Posts Tagged how to tip

Don’t be a Scrooge This Holiday Season

No one wants a Scrooge staying at their Hotel

I’ve talked a lot about tipping before. Specifically about tipping the hospitality professionals that service you when you’re at a hotel. That’s an important word “professionals” we don’t do it for fun. OK…not just for fun. We do it to get paid as much as because we find some enjoyment from it (those of us that aren’t twisted bitter Gollum like creatures). I’m of the firm belief that tipping is one of the smaller expenses you encounter while traveling, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Far from it, and the nicer of a place you’re staying at, the less of a cheap bastard you should be.

A fellow blogger and hotel worker, The Hook, had a recent post on this exact matter. Here is his post: The Hook’s Definitive Guide to Tipping and Service I recommend you read it if you travel even a little. Even if you’re staying at a Motel6 you should tip your housekeeper at least.

I left a comment on his post that I felt like highlighting here.

Don’t forget that tipping your Housekeeper, Concierge and the Valet is just as important as the Bellman. And the 55 cents you had at the bottom of your pocket and you dumped on the dresser and didn’t feel like picking back up before leaving doesn’t count as a tip for housekeeping, it should just count as littering you cheap douchebag. How much did your car cost? Or how much will it cost if the valet dings up your rental? Throw the guy a tip or park your own car. And you know how the Concierge knows about that really awesome restaurant they sent you to? They went and eat there, and only occasionally did they get some sort of “industry deal” to do it, and the hotel likely didn’t pick up the tab. They likely paid for it out of their own pocket, so that they could experience it, recommend it to you, and improve your vacation, throw a few bucks into the cause. If you don’t have cash hit the ATM. If you’re not willing to tip, then stay at a Motel 6 or stay home.
And I can’t agree more that you need to actually express to the Front Desk what your expectations and needs are. And it’s so much easier to accommodate those requests if you ask while you’re at the desk, before you get into the room. We’re not mind readers. But we are very good listeners.

It’s nothing I haven’t said before. But I think it bared repeating.

Lastly, I wanted to share these two pictures I snapped from my phone while checking rooms a couple of weeks ago. These rooms were right next door to one another, are identical in size and layout, and yet one was noticeably messier than the other, there was also one other noticeable difference.

You're a bad person if you do this.

All the piles put together added to a little under $4, which for the size of the room is descent. If everyone left $4 I wouldn’t have anything to complain about. This was just insulting because they don’t know that I’m going to come along, find this crap, scoop it up, and turn it into dollar bills for my housekeepers. I can’t even tell if they were trying to send a literal message or not. It doesn’t seem to spell anything to me. Seems more like coins stacked into a giant middle finger, or at least that was the message I received. It’s not like they were too lazy to go out, get dollar bills, and leave a real tip, this probably too more energy than that. And this wasn’t just the bottom change in their pocket that they dumped out the night before and decided they didn’t want to bother picking up. This was someone’s idea of a joke. One of my female staff said “That would be like a guy offering to buy me a drink at a bar and ordering a water!”

You're a rock star

This is far and above what they needed to leave. This person probably has worked in some sort of service industry in the past. Either that or has money and doesn’t mind sharing it around. Either way they’re awesome in my book. That’s a tip that says “I know there are some cheap bastards out there. I’m going to make up for it.”

Now does anyone want to guess which room was a bigger mess? The stacks of change or the $20 bill?

I won’t even dignify that with an answer. I think we all know what the truth is.

Good day to you.


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The Tipping Point

I tweeted this article about tipping your housekeeper earlier this week, but I wanted to discuss it more.

Every hotel handles their tipping slightly differently, and this makes it extra confusing for guests whether they’re travel veterans or not. Some properties charge what’s called a flat “resort fee” to eliminate this issue, so that basically guests aren’t expected to tip their housekeeper, bellhop or valet. The article mentions some other tactics that hotels use to encourage tipping, but I can’t say that I’m a 100% fan of any of them. A resort fee is great, so long as your service is up to par, guests will begin to feel a little ripped off if they’re being charged a resort fee and the service they receive is less than stellar. Ways of “reminding” the guest to tip are probably fairly effective, but I wonder how many guests are insulted, or a bit put off but such reminders no matter how subtle.

