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To Tip or Not to Tip Housekeeping?

The Main Line concierge is faced with a conundrum from a Newtown Square resident.

Sheree S. of Newtown Square writes: My husband and I travel twice a year with his sister and brother-in-law. He doesn’t believe in tipping the housekeepers since they are hourly employees and, “That’s what they get paid to do.” We feel it’s appropriate to leave a couple dollars each morning. What’s your take on this?

Hi Sheree,

As someone who has traveled with his sister-in-law and her husband on two trips to Disney World, along with many summer weeks vying for rooms at my in-laws’ shore house, I understand the complexities of family and all that that entails.

I’ve met more than a few housekeepers in my time, too. Before I became a corporate concierge, my career began as a bellman at a large King of Prussia hotel, where I had the opportunity to serve with the housekeeping staff. I got to see the gratitude room cleaners would display after receiving monetary recognition from guests for their efforts. I recall passing them in hallways, knowing the big smiles on their faces were because they’d just been left a tip.

If you reward housekeepers on principals that are rooted in generosity, your reasons for tipping are totally justifiable. But so is the opinion of your brother-in-law. His bottom line is: Housekeeping comes standard at most hotels. So, he has the right to not tip for services that he perceives as included in his tariff.

Personally, I usually leave $2-$3 (and include a simple yet personal ‘thank you’ note written on the memo pad). I leave “a little something” as long as the service administered to the room has been up to my standards of cleanliness. If not, I don’t tip. The latter has not been the case in a long time for me. I’ve either been lucky, stayed at decent hotels or a combo of both, because I’ve had constantly good cleaning at the places I’ve lodged.

I understand, Sheree, wanting to make your brother-in-law realize that tipping helps livelihoods, makes people happy, gives them more money to spend and, in turn, helps our economy. It’s also no secret: Tipping can increase your opportunity for a more consistently cleaned room.

I wonder, though, if your sister-in-law is as stalwart about the subject. Talk it out with them. Agree to disagree, or move on. It’s only twice a year. Besides, with most families, there are too many other things to argue about!

Hospitably Yours,

Share your opinion on tipping the housekeeping staff by leaving a comment below.

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