Friday, September 5, 2008

Public Service Announcement - Hotel Etiquette

My camera batteries died in Texas, so you will all have to wait until January for pictures of the Alamo. I am sure you are terribly disappointed. And now I must pontificate on a subject that my real life and LJ friends have heard a couple of times before:

When I returned to my hotel room Thursday night, there was a note on my desk. It was from the housekeeper, thanking me for leaving her a tip that morning. It ended with "God Bless You!" This makes me worry that many people are not tipping housekeeping, which is terrible. These people work very hard for very little and if you think they don't deserve something extra for cleaning up after you, then you must be a much neater person than I. That never requires fresh towels.

So in the interest of serving the industry, here is how I tip housekeeping:
  1. Housekeeping cannot take your money unless it is very clear that it was meant for them. So scribble some kind of "thank you" on some kind of paper and leave the money on it. There is usually a memo pad by the phone.
  2. Tip each day. Leaving a cumulative tip at the end might reward a person that never set foot in your room before and miss the person that cleaned your bathroom four days in a row.
  3. Rule #2 requires that you remember to carry small bills. I left two singles and a dollar in change this morning and felt badly about it. Just seems lame to leave coins.
  4. My formula is $2 per day, with an extra dollar on Sundays, check out days and any day I am particularly messy. This is when I travel alone - I do more when there are more people. My mother thinks I am cheap, but this was deemed acceptable by my Accounting Director, who travels more than I.
  5. If a hotel says that "housekeeping gratuity" is built into your "resort fee" (the extra $10 a night some places charge for the use of the fitness and spa facilities), please ask for details. When I asked, for a meeting I planned at work, I found that the "gratuity" was 75 cents per room per day. Very weak.

Now. A couple of weeks ago, I left $2 each day, with a note that said "Thank you" by the phone. For three days, it was not picked up. So I ended up leaving a cumulative tip at the end. That made me think about my colleague Gale, who always left her housekeeping tips with a note on the bed. I don't do that because I leave a tip out the night before so that I don't forget. But that made me wonder. What if the housekeeper couldn't read English, and thus couldn't confirm that the money on the desk was meant for her/him? And now I am really thinking too much about this.

If you were taught something different, or have other ideas about tipping hotel housekeeping, I'd like to hear about it. Now that my mother thinks I am cheap, I feel all insecure again.

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