Hotels Now Want You To Tip Housekeeping via QR Code In Your Room

Eight years ago we started seeing Marriott put envelopes in hotel rooms as a way of encouraging tips for housekeepers. To be sure, Marriott didn’t care about the housekeepers. They could have paid housekeepers more. Instead they asked guests, already paying for rooms that are supposed to be clean, to do it for them.

Before getting blowback for the candid admission, Hilton’s CEO acknowledged he doesn’t tip housekeeping. Another chain CEO admitted encouraging tipping was a way to avoid raising wages. Tipping for thee but not for me!

It’s no surprise hotels have gotten more cunning in getting guests to open their wallets this way. One Hilton property started automatically adding tips at checkout.

Addressing one of the real frictions, or barriers to tipping, we’re also seeing tipping via QR code paired with a clever psychological trick thanks to Holiday Inn.

Should you wish to show appreciation to Elaine in housekeeping who worked hard behind the scenes to ensure a comfortable, clean and safe stay. We now accept Cashless tips.

People may not tip because they don’t have cash. They may not tip because they wonder where the tip money actually goes. This property promotes electronic tipping while putting a name (doesn’t matter, it could even be made up!) in front of the guest to make it more real, and feel like they’re helping a real person who helped them.

It’s strange perhaps up the housekeeping tipping game when so many hotels are also resisting daily housekeeping to begin with. Are we really going to tip housekeepers who didn’t service the room during our stay? Are you paying for them to have given you a clean room in the first place (the tip is for cleaning up after the last guest)?

Tips allow a hotel to pay housekeepers less. Housekeepers need to make a certain amount to take the job and stay on the job. If guests are tipping, hotels have to pay less. In fact the more tips there are, the less likely a hotel is to need to pay more.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I always tip in cash. Leave it on the pillow. I am damned if I will allow the hotel to run a tip through their accounting system. Who knows where it goes.

  2. I have always been a good tipper and usually start with 20% in my mind and then adjust for quality of service. Unfortunately, that means less at many hotels because some do not even provide daily housekeeping. I don’t feel that I should have to tip for service when I’m not getting service. Now, if I need something done, I will speak directly with the person assigned to our room and tip accordingly. If they want housekeeping to get more money via tips, maybe they should follow what the cruise lines do. You have the same person attend to your needs every day of the cruise. When I get on the ship I go out of my way to introduce myself to that person and let them know the few things I would like them to do during our cruise. And I immediately give them a generous tip. I want them to know that I already appreciate what they will be doing for us. And it has never failed. I get excellent service on a cruise. As for tipping via a QR code. Not going to happen. I don’t trust the hotel to sure that it goes to the person that deserves it.

  3. Not happening. Not my problem. Pay them properly, charge fair rates, stop with the BS “fees”. Oh, and have housekeeping actually *DO* their job. How about you reimburse me every time I have to ask for something that should already have been taken care of?

  4. The question is is there a fee? The new aspire lounge in SAN does online tipping by the fee is 30 cents IIRC!

  5. we tip everyone from delivery to hair cut to taxi. Everyone gets paid but when it comes to housekeepers most guests are more stingy on paying tips. When I barely spend 20 mins for a haircut at a salon and still tip, I feel I should tip where I spend at least 12 hours of my day. The housekeeper who makes my bed and cleans the room & bathroom deserves a tip more than a food delivery or at the hair salon.

  6. Funny how many hotels didn’t provide housekeeping during the pandemic and charged the same rates and reduced elite benefits. I don’t tip housekeeping. I view housekeeping as an expectation for the price of a hotel stay.

  7. I have no issue tipping housekeepers in the US when the room is actually well-cleaned (which is far from certain post-covid, and especially at Holiday Inns…), BUT I would never, ever do it at properties that don’t offer daily service (without me having to ask for it). Surely I can expect my room to be clean upon check-in without me having to tip for it?

  8. I was at a Grand Hyatt for 3 nights this week. I was told as a Globalist I didn’t need to request housekeeping in my room. After the second night my room was a mess, no more towels, no more toiletries, no more water bottles, etc… I went to the reception and asked what was going on and I was told if I needed housekeeping I had to request by 6pm the previous night. What a joke!!!!

  9. What housekeeping
    You have to see housekeeping to tip it
    But no thanks to QR codes even for a menu

  10. Yes request the night before and then be told sorry they have gone home for the day
    At one Hilton I was told to bag my own trash (they left garbage bags) and make my own bed
    The hallway had pizza boxes and other trash and probably roaches

  11. I think this is genius. The hotel gets all the money and if a housekeeper is lucky, they’ll give her a dollar. I don’t tip housekeeping on principle. But I will always tip anyone for extra service. Every time I consider leaving a housekeeping tip, the maid does something stupid or careless, so I rarely have the opportunity to tip them. I remember seeing one of those envelopes at a Marriott years ago. I never stayed in another Marriott property unless forced. A Hilton in France charged me 5 euro for some charity. Just put it on my bill. I had fun discussing this ‘charity’ with the front desk … not only did they not know what the charity did, they didn’t even know which charity was involved. “Mandatory fees'” are only paid by chumps. As long as the dopes of the world go along with the schemes management dreams up, management will keep on dreaming them up.

  12. @ Gary — More than likely they dont tip because tipping housekeeping is absurd. Isn’t that part if what I am paying for when I book a hotel?

  13. I’d be tempted to place a sticky note over the QR code reading: “Should you wish to show appreciation to Elaine in housekeeping who works hard behind the scenes to ensure this business remains competitive, pay her a living wage.”

  14. I don’t tip housekeeping. (Only exception: I will leave euro coins I don’t want to lug around in EU hotels in the room.).

