Lizzie Post, the great-great granddaughter of Emily Post, author, and co-host of The Awesome Etiquette Podcast, has agreed to weigh in on a few travel etiquette questions from a politesse perspective. She’s covered airplane seat backs, to recline or not to recline, arm rests, and kids on flights. Having recently weighed in on short-term rental etiquette, here Post turns her attention to hotels.
How much should you tip a hotel housekeeper?
“It’s usually, like, a couple dollars a day, and you want to leave them each day, because often times you get different cleaners on different days.”
If you’re spending $350 a night on a hotel, does etiquette dictate you leave a bigger tip?
“I tend not to think so; if you’re cleaning a hotel room, you’re cleaning a hotel room—you’re still cleaning up after people, and I don’t think it should change a tip. I think that would devalue the worker somehow.”
So you’d never leave a big tip?
“You might be able to afford to pay a $20 at the end of your stay; you certainly can, but we’re trying to set some kind of standard here. That’s like people saying that just because you can afford an expensive haircut you [should] leave a 50 percent tip. I think that’s silly. Just because it costs more and you have the ability to leave more, it’s not like a sliding scale … I would never begrudge anyone who has money tipping more, but I’m not gonna tell them they have to just because they have more.”
Anything else hotel guests should keep in mind?
“When we interviewed people who worked at hotels, we learned that [if you leave your tip with the front desk or other than in the room], those tips almost never make it to housekeeping. Someone at the front desk takes it, or someone else takes it; it just doesn’t make it to the housekeeper that day. Also, we say “tip every day” because the housekeeper on Sunday is probably making the most amount of money; that’s the day most people check out.
And I think it’s nice to leave a little note that says, ‘Thanks so much for cleaning today!’ so housekeeping knows that the money is for them; I’ve often noticed that if I’ve left a $5 they’re leaving it there—which is phenomenal because it shows how honest and good the housekeepers are. They’re not just taking the money that’s left out; they’re waiting to see that it’s for them.”