Hotel Tipping Etiquette

Most of us are not familiar with proper hotel tipping etiquette. Having all of your wants and needs taken care of and generally being treated like royalty at a hotel can be wonderful. For many of us though, the stress arrives when it comes time to tip the hotel staff. How much is enough? How much is too much? Which hotel staff should you tip and when?

Hotel Staff
In the last few years, more hotel services are being added to your hotel experience. With these added services come additional staff like pool attendants, massage therapists, butlers and spa attendants. Some of these staff members have tips already built into their fees, but others are counting on tips to survive.

The Doorman
When you arrive at a hotel, the first person you are likely to encounter is the doorman. He will unload bags from the car or taxi, and can assist you if you need directions to a restaurant or particular destination. The rule of thumb for bags is one dollar per bag and one to two dollars if he hails you a taxi.

Front Desk Staff
The front desk staff will check you in but, unless they go above and beyond, a hotel tip to this staff isn't necessary.

The Bellman
Once you're checked in, the bellman escorts you to your room, opens curtains, turns on lights and makes sure you have everything you need. It is sufficient to tip this hotel staff member one to two dollars per bag. It's also nice to make eye contact when you hand the tip to the bellman.

Valet Parking Attendant
If you drove to your hotel, the valet parking attendant is someone you are likely to see on a daily basis. One to two dollars per day should be sufficient, as long as the attendant keeps  your car in one piece.

Maid or Housekeeper
One person many people seem to forget about when they tip hotel staff is the maid or housekeeper. The maid keeps your room clean, turns a blind eye to your dirty underwear and filthy socks and places mints or flowers on your pillow to ensure a happy night. The standard tip for the maid is one to two dollars per night. The most important thing to remember is to leave the tip each day as maids clean different rooms every day. You don't want to tip at the end of your stay when that maid may only have cleaned your room once.

Room Service Staff
Just think of room service staff as the same as a waiter in a restaurant and tip the 15 to 20 percent you would normally tip.

Maintenance Staff
Tipping maintenance staff can be tricky. Technically, everything in your room should work correctly and when it doesn't, you have the hassle of calling maintenance. Some people feel it's good karma to tip hotel staff that come to your room promptly and fix your broken item efficiently. If you really feel strongly about it, you shouldn't tip the hotel staff in maintenance. But if you do and anything else goes wrong, you'll probably be on top of their list of guests to help.

Additional Hotel Staff
In many hotels, there are a ton of new services being offered from pool attendants and massage therapists to personal shoppers and various kinds of butlers. Most of these personalized service staff should be tipped. If a pool attendant lathers suntan lotion on your back or brings you a clean towel, one to two dollars is a large enough tip. Give massage therapists 10 to 20 percent of the fee for the massage, and if a personal shopper gets all of your purchases correct, a ten percent tip wouldn't go amiss. If you can afford a butler, chances are you're probably not going to quibble about a tip. Giving five to ten dollars per service is standard.

Tipping Abroad
Remember that these suggestions apply to hotels in the U.S. If you travel overseas, hotel staff tipping is dealt with differently. In Thailand, you will tip the same hotel staff at 50 percent of what you would tip in the U.S. Japanese hotel staff consider tipping rude. Although this view is now changing, don't feel offended if your tip is returned to you. The British tend to tip fairly lower than their American counterparts, so an American-size tip in a British hotel will be ecstatically accepted. In some countries, tipping is illegal. Make sure you check local customs before you leave home.

The most important thing to remember when trying to follow proper tipping etiquette is that the process is voluntary. Only tip hotel staff if you feel the service was worth it. Don't tip if your experience was less than ideal.

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