Earlier this week A Woman’s Nation (AWN), together with Marriott International announced that Marriott International will be the first partner in AWN’s The Envelope Please™ initiative. The plan is to leave clearly marked gratuity envelopes in guest rooms each day to remind people that some hard-working person, who probably doesn’t get paid very much, cleaned their room.
For the most part, these room attendants go unnoticed. Hotel guests may never encounter or even lay eyes on the housekeeper assigned to clean their room. For that reason, these dedicated souls are often overlooked when it comes to tipping.
As one who travels often to offer my programs on business etiquette to individuals and organizations, I try to be thoughtful and aware of those who work to make my days and nights away from home more pleasant.
Tipping can be challenging and confusing. The first thing for people to do when they are on the road or in the air is to have a sufficient number of one-dollar bills to handle the tipping process. I check that before I leave home—it is on my traveling and packing to-do list. Then I keep an eye on how the flow is going. If I am running low, I get change for larger bills in a gift shop or at the hotel desk.
If my system fails me, as it sometimes does in spite of the best intentions, I get the name of the bellman or other service individual. When I have the correct change, I leave my tip in an envelope with the person’s name on it at the front desk.
The next thing to do is to be clear on how much and whom to tip along the way. For that reason I have compiled a short list of those people. Keep in mind that in upscale environments and urban areas, tip at the higher level.
Let’s start with the housekeeper. I like to leave the tip, given that an envelope is not already provided by the hotel, on the bed or on the bathroom counter with a note addressed to the housekeeper saying, “Thank you for cleaning my room.” Occasionally there is a card in the room with the attendant’s name on it so I can personalize my message. I prefer to do this each day since the same person may not be cleaning my room every time.
How much should you tip the housekeeper? The amount may vary depending on your length of stay. Generally speaking, you should tip in the $2-$3 range per day. When you follow this practice, you might sleep better and so will the housekeeper who just made a few extra dollars.
Other people to consider tipping and the amounts are:
The doorman who takes your bags from the curb to the lobby – $1-$2 per bag
The bellman who takes your bags from the lobby to your room – $1-$2 per bag (If he offers to get you ice, he deserves another dollar or two.)
The concierge who goes out of the way to provide extra help or special service – $10
Room service – the tip is usually already added to your bill. If not, 15% of the total is standard. (You can always tip more if you are inclined.)
Others to tip during your travels are the skycap who checks your bags, the taxi driver who delivers you to and from the airport. The skycap gets the usual $1-$2 per bag. The standard for taxi drivers is 10-15% of the fare.
Now you know why I say to keep lots of one-dollar bills in your pocket at all times. If you feel that all you do on your travels is reach for your wallet day and night, you might be right; but these hard-working people who make your trip more pleasant deserve a show of gratitude.
Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.
Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions. Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.
Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.