As hotels reopen, workers are taking on new cleaning protocols.

By Elizabeth Rhodes
Updated June 29, 2020
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From restaurants and bars to taxis and rideshares, you’re probably used to tipping in a number of situations. On vacation, you likely tip the cab driver who picks you up from the airport, the bellhop who carries your bags to your hotel room, and even room service —  but have you ever wondered how much to tip hotel housekeeping?

“Over the last 10 years, tipping housekeeping has gone from a nicety to a recommendation to an expectation,” according to Rick Camac, the dean of restaurant and hospitality management at the Institute of Culinary Education, a culinary school that offers programs in hospitality and hotel management. Now more than ever, tipping hotel housekeeping is increasingly important as properties begin to reopen and travel comes back.

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We’re slowly entering an era of post-COVID-19 travel, and the hospitality industry is making major changes by implementing new procedures to help protect guests and workers from the coronavirus. From luxury resorts like the Four Seasons to Disney World hotels, new health and safety measures, like contactless check-in and socially distant dining, are being put into place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Hotels are also ramping up housekeeping procedures to ensure rooms are extra clean, so guests can rest assured knowing that all possible precautions have been taken. Hilton recently released its new Hilton CleanStay protocols, which include a deep cleaning of high-touch surfaces in guest rooms, and Marriott announced their Global Cleanliness Council, which introduced new rigorous cleaning methods, including the use of hospital-grade disinfectant and electrostatic sprayers.

How Much to Tip Hotel Housekeeping

Before COVID-19, Camac recommended leaving $2 per day if “nothing special was done," and $3 to $5 per day for more work or better service, which could include extra pillows, chocolates, or turndown service. Now that housekeepers will have to work harder to clean guest rooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Camac recommends leaving $5 per day, saying it’s “a small price to pay for extra safety and comfort.” He also notes that it’s important to leave a small tip every day rather than a larger tip at the end of your stay because your housekeeper may be different each day.

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Unite Here, a union representing workers in the hotel and other industries, takes a similar stance. In a statement shared with Travel + Leisure, they said, “Many of these enhanced standards will mean an increase in workload for union hotel housekeepers...who can clean up to 16 rooms per day — work that is often strenuous and repetitive. In the time of COVID-19, routine, daily room cleaning is essential to protect guests from being infected by coronavirus particles that may enter their room during the course of their stay or spread through a hotel’s ventilation system. Further deep cleaning of each room is needed after checkout to eliminate any virus particles left behind by the previous guest.”

Because of these new measures, Unite Here recommends that hotel guests allow housekeeping to clean their room every day and tip housekeepers $2 to $5 each day.