Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tipping Hotel Housekeeping

Tipping the housekeepers at a hotel is a topic you see regularly on travel blogs. For some it is as standard as tipping at a restaurant. For others it's as common as tipping your dentist: Just doesn't happen.  For me, I usually leave a bit of cash - especially if I've stayed a few days.  I leave a lot of cash if I feel it is necessary (ahem, the Standard Hotel Downtown LA).

Yes, these folks get paid a wage. Is it a living wage is a topic for another blog.  These folks are doing a service for me and I appreciate it. I can also afford to put down a few dollars a day as a tip.  When I was younger (early in my career), I really didn't have the money to do so and consequently, I didn't. I didn't notice any service difference either. But seriously, do you tip only so you can get better service?

This brings me to this morning. I've been staying at the Aloft O'hare for 10 nights so far - I am staying a total of 18 because of housing changes (a different blog will walk through that).  I've asked for no housekeeping service since I'm working during the day and I am terrified Lilly will get out and she'll be gone for ever.

I went downstairs this morning and asked for immediate housekeeping (as I am going out later this morning).  I had to visit the front desk because my phone still doesn't work in my room, but luckily the internet is back up and running.

I know this is a pain in the ass for these folks. They have their routine down and demanding an immediate visit from housekeeping isn't the room hasn't been cleaned in 10 days and Lilly sheds when she's nervous and well anytime you have a litter box in a small area it gets kind of gross.

Lilly and I hanging out at the bar while the room is serviced.
As the housekeeper knocked on my door, I grabbed Lilly and stuck her in the carrier and headed downstairs. I preemptively tipped the housekeeper $10 (as that was all the cash I had on me, except for a bunch of singles--she's a maid, not a stripper).  She was shocked and tried to push it back in my hand. I insisted. To me this is a thank you for being so understanding and for the extra work she'll have to do.  If she takes it as a bribe to do a better job, so be it. That's not my intention.

I wonder what percentage of people here actually leave tips for the housekeeping staff.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I routinely tip housekeeping $3 to $5 and leave a note saying "thank you." Sadly, I think many people don't tip them at all and they have a much harder job than bell boys or doormen, for example and earn much less.

I once had a housekeeper leave me a note saying how much she appreciated it and it meant a lot for her family for the holidays. It was in imperfect English but seemed heart felt. Similar to your experience, it made me think that even a $5 a day tip and thanks is unusual. It was around thanksgiving and also reminded me of things I should be grateful for such as basics like having enough to pay for a place to live and food to eat. I don't think those things are always guaranteed on the low wage side of the economy.

The experience also kind of made me feel like crap since it's so easy to ignore, snub or take advantage of others and treat them like things to be used and I'm sure I do it sometimes and most people do at times. Sure, it's hard to fix the world, but at least treating people decently doesn't take too much extra effort and makes life better for others and probably for yourself in the longer term, too.