Would you tip this hotel housekeeper?
by Oct 10th 2009 9:00AM
I recently spent a night at the Comfort Inn in Marietta, Ohio, where I found this envelope on my desk.
Our blogger Jason Cochran wrote an excellent piece last year posing the question, should you tip the housekeeper at a hotel? After receiving this envelope, I had a couple of additional thoughts on the issue, specifically about one-night stays.
1. Did the hotel management know of this plea? Note that this envelope makes no mention of the hotel, and could easily have been printed at home by an entrepreneurial room keeper. If I had left some money for Jackie, I would have given the manager the envelope to deliver.
2. Expecting guests to tip room staff is part of the very very annoying "baffle them with B.S." strategy other industries (the worst offender, airlines) have taken to disguise the true full price of their products. The quoted room price of $75 did not include local taxes (11%), nor did it include this tip. How far will this plague of atomizing charges spread?
IMHO, the hotel should be paying the housekeeper a reasonable wage out of the room rate charged, rather than expect me to make up the difference with a tip. A tip is a supposed to be an direct exchange between customer and server, a deserved reward for good service.
For a one-night stay, I have no such contract with the room-keeper, any more than I do with the groundskeeper or the switchboard or the pool cleaner or any other staft person I never see. And I'm not tipping the pool boy.
When one hotel successfully twists the arm of visitors to chip in extra to make up for its unwillingness to pay its staff fairly, its competitors must soon follow suit or make up the difference out of their pockets. Guess which option they'll choose.
Travel and Leisure, shills for the hotel trade, suggests tipping housekeepers $3-5 a night. For my Comfort Inn room, a $5 tip would represent a 6% increase in the room cost. That's a huge hidden cost.
What's your take? Do you tip housekeeping when spending one night in a Holiday Inn Express, Super 8 or other mid-priced motel? If so, how much?
(If you enjoyed, this column, feel free to send a tip to my Paypal account. $3-5 is recommended.)