Checking into a hotel sometimes sends me into a silent panic. Those initial 10 minutes include interactions with a flurry of hotel staff, and I’m never sure whom to tip or how much to give. To clear up my confusion about the etiquette of tipping at hotels, I spoke with manners expert Lizzie Post, cohost of the Awesome Etiquette podcast and coauthor of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition. Her great-great-grandmother, Emily Post, literally wrote the book on American etiquette in the early 20th century.In the United States, tipping stems largely from tradition. “It’s simply the way our country’s customs have developed, and until we change them … this is what we’re stuck with: a fairly complex system of tipping that varies industry to industry, urban to rural,” Post says.She adds: “[A tip] is never to buy good service. It’s always to appreciate good service.”Below is a breakdown of the etiquette of tipping at hotels in the United States, according to industry-accepted standards.Bellhop or Bag PorterShould you tip?: Yes. How much?: $1 per piece of luggage (but a minimum of $2 if you have just one bag) DoormanShould you tip?: Yes, if the doorman hails a cab for you or helps with your luggage. If he or she simply holds the door open, you do not have to tip. How much?: $1–$3 Room ServiceShould you tip?: Yes. How much?: First, check if a delivery charge and gratuity have already been added to the bill. If so, give $2 to the person actually delivering the food. If not, tip 15%–20% of the bill and give $2 to the person who delivers your food.HousekeepingShould you tip?: Yes. How much?: It depends on the number of people staying in your room, although $2 per night is fairly standard. Larger families, or those staying in a large suite, should tip more, up to $5 per night. When deciding how much to leave, Post says to “consider the amount of work housekeeping has to do.” Should I tip every night or once at the end?: “Tipping nightly ensures the tips go to the people who actually clean your room,” Post says. Where should I put the tip?: On your pillow or nightstand. Better yet, place it in an envelope clearly labeled “Housekeeping,” then leave it on your nightstand. What if I’m staying at a B&B or small inn?: It’s up to your discretion, but feel free to ask the inn’s staff what the tipping standards are. Generally speaking, you should leave a tip if there is hired help to clean the rooms.ConciergeShould you tip?: It depends. You don’t need to tip if you simply ask the concierge for an activity recommendation or directions. If the concierge schedules dinner reservations or scores hard-to-get show tickets for you, then show your appreciation. How much?: $5–$10 for a special service and $15–$20 for going above and beyond. Tip immediately when the service is performed.Breakfast Buffet AttendantShould you tip?: It depends. If he or she is refilling your water or clearing your plate once you’re finished, leaving a couple of dollars is a nice gesture. How much?: $1–$2Valet ParkingShould you tip?: Yes. Tip when your car is returned at the end of the night. How much?: $2 is customary, but up to $5 is standard in bad weather. In larger cities, tip a bit more than in smaller cities.Shuttle DriverShould you tip?: It depends. If he or she handles your luggage, then yes. If the shuttle driver simply drops you at the airport, no need to tip. How much?: $1 per bagPoolside or Beachfront Drink DeliveryShould you tip?: Yes. How much?: 15%–20% of the total bill. Another good guideline is $1–$2 per drink. Shoeshine AttendantShould you tip?: Yes. How much?: $2–$3 Spa AestheticianShould you tip?: Yes. How much?: 15% of the total cost of the service is customary; give 20% for an excellent job.Finally, a few reminders:Have plenty of singles on hand; often, there’s no way to tip most of the hotel staff with a credit card. The best thing to do if you’re unsure about what to tip? “Just ask what the norm is,” Post says. If you do have a poor interaction with a hotel staff member, tip as you regularly would and then ask to speak with a manager about the negative experience. “It’s not going to do any good to lower your tip or give an insulting tip amount,” Post advises. “Hold up your end of the bargain and tell the [hotel] why you think it didn’t hold up its end of the bargain.”Infographic: Jess Duff, GrouponRead on for more travel tips:A Flight Attendant Dishes on Flying Etiquette and the Safest Seat on the PlaneDos and Don’ts for Flying with Children: Tips from a Flight Crew
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