Respectfully Yours: hotel tipping
Our family plans on traveling more frequently this summer. I’m never sure how much and when to tip housekeeping, concierge, valet, etc. I would like to know the basic guidelines for tipping hotel staff.
Hotel tipping is one of those things that can confuse even the most experienced of travelers. The hospitality business model is built on showmanship and catering to you. When you arrive at a hotel, people immediately spring into action to make your stay more comfortable.
Keep in mind, not every hotel you are going to stay in will have a bellman and concierge. Some have a front desk clerk, and travelers typically handle their own suitcases and help themselves to coffee in the front lobby. Tipping is customary but not as complex.
At a self-serve hotel, without plush bathrobes, there are still staff members who deserve a tip. A minimum of $2-$3 per night is customary for housekeeping. Please include another $1 or $2 every time you make a special request, such as extra toiletries. Write a note clearly labeling the money and fold it around the tip. Leave the tip somewhere obvious, on your pillow or nightstand. This lets the housekeeper know it’s intended for him or her.
It is always fine to tip housekeeping in person, too. This is a nice opportunity to say “thank-you.”
Most people tip housekeeping at the end of their stay. However, it is better to tip your housekeeper for each night instead of giving one large tip at the end of your stay. You may not have the same housekeeper each day, depending on staff schedules. A single tip given before you leave may not get distributed to the staff members who cleaned your room throughout your stay.
The front desk attendant is another staff member who deserves a tip in return for special, personal service. For example, give the front desk attendant $1 or $2 for arranging an early check-in or late checkout.
When staying at an upscale hotel in metropolitan areas, it is customary to tip several members of the staff, such as concierge, valet, and room service. Housekeeping at a high-end hotel would receive $5 per night.
Tipping for each day you receive service is customary. If you splurged and ordered room service, check the bill. If there is no gratuity added, tip the server 15 percent to 20 percent, just as you would in a restaurant.
A high-end hotel is likely to have valet service. It is unnecessary to tip the valet for parking a car. Parking valets are paid $3-5 upon pick-up.
Tipping the concierge is never expected, but always appreciated. The more difficult the request, the higher the tip, with $5 and up per request a good guideline. If you’re simply asking directions, a tip is optional.
Tipping is a way of saying thank-you for good service. Knowing how to tip isn’t just good etiquette, it can help ensure exceptional service throughout your stay.
Have a question? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2018 Jacquelyn Youst