To Tip Or Not To Tip? A StaySmarter Blog

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According to a 2010 survey published by Michael Lynn, professor at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, only 30% of U.S. hotel guests leave tips for hotel housekeepers. This may be because housekeeping positions are often considered “back of the house” jobs at hotels. Whereas you expect to tip a valet, doorman, or hotel employee you communicate with face to face, housekeepers are often the unsung hotel heroes. Because they operate mostly behind the scenes, they tend to be left out of very justified tips!

Housekeepers clean 15 or more rooms a day and they are working harder than ever before. The same hotel amenities we love and have often come to expect (plush mattresses, an abundance of pillows and towels) are making their jobs more involved, detailed, and time-consuming.  Heavy, layered bedspreads are now the norm and on an average day a maid has to change over 130 pillows!

Many people wrote in with questions about appropriate tipping policies. Our Hotel Insider has some great insight on this topic and says “housekeepers are always happy when they see their hard work being recognized, and tipping is a way to do just that.”

Are you traveling for the holidays or planning an upcoming trip? Read on:

SAH: How often should you tip your housekeeper if you are staying at a hotel for multiple nights?
HI: Ideally, you should tip daily as the same housekeeper doesn’t always clean your room each day.  Please keep in mind you should always put your tip in an envelope with the housekeeper’s name on it.

If you don’t know the name of your housekeeper, please write “for housekeeping” on the envelope.  If there’s no envelope, please leave the money under the pillow and not on the bedside table or any other room surface because the maids won’t think the cash is for them.

SAH: About how much is appropriate to tip?
HI: There’s no official guide on an appropriate tip, but $1-$2 per person per night at lower to mid-range hotels and $3-$5 per person per night at higher end hotel is usually a good rule of thumb.


John K. Hart
Founder and CEO of StaySmarter
A purpose-driven and results-focused leader, John is the Founder and CEO of Imagine If, a team of hotel insiders that is the maker of the StayFaster and StayAtHand websites and apps, a powerful suite of tools that are the smartest way to get your hotel stay. They provide consumers the world’s fastest, most powerful way to book hotels. They provide hotels a new pricing model, support for their rewards programs, and significant opportunities for brand differentiation.