My, what a miserly bunch of travelers we can be. Nearly half (48%) of Americans don't leave a tip for the hotel housekeeper, according to a new survey.
And those who do are far from agreement on what the tip should be. "Among those who do tip, 44% leave at least $5, while a third (33%) tend to leave just a dollar or two," says the new Shoppers Trend Report from online coupon site RetailMeNot.
Whether we tip seems to be influenced by the part of the country we're from and our sex.
- 56% of Southerners said they don't tip the hotel cleaning staff, while only 25% of people from the Northeast admitted as much.
- 56% of men said they leave a tip, while only 49% of women respondents do.
Why should you tip the maid, we can hear some of you wondering.
Here's an answer from a post at HotelChatter: "… you know, if you're tipping the roomservice dude for pressing the elevator button and wheeling a cart of food to your room, shouldn't you be tipping the staffer who is on his or her hands and knees scrubbing your hotel room's toilet?"
A new study on hotel room cleanliness found that housekeepers normally clean 14 to 16 rooms a day, or about 30 hard minutes of work per room. (Post continues below.)
(Off-topic but essential side note: That study also found that the TV remote control is the most-germ-laden surface in hotel rooms, and that eyeballing a room for cleanliness isn't effective. Some hotels are addressing that. USA Today says Best Western housekeepers are being equipped with "black lights to detect biological matter otherwise unseen by the human eye, and ultraviolet light wands to zap it." Also, says Smarter Travel, "A Best Western representative told us that any bedspreads will be washed if bacteria is detected on them via the black lights. No longer will travelers need to fling off the stiff bedspread using the tip a foot or an oblivious spouse's toothbrush.")
So, what's an appropriate tip for the person whose task is to keep you safe from bacteria, germs, and other icky things, and earns an average of $10.10 an hour? For that we turned to a Good Housekeeping post by Peggy Post (Emily Post's great-granddaughter-in-law).
She recommends $2 a day in a moderately priced establishment, and $3 to $5 at swankier places. She also advises that you leave a tip each day so the person who actually cleans your room can pick it up. (A USA Today chart includes a range of recommendations on how much to tip the maid and other hotel staff.)
We suggest that you put out the "do not disturb" sign in the interest of conserving water and energy -- do you really need a clean towel every day? -- and leave the tip before you depart. Add a little extra if you've been really messy.
Put the bills in a folded sheet of paper or envelope, and write "housekeeping" on the outside so there's no doubt that it's a tip and not just money you left sitting out.
Some hotels may automatically include a tip in your bill. Ask when you check in.
Do you tip the hotel maid? If not, why don't you?
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