When you check into your hotel while on vacation, ever notice how many people are there to lend you a helping hand? And how many people have touched your bag along the way? It can be hard to identify who you should be tipping when it comes to hotel staff, but we have the lowdown from social etiquette expert Lisa Orr that will help you budget your spending.
Is Tipping a Standard at Hotels?
Yes, it is, according to Orr. You should factor that into your travel budget, ensuring you have small bills on hand in the local currency. “Tipping is still the norm, particularly at high-end hotels that provide specialized customer service through doormen, porters and concierge,” explains Orr. “Recently, though, some hotels have instituted no-tipping policies in the interest of making the experience more seamless for their guests.” These hotels will often let you know as soon as you arrive that tips have already been handled. ‘The advantage of this kind of approach is that it really encourages the hotels to pay their staff a fair wage rather than asking hotel patrons to subsidize their wages with tips. It also makes it much easier for guests as they don’t have to keep small bills handy or keep track of who and how much they’ve tipped.”
Does the Level of Hotel Change the Tipping Factor?
“The kind of tip you give is a function of the quality of service you received, not the quality of the hotel, although in many cases those two things are tied together so you may see improved service at a higher end hotel and so higher levels of tipping,” says Orr. “However, if you find a hotel staff member at a hotel of any calibre delivers service that exceeds your expectations, you should definitely consider giving them a gratuity that reflects your gratitude,” she suggests.
Who and How Much Do You Tip?
The basic answer is: anyone who assists you. The doorman who grabs your luggage from your taxi, the bellboy who brings your luggage to you room, the housekeeping staff who keeps your toiletries stocked — all those involved in providing a service to you.
“Tipping is a way of rewarding excellent service, so it can really apply to anyone on the hotel staff,” advises Orr. “But the most common hotel staff to consider tipping include:
Concierge: $20 for someone who has gone to special lengths, leveraging their network to get you something you needed like impossible reservations or theatre tickets in order to make your stay special.
Porter: $2 a bag.
Doormen: $1 to doormen who hail a taxicab.
Housekeeping staff: $3 to $5 a night for extended stays.
You may also want to consider tipping for in-room dining, but be aware of gratuity charges that might be already included. Tip a few dollars on top of that if you feel the service was exceptional.
Who You Don’t Need to Tip
“A tip is always a bonus, so there is no one individual that you MUST tip,” says Orr. “Customer-facing employees are typically the ones who are tipped for delivering a service, therefore employees who you do not have direct customer contact are often not tipped because as a guest it is difficult to connect with them.”