A Guide To Hotel Tipping

Courtesy: Julie Weed / News Source: nytimes.com

With daily fees (parking, gym or the dreaded resort fee) seemingly increasing both in quantity and in amount, it may be hard during your hotel stay to shell out gratuities as well. But traveling is one of life’s luxuries, said the etiquette columnist Karen Cleveland, and it’s important to tip the staff who help make it happen.

“My approach in life,” she said, “is if you can afford a service, you can afford the gratuity.”

Many hotel staff earn the minimum wage, Ms. Cleveland said, and tips can add meaningful income. “There’s no downside in being generous in tipping.”

Erika Richter, communications director for the American Society of Travel Advisors, recommends the practice, but notes that “tipping is very much a personal thing.” Specific amounts should be adjusted depending on the service you receive and the location and type of property where you are staying, she said.

Here are hotel-tipping suggestions from frequent travelers, Ms. Cleveland and the American Society of Travel Advisors.
Getting there and situated

SHUTTLE DRIVER Taking the shuttle from the airport or from the hotel to downtown? Five dollars per person for the driver should cover it. Add a few extra dollars for luggage.

PORTER If you are storing bags with the hotel porters before or after your stay, tip a few dollars per bag when you leave them and when you retrieve them, to thank everyone who helped you.

If the porter brings your luggage to your room, tip a couple of dollars per bag, or a bit more if they offered orientation information.
In the room

HOUSEKEEPER Pushing a heavy cart of cleaning and room supplies, lifting mattresses and bending over tubs and toilets is probably the most physically demanding job in the hotel. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average housekeeper makes $25,000 per year.

Ms. Cleveland suggests leaving a tip of $5 a day, “the price of a fancy coffee.” Tips should be left in an obvious place — on the bed or nightstand, with a note saying it is for the housekeeper.

Recognizing the housekeeping staff is especially important because “they don’t have the ceremony” of bringing your dinner or mixing your drink with a flourish behind the bar, said Ms. Cleveland, which can make them invisible.

If you host a party in your room or are traveling with children (always a party!) consider leaving a bit more.

“You should add a dollar per person per day if there’s more than two people in your hotel room,” Ms. Richter advises.

On a multiday stay, leave a daily tip, rather than one at the end to make sure the person cleaning your room each day receives the money.
In the lobby

CONCIERGE With the internet at our fingertips, the hotel concierge has faded as a guest’s main source of local information and recommendations. But they can and still do give great advice and can make reservations at restaurants, perhaps off the beaten path.

“It’s all about local knowledge,” Ms. Richter said. “They take feedback from other hotel guests into account when they make their suggestions,” she said, so their ideas are more personalized to the clientele.

For their help, tip them $5 or more, depending on how much time they spend with you. No need to tip for a quick set of directions and a map.

FRONT DESK STAFF If the front desk staff untangle a gnarly room situation or unexpectedly upgrade you, write a nice online review.
A note about international tipping

Tipping practices vary widely from country to country. Do some online research beforehand Ms. Cleveland advises, “so by the time you arrive at your hotel, you’re doing the appropriate thing.”

Brooke Porter Katz’s guide to tipping around the world on The Points Guy travel website can get you started.

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