How Much to Tip the Hotel Maid and Other Hotel Staff
Checking into a hotel sometimes sends us into a silent panic. Those initial 10 minutes include interactions with a flurry of hotel staff, and we're never sure whom to tip or how much to give. The brain practically short circuits with question overload: Is valet tipping essential? How much to tip the hotel maid? When do you tip?
To clear up our confusion about tipping etiquette at hotels, we 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, and you can bet that includes a chapter on tipping etiquette.
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.
|Service||Is Tipping Mandatory?||How Much Should You Tip?||When Should You Tip?|
|Bellhop or Bag Porter||Yes||$1/piece of luggage ($2 if you have just one bag)||Immediately|
|Doorman||Yes, but only if he hails a cab or helps you with luggage||$1–$3||Immediately|
|Room Service||Yes||$2 to the delivery person and 15–20% on the bill itself||Immediately|
|Housekeeping||Yes||$2–$5 per night||Daily, leaving it on the pillow, nightstand, or in a labeled envelope|
|Concierge||No, unless they perform a special service or go above and beyond||$5–10 for special service; $15–20 for extraordinary||Immediately|
|Breakfast Buffet Attendant||No||$1–2 as a nice gesture for refilling waters and clearing plates||Immediately|
|Valet Parking||Yes||$2–5 (tip more in larger cities or during bad weather)||When your car is returned at the end of the night|
|Shuttle Driver||No, only if they help you with your bags||$1/bag||Immediately|
|Poolside/Beachfront Drink Delivery||Yes||15–20% or $1–2/drink||When you get the bill|
|Spa Aesthetician||Yes||15-20%||When you get the bill|
What kind of services should you tip a concierge for? If the concierge schedules dinner reservations or scores hard-to-get show tickets for you, then show your appreciation.
What else do I need to know about tipping housekeeping? 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."
Does anything change if I'm staying at a B&B instead of a larger or boutique hotel? In that case, 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.
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."