One of the great hotel perks is that the employees are there to help you with whatever you need. It’s customary to leave tips for most of these employees, particularly when they go above and beyond to assist you. However, it can be hard to know what the expectations are for tipping. To make sure you don’t under-tip (or over-tip), here’s a handy guide to hotel tipping etiquette.
Who & How Much to Tip
There are several types of hotel employees you may come into contact with during your stay, most of whom should be tipping for their assistance. Here’s what services you should tip for and how much to shell out:
- Valets: $2 to $5 for the employee who retrieves your car. You don’t need to tip an employee for opening your door for you or parking your car in a valet lot.
- Bellmen: $1 to $2 per bag carried to your room. Add in a few extra dollars for very heavy bags or additional services (some will also draw your curtains, answer questions you might have, etc.).
- Doormen: $2 to $5 for hailing a cab.
- Housekeeping: $2 to $5 daily. Contrary to what some suggest, leaving a tip on the last day is a bad idea since a different maid may visit your room each day. Increase your daily tipping rate for housekeeping if you have a large suite, more than three people in your room or any extra messes to be cleaned up. Leave it on a counter or desk (leaving it on the nightstand has sexual connotations that are not appreciated).
- Concierges: $5 to $50 for coordinating activities. Base your tip on the difficulty of and time spent on the task (getting last-minute show tickets, obtaining a reservation at a popular restaurant, etc.). If you just need directions or a recommendation for a tour guide, no tip is necessary.
- Room service: 15 percent to 20 percent of the bill.
- Delivery of items: $2. This is for when employee brings you toiletry items, towels, pillows, a rollaway bed, a bathrobe or other items upon request.
- Shuttle driver: $2 per ride. Add in an extra dollar or two if they also help you you’re your luggage.
- Spa treatments: 10 percent to 20 percent of the bill. Be sure to bring cash if your services are going to be placed on your final hotel bill rather than billed separately at the in-hotel spa.
- In-room treatments: 20 percent for massages and other treatments offered in the privacy of your hotel room.
Tips for Tipping
While most of the basics are covered above, there are a few things you should keep in mind when deciding on tips at a hotel. The following are a few additional tips for travelers:
- Before your trip, be sure to get plenty of cash (especially lots of $1 bills). If you forget or need more small bills, most hotel desk employees will be happy to break larger bills for you.
- If you’re staying at the hotel for more than just a day or two, it might help to be a bit generous with your tips. Employees usually take note and may offer even better service.
- When calculating the tip on a bill, you don’t need to include sales tax.
- Some hotel bills may include a charge for gratuity. If this is the case, you can skip the tip (though some guests choose to add in a few extra dollars for good service).
- Tips are not mandatory, so don’t let any hotel employee bully you into tipping.
- Keep in mind that the rules above may not apply in all cultures (generally, these rules apply in most of North America). If you’re traveling to a destination with a different culture, be sure to research cultural norms in the area.
Tipping at a hotel should be included when you’re budgeting for a trip. Though it may be a pain to carry around extra bills, it’s a small price to pay for getting the star treatment during your vacation. Expect to pay these extra costs here and there as a way to show gratitude for the services you receive.