Travel Update reports that Marriott wants you to tip housekeeping.
[A]s many as 1,000 hotels in the Marriott system – Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, Residence Inn, JW Marriott – are going to leave a special tip-reminder envelope for guests to encourage them to leave money for the housekeeper.
..Envelopes that contain the name of the person (usually a woman) will be left in some 160,000 hotel rooms in the USA and Canada, according to the AP’s story. The campaign is called “The Envelope Please.”
Tipping hotel housekeeping won’t get you much, maybe a cleaner room or extra toileteries. It’s about giving something to the people cleaning your room, rather than giving something to yourself.
In general I hate tipping. I’d rather pay a room rate that allowed hotels to pay their staff at a level where they weren’t dependent on tips. In many parts of the US they actually do, although not in all cases, and being implored to tip isn’t differentiated based on the pay given to housekeepers which isn’t disclosed.
Even though I don’t like tipping, I’m an American and I travel a good bit in the U.S., so I tip — primarily to people doing tough jobs for what I presume are modest wages. Housekeeping certainly qualifies. If someone helps me with my luggage that qualifies, too, although I don’t love being pestered for help with my one rollaboard.
Still, I’m not sure I like the nudge. No doubt putting a specific woman’s name on an envelope in the room is going to work, guests who don’t use it are going to feel like jerks. I suppose that’s the point.
The campaign teams up with Maria Shriver who “believes plenty of guests don’t know the custom of tipping the housekeeper.”
An interesting experiment would be to compare average amounts left in the envelope with tips if those envelopes contained suggested amounts. If guests “don’t know the custom” is it really a custom? And if they don’t know to tip, do they know how much to tip? Tip each day or at the end of the stay?
Perhaps more tips for housekeeping is good, on a micro level (the individual housekeepers) it probably is but systemically I’m not so sure.
- If customers systematically tip more, raising the wages of housekeeping, what will that do to actual wages hotels pay? I’m not sure those will actually rise on net over time. Hotels may be able to pay workers less precisely because guests will make up the difference.
- I also wonder how Marriott will handle the tips — I’d guess that they will be pooled rather than being given to the individual named on the envelope… who may or may not wind up being the person who actually cleans your room.
Do you tip housekeeping? Do you favor Marriott telling you that you should?