How much (and how often) you should tip hotel housekeeping

We’ve all been there – standing in our hotel room wondering how much (and how often) to tip housekeeping. For many travelers, the unspoken rules about tipping housekeeping staff at U.S. hotels and resorts were already confusing before the pandemic. Now that COVID-19 protocols have further altered housekeeping policies, often resulting in less frequent room cleanings, tipping etiquette has only become more confusing.

This confusion is understandable, but tipping hotel housekeepers should be considered a must while on vacation, advised Michael McCall, a Hilton Hotels Fellow at Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business.

“Of anyone in the hotel, housekeeping would be the first person I would tip,” McCall said. “They provide the front line service at the gut level.”

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Why You Should Always Tip Hotel Housekeeping

When you travel you want a clean and comfortable hotel room for the duration of your stay, right? Well, who makes this possible? Hotel housekeeping. Arriving to a fresh, clean room sets the tone for your vacation and being spoiled by all the services along the way makes the trip special.

“Housekeeping is a messy, messy job that sometimes goes unseen,” said Tiffany Ten Eyck, spokeswoman for hotel workers’ union UNITE HERE. “Housekeepers are the backbone of the ideal hotel experience, where you can relax and know your room is clean and amenities are replenished. Tips, whether large or small, have a financial impact on housekeepers and thank them for a job well done that workers truly appreciate. »

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One caveat: if you’re traveling internationally, tipping hotel housekeeping might not be the norm.

“There are differences between domestic and international travel,” said Elaine Swann, etiquette expert and founder of the Swann School of Protocol. “You will find in some cases that tipping is prohibited in some countries. I recommend that you do your research before traveling abroad to find out whether or not it is acceptable to tip service industry staff.

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How much to tip hotel housekeeping

You can find tipping guides for housekeeping and other hotel services from organizations such as the American Hotel and Lodging Association and Fair Hotel. A general rule of thumb is $3-$5 per night for budget and mid-range hotels, and up to $10 per night for luxury hotels and resorts (or more if the service is really upscale).

Families don’t automatically need to tip more than single travelers or couples. But keep in mind the kind of impact a lot of toddlers could have on a room, or the extras you might need for housekeeping (more clean towels and shampoo, for example).

“If you leave behind a field of crushed crackers in the rugs, consider a heartfelt thank you note and a larger tip!” said Ten Eyck.

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And if the requests start piling up, so should your tip.

“If you ask for extra towels, a hair dryer, or more ice, you’ll tip the housekeeper accordingly,” said Diane Gottsman, etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Texas.

When to tip the cleaners in your hotel room

Some travelers like to tip hotel housekeeping at the end of their stay. But most experts say it’s best to tip every day of your trip. “We recommend tipping every night, as your room may be serviced by different people,” Ten Eyck said. Plan ahead and make sure you have enough cash to cover the duration of your stay.

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Starting your journey on the right foot can also pay off for you.

“I personally have found that if you tip the staff early, you never seem to run out of towels,” McCall said.

How to tip the hotel housekeeper

Make sure your tip is clearly a tip and not just money you left in your room. “My recommendation is to leave the tip in a highly visible open space,” Swann said. “You want it to be very visible. Don’t put it under anything, because then it might look like it’s accidentally forgotten money.

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An envelope or a short thank you note can also help identify it as a household tip. “You don’t have to, but if you leave a note, just take the hotel stationery and write some kind of joke and tip extra,” Swann said. “And don’t just throw a wad of cash on the desk. Open them up and lay them flat, so it’s clearly a tip for the hotel staff.

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What about household changes related to COVID?

During the pandemic, many hotels stopped cleaning hotel rooms daily and made other changes to their housekeeping services. Some of these changes seem to have lasted a long time, but that doesn’t mean you should change the way you tip.

“Even though the housekeeping staff and their duties have changed significantly, they are working harder than ever,” Gottsman said.

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The new sanitation protocols have added extra work that was not previously on housekeepers’ to-do lists. (Think of all those sanitized, plastic-wrapped TV remotes, for example.) And less frequent room cleanings don’t make housekeeping any easier.

“Rather than giving housekeepers a break, cleaning rooms that haven’t been serviced for days makes the job harder,” Ten Eyck said.

“These people are still getting the job done even with the pandemic,” Swann said. “The housekeepers are always there on hand to provide you with anything you need. It’s a good idea to show them some kind of gratitude. I wouldn’t let the change in terms of what’s happening with the pandemic affect your donations.

More from FamilyVacationist: offers family vacation ideas; family vacation spots; all-inclusive resorts; and must-have travel accessories for families of all shapes, sizes and orientations. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

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