Hotel staffing has significantly changed over the past several years. Rooms are now only cleaned upon request. Bell services have been reduced. Some concierge services are nothing more than automated kiosks that answer simple questions. With all of these changes, what does that mean when it comes to tipping?
Dr. Kevin Murphy is a 20+ year expert in the hotel and food service industry and a professor at the University of Central Florida. In addition to teaching at UCF, he travels the world teaching classes on hospitality and food service management. Dr. Murphy is also one of the few Certified Executive Chefs in the U.S. with a Ph.D. He shares what you need to know about tipping in today’s hotel environment.
Housekeeping does just that — keeps your room tidy and brings you extras you might need: towels, shampoo, and coffee. But as you’ve probably noticed during your last hotel stay, this has changed. Many hotels have switched to servicing your room once every three days. With an average stay of 2.5 days, you may not even see your housekeeping staff. Your only interaction with their service is when you check in.
Murphy says the industry standard for housekeepers is to clean 14 standard rooms per day per shift. This allows 30 minutes, yes only 30 minutes, to get rooms ready for the next guest. They have to strip the beds, make the beds, vacuum, clean the bathrooms, restock toiletries, and pick up the room. While most people leave their rooms in decent conditions, not all subscribe to that philosophy.
Because of their backbreaking work and hard-to-fill positions, Murphy suggests tipping housekeepers $1 per day per guest per room. For example, four people in a room would be $4 per day.
2. Bell Service
Bellhops are usually the first people you interact with at a hotel. They provide personal services like opening doors, carrying luggage, and sometimes arranging transportation services. Typically, you can expect to tip between $1 to $2 per bag. You can always carry your luggage yourself but it is refreshing after a day of traveling to have someone assist you with your luggage.
Concierges can make your hotel stay extra special. They can make recommendations for the best restaurants or tours to take. Concierges can also help you get a reservation or tickets to a show. Murphy says how you tip depends on the service you get from the concierge. For simple service, no tip is required. However, if they got you into the hottest show in town last minute, you should tip 15 percent of the cost of the tickets.
Hotel valets can be tricky, according to Murphy. You need to know if they are just parking your car or giving your car extra attention. If they are just parking your car, the standard rate is $5 to $10. But if they are returning your Bugatti wiped clean, Murphy suggests $20 to $30.
5. Room Service
The Waldorf Astoria New York introduced room service to the U.S. in the 1930s along with dishes like eggs benedict and the Waldorf salad. Many of us have come to enjoy this extra level of service. Traditionally, there is about an 18-percent fee added to your bill for room service and sometimes gratuity is added on as well. If you want to add an additional 5 percent because the server did a great job, Murphy says go right ahead.
6. Food And Beverage Servers
For the most part, food and beverage servers’ tipping practices have not changed. The standard for these two is 18 percent. Murphy says this can vary slightly depending on the type of hotel.
“At a mid-scale hotel that includes a breakfast buffet, you can typically leave a few dollars for the buffet runner and table cleaners. At a luxury brand that includes food and beverage services such as concierge level breakfast and afternoon cocktails, an 18 percent service fee will be included in your bill.”
Pro Tip: Murphy said it’s not necessary to tip groundskeepers or hotel managers.
Overall, Murphy says to use your judgment. If someone helps you and you feel like they deserve a little something extra, go ahead and give it to them.