  15. @Gary: “Are we really going to tip housekeepers who didn’t service the room during our stay? Are you paying for them to have given you a clean room in the first place (the tip is for cleaning up after the last guest)?”

    Some hotel guests stay at a Holiday Inn that features substandard housekeeping by intentionally not servicing your room during your stay. At these properties, the QR code should be provisioned so guests can leave a NEGATIVE tip amount to automatically issue a credit to the guest folio for the lack of service.

  16. The US is becoming Mexico with mandatory tipping at checkout. The problem in Mexico is the resort owner skims most of the funds for management (performance bonus vs taxable salary) and give less than half to the folks who earned a tip IF it was earned.
    IF you tip, tip in CASH and you’ll know who gets it.

  17. QR codes — a link to some unknown website, with programs that will run on your phone, you don’t know where it comes from, you don’t know what it does, it runs on your phone which has god-only-knows-what all kinds of personal info including financial accounts, password, etc. Scanning some random QR code is utterly and completely insecure, like handing your phone to a Russian stranger and telling them to do whatever they want with it. Yeah, no thanks.

  18. @Dick good pt. Case of city parking meters with fake code. Funds were going directly to some criminal!!!!

  19. We don’t want housekeeping; we don’t need housekeeping. Long before the pandemic we kept the Do Not Disturb sign on the door 24/7. We can keep our room clean enough; we don’t need the waste of new towels every day. We bring our own toiletries and only use theirs if in large, non-disposable bottles. Why would we need housekeeping for anything other than a longer (maybe 4 nights or more) stay? Sure, I could “expect” it since I’m “paying for it.” But why add to the waste by getting something we don’t need.

    And we usually do leave a tip at the end. Not because they did anything during the stay (at our request). Just because.


  20. I always leave $5 for the maid because I’m grateful I don’t have to do that work!

  21. What hotels SHOULD do and what they DO are two separate things. Housekeepers are low paid, they are getting hours cut and still trying to support themselves. If I forgo a latte and help them out with some money- pleased to do it.

  22. I used to enjoy tipping housekeeping, as my way of thanking the gods that that I’m not the one cleaning toilets for a living.

    But anything mandatory sucks the joy right out of it, and it is particularly galling at a property that charges all the other annoying fees that are customary today. Travel used to be a lot simpler.

  23. I only tip for some extra beyond the call of duty service. Like the time I absentmindedly left cash in a room when I checked out. I hadn’t even noticed it was missing yet (I hadn’t needed to access cash in the intervening days). When I returned to the same property three nights later the front desk handed me an envelope with the money I had lost. I also don’t often take the time to write reviews. This time very generous tip and very nice review.

  24. Many state the only pay waiters and waitresses. Not house keeping, because that is to be expected when paying for the room.

    So… don‘t you expect to be served in a restaurant? What is the difference?

    I always tip, 1-2 dollars per night/bed, for a suite more. I can afford to stay at a hotel, and am glad to support others of have to work hard and earn less. Living in Switzerland where tipping is not common, I appreciate the custom in the US. I now also tip towards 10% in Switzerland, in the US it starts at 20% in restaurants, even at places like fuddruckers I leave 5$ for the cleaner.

  25. Nope. No tips from me except to mangement : Pay your employees a liveable wage!
    This is almost as bad as “resort fees”, with similar results: airbnb and vrbo!

  26. You’re receiving a service from the housekeeper.. why wouldn’t you want to tip? Do you not tip valet? Do you not tip a waiter or waitress? Even if a housekeeper is providing light clean up services to your room and not a deep clean daily, why shouldn’t he/she be receiving similar treatment as other ‘service’ industries???

    Your posts show so much ignorance.

  27. I am sick of tipping . I been asked to tip the cashier at a bakery and at an ice cream shop. They get paid a real wage…. if not then they need to get anther job because they did NOT do anything special to ring up the sale. Housekeeping should do their job , get management to pay them more to do it if they have to. When they skip cleaning a room or refuse to give fresh towels and they do not adjust the room rate for the second night but ask for a tip. NOPE not going to happen.

  28. Couldn‘t agree more with @Sam.
    People like @Fred are the problem. He should be stopped 😀

  29. They can leave all the envelopes or QR codes they want. I don’t play that game and I used to feel a little guilty for it, until I read that only about a third of guests leave anything for housekeeping either. If I come across a housekeeper or service person and they help me out with something and are pleasant, I might give them a buck or a euro if I have one in my pocket. For routine servicing of the room, no way. I’d say the majority of the time these days, rooms are poorly cleaned and missing items I need. If I tip I’m sure they would still be poorly cleaned and missing items. It’s hard work and shitty work I’m sure. So is collecting the trash or driving a big rig cross country. Who decides what requires a tip and what doesn’t? I don’t care what games the hotel plays trying to extract money from me instead of compensating their staff appropriately. I don’t care how many POS screens ask me if I want to add a tip for my takeout or for my $3 coffee that a paid worker spent 60 seconds to prepare, and I’m not tipping the staff of a hotel that I am paying to provide me with a clean room. Tips are an expression of thanks for exceptional service, not an obligation.

  30. Tipping is out of control. Paying for a room is supposed to include the room being cleaned. Aside from a sit down restaurant, a tip is supposed to be for going above and beyond normal service ( such as your steward making towel animals etc). Everything else is just big companies pulling on your heart strings so they can pay their employees less. I can’t tell you how many job ads I see where they advertise $20 starting salary and when you read the fine print, it’s $13/hr plus tips. This crap needs to end.

  31. I’ve often heard that when staying at Hotels/motels to only tip if staying more than one night. I was in upper level management for Hyatt International for years & when traveling around Hyatt’s properties I used this rule unless I’ve required extra services beyond what is expected.

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