I love staying in hotels. I like the plush bedding, the spotless, well-appointed rooms, the fact that I never have to make my bed. But rarely did I think about the hotel maids who make the nice stays possible. According to travel experts, guests are supposed to tip hotel housekeepers/maids, but most folks don’t. I’ve only heard that guideline a while back, and have only started tipping a few months back.
One thing that struck me was that hotel maids are so invisible that it’s easy to forget them. Unlike a waiter or waitress who’s right in front of you bringing you drinks and food, I’m not in the room when a housekeeper cleans the toilet, changes the sheets, or dusts the TV.
Once I started learning more about hotel maids, I felt guilty about all those years of not tipping. But I also don’t want to start adding $10 in tips to every 3-day trip. Now, to make sure I’m a conscientious guest, I do a couple of things. I hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door – I am rarely in a hotel room longer than 2 days, and I just don’t need the room cleaned and the bed remade every single day. When I check out I leave $3 or $4 underneath the pillow (somewhere where the housekeeping is sure to find it).
CNN Money published a good article on hotel tipping:
So when and how much? (Lizzie) Post offered these guidelines:
• Tip every day to ensure your tip gets to the person who actually cleaned your room.
• Leave a note in your room with the money indicating it is for housekeeping.
• Tip $1 or $2 per person, per night in most hotels. In higher end hotels, $3 to $5 per person per night is typical.
• In a motel, tips are generally not necessary for a one-night stay. The $1 or $2 standard is appropriate for multiday stays.
Tipping housekeepers is “a really lovely thing,” said Reneta McCarthy, a Cornell lecturer who started out in the industry as a housekeeping manager with Marriott.
“But generally speaking I would say the majority of people don’t do it. And when you look at it, you know, I hate to say it, but this is not considered a tips position. The housekeepers, unlike the bellmen, are not filling out tip reporting forms,” she said.
The national average hourly wage for bellhops was $11.40 in May 2010, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics wage estimates. The average for housekeepers was $10.17, according to survey data. Survey forms issued by the bureau ask for information on tips, but it’s unclear how reporting varies between housekeepers and bellhops.
Even now, I don’t always remember to tip. Sometimes I will run out of cash. Sometimes I will be running out to catch my flight and simply forget. But most of the time I try to tuck in a few dollars here and there. I guess I figured if restaurant servers are tipped, hotel maids – with an arguably more difficult (and much less visible) job – should be too.