Should You Tip The Hotel Housekeeper?

by Eric

It is customary for Americans to tip when dining out or taking a taxi. However, the idea of tipping others in the service industry can be less clear.

Image credit: CloudTech

Image credit: CloudTech

In particular, tipping hotel housekeeping has been somewhat of a mystery. Expedia recently surveyed over 1,000 American travelers and found that 30% do not tip anyone at a hotel. Of the remaining 70% who do tip, 46% tip housekeeping. If you do the math right (and I hope I did!), that means only 32% of American travelers will tip their housekeeper.

Guides to tipping in the United States from TripAdvisor state “many hotel guests who tip housekeeping staff leave tips daily before leaving the hotel, both to reward the person immediately servicing the room and in expectation of good service” and  suggest that “$2-5 per night for housekeeper” is appropriate. CNN Money advises that travelers should tip housekeeping “$2-$10 a day depending on the quality of service and the hotel.”

What are your thoughts on tipping the housekeeping staff?

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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Pam Ames August 21, 2016 - 7:29 am

I always tip the housekeeper. They have the biggest impact on my stay. Plus they make the lowest salaries.

Daryl Hinshaw August 21, 2016 - 8:14 am

Absolutely, usually $5 but $10 in high cost areas. Housekeepers clean up, change sheets and towels, and make the bed. They work hard so you can enjoy your trip during the day and come back to a clean and tidy home away from home at night. The least travelers can do is show their appreciation by leaving a tip.

Richard Feinberg August 21, 2016 - 8:26 am

We find that leaving $2 to $3 a day does increase the service level throughout the stay. Usually more bottled waters, soaps, shampoos and an attention to the time you want your room made up. We usually specify a two hour range and with a daily tip it has never been missed.

Nope August 21, 2016 - 8:33 am

Sometimes after I get a soda out of a machine I put in an extra quarter. Makes me feel better because that machine is standing there 24 / 7 waiting for me and frankly I have too much money.

Mark August 21, 2016 - 9:08 am

Yes, by all means, be condescending about people who work hard for employers who pay them the least amount allowed by law. I admit that tipping actually is a subsidy, and in a perfect world would not be needed, but people making minimum wage are in need. Plus, it’s a sign of respect and appreciation of which you are apparently incapable.

woooo August 21, 2016 - 8:39 am

do not tip the housekeeping before u leave daily. will u tip the waiter before he serves u?

Richard Feinberg August 21, 2016 - 9:25 am

Actually you talk to the waiter. You rarely even see the housekeeper. Our waiters know in advance of the bill if they are doing an exceptional job. We tell them. Do you tell the housekeeper anything?

Louis August 21, 2016 - 8:41 am

Definitely, as soon as you arrive the best, in that case he/she won’t use your toothbrush to clean the toilet.

DT August 21, 2016 - 11:12 am

Upon arrival to the US my cousin worked as a hotel housekeeper.

She told me about how much impact those tips had on her life that I decided to follow my DW’s advise and try to “make someone’s day” whenever I can.

If you give me $10 I would feel awkward but someone else could see it as a blessing.

Ken August 21, 2016 - 12:08 pm

I do when staying more than one night

Joseph N. August 21, 2016 - 1:14 pm

It is hard to find words to express how vehemently I oppose tipping the housecleaners. It is nothing like tipping cabbies and waiters. Those occupations do their work for me in front of me. I never meet nor watch the housekeeper.

When you tip the housecleaner, you are simply empowering the hotel company to keep paying them too little.

Even worse is the defense of tipping found in the above comments. Tipping to get extra shampoo bottles? Let’s all bribe the staff to get them to give us the company’s property. Gee, if we tip enough, maybe we can slip out with the towels, or the desk chair.

Cov August 21, 2016 - 2:41 pm

When you tip the [waiter] you are simply empowering the [restaurant] to keep paying them too little.

When you tip a waiter, you tip a cook, barman, and bus boy, not a single one of whom does their work right in front of you.

You mention having difficulty finding words – you may be unaware that in your response also wants for logic.

I actually care about poor people and what they earn August 22, 2016 - 6:46 am

Oh….so you don’t tip the housekeepers out of concern for their welfare? You don’t tip them….because you’re worried they will earn too little?

Why don’t you tell the truth? You just don’t care what they make, or how their lives are. I have spoken with many hotel housecleaners and it is a very difficult, undepaid job and a little bit of human kindness is a good thing.

John Yold August 21, 2016 - 6:14 pm

I never tip. I am an American and I’m use to tipping at a bar or restaurant (I leave 20-25%) but I draw the line at hotel housekeepers. We tip too much. I paid for the room and they receive a salary. Yes it’s a low salary but then that’s the job. Just like when I made minimum wage when I worked fast food. I never expected a tip for getting someone their burger.

I guess I feel that people should take pride in their jobs and do them well. Their employer should reward them for good service – not the customer. Yes, many employers suck. I’m not clueless and know that some people’s options are limited. They do have options even if they are difficult. I just don’t feel it’s my responsibility to tip someone just for making up my room.

softbrick August 22, 2016 - 5:33 am

Some advice for people who plan to tip the housekeepers.

My wife used to work as a housekeeper.
Tips were not pooled.

1. Tip small amounts daily and not one large amount at the end of your stay
The housekeeper who cleans your room on the last day may not be the one who did it every other day due to shift patterns.

2. Try to tip your house keeper directly.
Often the head housekeeper will check all rooms and collect all the tips before the actual housekeeper can. Head housekeeprs usually only assign work and rooms to housekeepers without doing any cleaning them-selves. (This is not always the case)

3. Make it obvious you are leaving a tip.
Housekeepers cannot just take money that may be left by mistake on a table or cupboard.
Leave the tip on a pillow or very conspicuous on the bed

Andy August 22, 2016 - 8:41 am

I always tip the house keeper in the US, (at least $1-$2 per trash bag/per day depending on length of stay) usually on my last day and always with an apology for the full trash bags I leave in my room.

Lionel August 26, 2016 - 3:56 pm

Very interesting, thanks it was exactly the question I had during my last trip.
I am a non US resident (France) and the tip is not present in my culture (or very few euros as the service is already paid with the minimum basic salary negotiated between companies unions and employees unions).
In US I am always attentive to let a good tip for the service but I didn’t know about the housekeeping.
It’s true that it is often courageous people with low salary who are doing this job and generally they are very polite.
I understand also the comment regarding the bad effect of the tips which could became a bribes.
In fact basic salary must have a minimum and so tips can be reasonable and became a little plus for the people.


Michele February 14, 2018 - 12:51 pm

My friend and I had this discussion this weekend. I have mixed feelings about this. Waitstaff receive a reduced salary and count on tips to make up the difference. Even if housekeepers are making minimum wage they are making more than waitstaff’s base salary. I am low impact when I trevel alone so I usually tip if service is above and beyond or I have a special request.


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