When traveling I almost always tip housekeeping, and I try to educate my friends and family to do the same when traveling. As a whole I think housekeepers get under tipped in the industry, and I try not to be part of that problem. But I also make sure to have some cash for the valet, the bellhop, and the concierge if I utilize their services. That’s just something I budget for when I’m traveling and selecting the caliber of property that I’m staying at, and also what services I’ll use. I obviously don’t need to tip the bellhop if I carry my own bags to my room. I will say, on my previously blogged trip away to a friends’ wedding, we didn’t leave a tip because it was obvious the room hadn’t been cleaned that well before our arrival. In my opinion the tip is as much for the housekeeper cleaning your room after you leave as it is for the one that cleaned it before you got there. If you get to a hotel at 6 PM and your room isn’t ready, you can consider not leaving a housekeeping tip in my opinion. It might not be the housekeeper’s fault, but there’s a good chance it is in some way. If your meal comes out cooked wrong or cold, you’re likely to deduct from the tip of your server even if it could have been the kitchen’s fault.

At the Front Desk, I rarely got tipped and sometimes it was a little weird when I did. Sometimes the tip made perfect sense, I had done something exceptional for the guest, and they had decided to express their gratitude in an appropriate and appreciated way. Hugs are less appropriate and usually less appreciated, but that’s happened to. However, I also hated it when someone slipped me a tip to try an incentivize me to do something for them (like find them an upgrade), because it wasn’t always something within my control, and it felt more like a bribe then a gratuity since it came before the service was rendered or even certain. Then there were times where I did something exceptional and while a tip wasn’t necessarily required, it certainly would have been nice, but it never showed up. And of course, there were the really weird tips that I got and I didn’t even know why. I tried to take a lesson from that, that sometimes what seems like a very little thing to me, can make a startling difference for my guest.

At my job now, I do housekeeping inspections once or twice a week on average. We’re a small property and everyone wears many hats. Even our GM checks rooms once a week usually. My property pools the housekeeping tips as a solution to some of the questions stated in the article. So once or twice a week I see what the tips are in the actual rooms, and I can say first hand that the 30% average figure seems accurate for the number of guests. Especially when you take into account the guests that leave $20 for a one night stay in a not so messy room and then all the guests that leave nothing or very little. Did you know some people really just leave pocket change? How is that even close to appropriate? I don’t even clean the rooms, and now that we pool the tips our housekeepers don’t even see the coins left for them, but I’m offended on their behalf. If you’re that strapped for cash, maybe you shouldn’t be traveling at all. Or at least I’d rather you left nothing behind and did something small that actually helps the housekeepers, like stripping the sheets from your bed. I know you “shouldn’t have to” do something like that when you’re paying for a room, I’m just saying from the standpoint of curtsey if you’re financially too strapped to leave a gratuity. It kind of says “thanks”. If you don’t want to tip the bellhop, carry your own bags. If you don’t want to tip the valet, self park your car (assuming that’s an option). If you don’t want to pay the automatic 15-18% service fee, don’t order room service, leave your room to eat. BTW you don’t need to tip you above that 15-18% unless you want to tip them more. If you use the concierge and find that they gave you good advice and really made a pleasant impact on your stay, then leave them something at the end of your stay.

Housekeepers work hard every day, the ones that don’t work hard, usually don’t stick around long in the position. And most of them take pride in the rooms they leave behind them. Bellhops and valets are usually minimum wage positions that rely on healthy tipping. Good concierge are highly specialized and well-trained experts that can drastically alter the quality of your stay, but while they’re not usually considered a “tipped” position for tax purposes, many of them rely on tips. I know several concierge that keep themselves up to date on their area (restaurants and attractions) on their own time and on their own money, so some extra cash helps to make sure they have the ability to keep providing you and other guests with great service. It doesn’t have to me much, just don’t leave pocket change, and be genuine about it. What would you want to receive if you were in their shoes?

Lastly, if you’re not able to leave a tip, but you take advantage of some or all of these services, take a moment to fill out your comment card and give some praise to the people who gave you good or great service. Those cards get read by owners and managers usually (at any decent property) and shout outs for great service get acknowledged. If you can’t give them a few buts, give them that extra shout out to the people who make decisions. Usually word will get back to the person that helped you so much, I like to post really great guest comments where the employees can read them. Even better it can affect the management’s decisions about raises, bonuses, and maybe even overall employment. If you can’t tip, use that comment card. I even prefer a nice comment card over a guest stopping to speak with me personally (on the phone or in person), because people higher up than me will see that comment card and it to a certain extent reflects on my entire department.

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