We all want clean hotel rooms when we travel, with crisply made beds and plenty of fresh towels ready for us at the end of a busy day. So, there’s no question about the importance of hotel housekeeping services.
But when it comes to tipping the folks who do that work, that’s where travelers can often get tripped up. It’s easy to forget to do it in the first place. And then there’s the question of how much to tip and when. So, we spoke with some experts to get their advice on how to tip your hotel housekeepers—and why it’s important.
The Importance of Tipping Hotel Housekeeping
“Housekeeping jobs are actually very hard,” says Diego Bufquin, assistant professor at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida. “Housekeepers clean an average of 16 rooms a day; it’s a very arduous job that is very physical.”
Housekeepers generally get paid by the hour, with an average salary of $10.63 an hour for a hotel housekeeper in the United States, according to Indeed. That doesn’t translate to a high-paying job in this day and age, so tips help boost their total compensation.
“Customers are aware that they should tip servers, valets, and bellmen,” says Bufquin. “But people are just not as aware that it’s nice to tip housekeepers, too.”
How Much Should You Tip?
The American Hotel & Lodging Association recommends that hotel guests tip housekeepers $1 to $5 per night. That’s a wide range that allows guests to take into account everything from the cleanliness of the room to the category of hotel where they’ve booked their stay.
“Just like in a restaurant, it ultimately comes down to performance,” says Jason Parsons, general manager of the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club in Naples, Florida. “If a room attendant performs well, their tip will probably increase.”
A stay at a moderate hotel might call for a tip in the middle of that dollar range. But if you’re staying at a Four Seasons or the Ritz, prepare to tip more.
“In a luxury hotel, housekeepers will often provide extra services and trips to your room for turndown service, special towel folding, clothes hanging, and setting the lights,” says Barak Hirschowitz, president of the International Luxury Hotel Association. “I have stayed in properties where the housekeeper even runs a bath for you on cold days. I recommend $4 to $5 per night per person in a luxury hotel.”
The AHLA advises leaving a tip daily, ideally in an envelope or with a note left in a noticeable spot (like near the bed or on the desk) so there’s no confusion for the housekeeper. “You may have a totally different housekeeper cleaning your room on a daily basis, so in order to compensate everyone fairly, you want to leave a daily tip,” says Bufquin. “And to avoid misinterpretations, clearly inform the housekeeper ‘This a tip.’ Professional housekeepers who see money in a room without any note or message from the guest may think that this money has been forgotten unintentionally by the guest.”
But there is some difference in opinion as to the frequency with which guests should tip housekeepers. Both Parsons and Hirschowitz recommend tipping housekeepers just once at the end of your stay. Parsons says his guests often leave their housekeeping tips with him or another manager to make sure they get to the right people.
Whatever you decide about how often to tip, the most important thing is to leave a tip, period. And know that kind words can be just as appreciated as dollar bills.
“Everyone likes to be complimented for their work,” says Bufquin. “So it’s always nice to compliment your housekeeper if they’re doing an amazing job cleaning your room. And sometimes a little tap on the shoulder saying ‘great job’ can be more effective than simply leaving tips behind.”
Perhaps the most valuable reason to tip housekeeping while on a family vacation, though? Teaching your kids the importance of respect and kindness.