What people are wrong about tips from hotel housekeepers
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Hotel guests often interact with a number of staff, from valets to bellboys to lobby bartenders. And in these exchanges, it is common knowledge to tip them accordingly.
But there is one category of staff that is often overlooked in the tip department due to the fact that the job often requires less face-to-face time: housekeeping.
“I have to admit my ignorance,” life etiquette expert Juliet Mitchell, also known as Ms. J., told HuffPost. “When I first started traveling and staying in hotels, I didn’t know that it was necessary to tip the housekeeping staff. This, for many, is truly a misstep born of ignorance.
In 2017, the New York Times reported that less than a third of hotel guests tip housekeeping staff. And even if they tip, they may not realize that it is important to do so for every day of their stay.
To help explain the rules about tipping hotel cleaners, HuffPost spoke to a few etiquette experts. Read on for their tips.
Why is it important to tip housekeeping staff
“You can sometimes run into cleaning ladies in the hallways, but you rarely see how hard they are working,” Jodi RR Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, told HuffPost. “The rooms must be cleaned, the carpets vacuumed, the sheets changed, the beds made, the towels refreshed, the bathrooms wiped up and the bins emptied. All of this should be done without disturbing guests or their property – and in a short, often timed, length of time. “
Work is also more precarious than you might think. Housekeepers experience the highest injury rates in the industry due to the physically demanding and urgent nature of their jobs, according to Unite Here, a union that represents more than 100,000 hotel workers in North America. Housekeepers also face an additional risk of sexual harassment and assault, as the job typically involves working alone in strangers’ rooms.
Following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many hotels have improved their cleaning protocols, which means additional disinfection tasks for housekeepers. Meanwhile, labor shortages have led to downsizing amid renewed demand for travel. Despite all this, housekeepers remain among the lowest paid workers on the farm.
Why should you do it everyday
The standard for hotel housekeeping is to tip every day to make sure the money goes to the specific person looking after your room.
“Because housekeeping is a 24/7 job, many teams work together to keep every room clean,” Smith said. “There is no guarantee that the housekeeper who cleaned earlier in your stay will be the same who cleans your room when you leave.
If you wait until the end of your stay to tip or leave everything early, you risk losing workers.
“Imagine you’re on vacation for a week,” Smith said. “A cleaning lady may have kept your room for the first five days. Then the next housekeeper keeps your room for two, but receives the tip for all seven.
During the pandemic, many hotels switched to an opt-in system for daily room cleaning due to sanitary guidelines and labor shortages. As a result, some guests might find it unnecessary to tip housekeepers.
But even if you never opt for room cleaning during your stay, you must leave a tip on the day you check out, as the housekeeping staff will come to clean up after you and disinfect the room before the next guests arrive. With staff shortages and improved cleaning procedures, it’s even more important to show your appreciation for their work.
How much money to leave
The standard amount for housekeeping is $ 1 to $ 5 per day, according to a tip guide from the American Hotel and Lodging Association. But with the pandemic underway, Unite Here suggested leaving at least $ 5.
“Tip graciously. There is no minimum tip, but if there was ever a moment to show generosity and respect, this is it,” said Diane Gottsman, etiquette expert, author of “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life” and founder of The Protocol School of Texas.
“$ 5-10 per day is greatly appreciated, depending on the selection of hotels you stay at,” she added. “The more elaborate the hotel, the more you will want to leave based on the overall price.”
Smith noted that tip amounts depend on factors such as geographic location, length of stay, number of people per room, and additional requests.
“A very general guideline is $ 3-5 per person per day,” she said. “In five-star establishments located in high-rent neighborhoods such as New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, the guideline is $ 5 to $ 10 per person per day. When in doubt, always round up. It might mean a few extra bucks for you, but it can mean so much to those who do the job. “
The AHLA advised placing the money in an envelope with a note to make it clear that it is housekeeping. Smith thinks the best place to put it is on the bed near the pillow.
What else to keep in mind
Courtesy to housekeepers doesn’t end with tips.
“Remember a real person is coming to pick up your mess,” Gottsman said. “Show respect to the person who keeps your room clean. Dispose of the waste in the container rather than on the ground. Observe special requests such as leaving your towels in a particular location if that is what the hotel requests.
She also recommended asking front desk workers if they can accommodate your request for items such as bathrobes, as housekeeping staff are more limited.
Civility expert and author of “Daily Etiquette” Patricia Rossi stressed that showing consideration for hotel staff with tips and courtesy is mutually beneficial, not only in terms of the service provided, but also in terms of spreading positivity in difficult times.
“It is giving back a small deposit of kindness for the good that has been done for you,” she said. “It shows appreciation, gratitude and respect, and it will stimulate your heart and theirs.”
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