont know the following for fact, but a few years ago I was talking to a friends whose son had just graduated college and was working as a valet at a high end hotel in a resort town and he was shocked that his son made 70k that year as a valet. His concern was that his son wouldnt leave the resort and get a 'real' job.

When traveling for business I'll flip the "Privacy" sign on and just keep my room tidy during the week. Like another mentioned, I'd prefer privacy.

However, when travelling with my family of 5 (wife and 3 sons), I'll leave a $5 tip because the room will be well used.

Be sure to tip your TSA agent today if you fly! They have to go through your bags and look at revealing scans of you or pat your dirty self down by hand.

Wouldnt they deserve a tip just as much as the person cleaning your room? Oh wait, I forgot, its not their job to do these things, thats why we must tip them...

The logic of tipping the maids because they have to clean a dirty room is irrational, it is their job to clean a dirty room, that is why they are paid to do it in the first place.

So Jason (assuming you live in America)...you NEVER tip a waiter or waitress? After all, "they're just doing their job."
Yet, in America, it's EXPECTED to tip a waiter/waitress, and if you don't, you look like a jerk. If someone is providing a service that you've ordered, you tip. It's the way our etiquette dictates. You don't fart loudly in a church service, do you? No, because it's against North American etiquette. This same American etiquette dictates that you tip people who provide a service you asked for.

Your logic of tipping TSA doesn't hold, because TSA doesn't provide a service that people ask for. TSA has RULES that people have to follow, whether they like them or not (if they want to fly). Big difference.

Emily Post Tipping Guide: http://www.emilypost.com/out-and-about/tipping/89-general-tipping-guidelines

General Tipping guide: http://www.essortment.com/all/tipping_rdef.htm

BD, I tip my waiter or waitress because they provide a service that I request. When I order a hotel room, I do not request it be clean, I expect it to be clean because I have already paid for that service in the cost of the room. Cleanliness at a hotel room is not a special service.

People expect safety at the airport just as they do a clean hotel room. If people want safety then TSA is providing a service that is requested. Hotel maids have rules too, regardless of if they are tipped, they must clean your room.

I'll start tipping the maid for cleaning my room when they start tipping me for being the engineer who designed the vacuum cleaner they are using to clean my room. If someone makes minimum wage or above, they make a full wage and don't get a tip.

Jason, I see your point, but by that logic, then one would never tip a waiter or waitress for normal service, because if you go into a restaurant, you expect to get your food served to you as part of attending the restaurant. You don't have a choice...you can't go to the order counter and get the food yourself (well, you could, but you'll get yelled at). Just like you expect a clean room as part of staying at a hotel.

By the logic of tipping only as a service that isn't part of an 'expectation', people would only tip in cases where services are above and beyond anything ordinarily expected as part of your experience at said establishment. In other words, you would only tip your waiter or waitress if they provided extraordinary service that went above and beyond just serving your food, and one would only tip a hairdresser if they went above and beyond their normal service. Tipping would be quite rare in any situation.

And that just isn't what etiquette dictates for tipping in North America.

BD,

So why not tip everyone who provides you a service? Your insurance agent? The cashier at the grocery story and guy who bags your groceries? Your bank teller? The clerk at the post office? Your boss? We have people who work as cleaning staff posting on this board who are telling us that tipping is not expected. Isn't that enough?

Sammy - That's a good point. Why are waiters and waitresses tipped then? Why not just pay for your meal and not tip?

Because North American etiquette has already established a list of who and who not to tip, and waitresses and waiters are expected to be tipped as per etiquette...the same with housekeepers at a hotel.

And BTW, I've worked low-income jobs my whole life (as have most of my friends), and I can assure you from personal experience, most housekeepers expect the tip.

...should have included this tidbit as well: Roughly half of the hotels I've stayed at included an envelope on the nightstand that had the housekeeper's name written on it and the words "Thank You". If they didn't EXPECT a tip...what the heck is the envelope for? ;P

BD,

Wait staff are tipped because they usually are paid less than minimum wage from the restaurant.

I stay at hotels all the time and I've never seen an envelope with the housekeepers name on it, but then again I stay at reputable hotels where you wouldn't expect begging. I'd actually say something to the management if an envelope were left in my room soliciting additional money.

I just polled all of my coworkers and none of them leave tips to housekeepers when on business trips. It appears that tips are the exception rather than the rule.

What? I had no idea it was so uncommon to tip the maids. Growing up, my parents always tipped a dollar or two per day my husband and I now always tip a couple of dollars a day. Often, I'll write a little note saying "thank you" on the hotel scratch pad. I have noticed that I tend to get better service than the few times when we forget to tip. Whoever thinks it isn't necessary hasn't seen that video on You Tube from Dateline (or one of those other news outfits) investigating hotel maids' practices.

Bonnie,

Those videos on youtube are one of the reasons I don't tip.

So I just wanted to add a comment here. Now I have read some of the post here and see some people don't tip because they dont tip a grounds men or front desk agent. Now let me explain somthing, I am a manager for a property management company and I also handle the pay for our employees. Our house keepers get paid 50cents more than min wage because they drive to the property we clean while everyone else in our company makes $13 a hour or more. So for the people who feel they dont want to tip a house keeper because they dont want to tip a grounds men just remember this house keepers normally dont get paid any where near what other hotel/vacation condo employees make.

What about long term stay? I'm staying in a hotel for 8 months while my house finishes building. This is about 1600 a month, typical for the area of california I'm in. That said, a different maid comes in every day and cleans. Should I still be leaving a tip?

And if I only left 3 dollars a day (which most of you say is typical) I will have spent close to a grand by the time I can move into my new house!

This is typical? This seems excesseive, I could've paid another half-months rent.

Ashley --

If it was me, I'd find out how many maids service the room (3? 4?) and get them all a gift card somewhere (with a nice note) when you left. Total cost maybe $100 to $200.

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