It’s a question that’s been going on for decades – if you stay overnight at a hotel, how much should you tip hotel housekeeping staff? We intended to find out.
Tipping, although not limited to the United States, is certainly prevalent here. So much so that websites and publications specifically tell travelers who are not from the USA that tipping certain service people is part of the American culture and even though it’s not done in the country where they live, it’s customary and certainly strongly recommended to do so. Here’s what some well-known publications suggest:
- TripAdvisor.co.uk: $2-3 per night up to $5, more in high-end hotels. Also more if there are more than 3 people in a room or suite.
- CNN Money: $2-$10 per day depending on the quality of the service and the hotel.
- USA Today: $2 to $5 per night. A $2 to $3 tip is more common for a moderate hotel or smaller room, while $5 is acceptable for luxury accommodations. Give your housekeeper a dollar or two each time he completes an additional service, such as delivering forgotten toiletry items to your room.
- Traveller.com.au: $2-5 per day depending on the room (more for suites or rooms with kitchen/ettes) left each day of the stay (in case different employees are working). Leave an envelope or note to make it clear the cash is in fact a tip. $1-2 for evening turndown service, left on top of a pillow or with a note.
- Your Mileage May Vary: Wrote an excellent article on who, what, why, where, when, and how much you should tip EVERYONE, in dozens of countries.
Obviously, the amount varies by publication but then again, so do peoples’ thoughts on how much to tip. I’ve seen some non-Americans be almost proud about tipping poorly and, to make matters worse, I was very disappointed to read that about 1/3 of Americans don’t tip housekeeping at all.
We asked on one of our Sunday Morning Surveys on Facebook, “How much should you tip housekeeping staff?” The vast majority of respondents were Americans and the answers varied from $1 per day to upwards of $5 per day.
Two of our respondents worked in hotels. Their responses were, I think, particularly interesting:
Zeau M.: As a former hotel Sheraton housekeeper who worked full-time (7am-3pm 5 days/week), I know that maids get paid minimum wage and have to clean up a lot of very nasty stuff each day. (It’s amazing what gross things people will do in hotel rooms when they know they can check out and not have to deal with their disgustingness themselves.)
Sheeri Lee H.: I work at the Super 8 in Wilmington NC and can verify most housekeepers don’t make more than $8 per hour. And are not full time employees!!! On average our housekeepers work maybe 30-35 hours a week. What you need to remember that not only do they clean the rooms before you check in, but daily while you are there and then upon your checkout!! And on average they do up to 20-25 rooms a day depending upon the size of the staff and hotel!! I know my girls work hard and look forward to those tips to give them a little extra for all they do!!
Sheeri Lee H. also mentioned she asked “her girls” what they thought a fair tip would be – they said $3 per day, per room. Personally, I think that’s a fair amount, as well (with increases for being in a higher end hotel, specific requests or if we’ve somehow made a huge mess of something).
What do you think?
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