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Do you tip the hotel maid?

A new survey indicates that half of Americans don't leave a little something for the housekeeping staff.

By Karen Datko Jul 2, 2012 8:06AM

Image: Hotel maid (© Simon Jarratt/Corbis)My, what a miserly bunch of travelers we can be. Nearly half (48%) of Americans don't leave a tip for the hotel housekeeper, according to a new survey.


And those who do are far from agreement on what the tip should be. "Among those who do tip, 44% leave at least $5, while a third (33%) tend to leave just a dollar or two," says the new Shoppers Trend Report from online coupon site RetailMeNot


Whether we tip seems to be influenced by the part of the country we're from and our sex.

  • 56% of Southerners said they don't tip the hotel cleaning staff, while only 25% of people from the Northeast admitted as much.
  • 56% of men said they leave a tip, while only 49% of women respondents do.

Why should you tip the maid, we can hear some of you wondering.


Here's an answer from a post at HotelChatter: "… you know, if you're tipping the roomservice dude for pressing the elevator button and wheeling a cart of food to your room, shouldn't you be tipping the staffer who is on his or her hands and knees scrubbing your hotel room's toilet?"


A new study on hotel room cleanliness found that housekeepers normally clean 14 to 16 rooms a day, or about 30 hard minutes of work per room. (Post continues below.)

(Off-topic but essential side note: That study also found that the TV remote control is the most-germ-laden surface in hotel rooms, and that eyeballing a room for cleanliness isn't effective. Some hotels are addressing that. USA Today says Best Western housekeepers are being equipped with "black lights to detect biological matter otherwise unseen by the human eye, and ultraviolet light wands to zap it." Also, says Smarter Travel, "A Best Western representative told us that any bedspreads will be washed if bacteria is detected on them via the black lights. No longer will travelers need to fling off the stiff bedspread using the tip a foot or an oblivious spouse's toothbrush.")

So, what's an appropriate tip for the person whose task is to keep you safe from bacteria, germs, and other icky things, and earns an average of $10.10 an hour? For that we turned to a Good Housekeeping post by Peggy Post (Emily Post's great-granddaughter-in-law).


She recommends $2 a day in a moderately priced establishment, and $3 to $5 at swankier places. She also advises that you leave a tip each day so the person who actually cleans your room can pick it up. (A USA Today chart includes a range of recommendations on how much to tip the maid and other hotel staff.)

We suggest that you put out the "do not disturb" sign in the interest of conserving water and energy -- do you really need a clean towel every day? -- and leave the tip before you depart. Add a little extra if you've been really messy. 


Put the bills in a folded sheet of paper or envelope, and write "housekeeping" on the outside so there's no doubt that it's a tip and not just money you left sitting out.


Some hotels may automatically include a tip in your bill. Ask when you check in.


Do you tip the hotel maid? If not, why don't you?


More on MSN Money:

Jul 2, 2012 4:06PM

At what point are we tipping for service or handing extra cash to someone for doing their job?  If I tip the room service waiter - for the service of bringing food - do I not also tip the cook who prepared the meal?  If I tip the maid, why not throw a buck at the guy who checked me in?  Do I tip a pilot for getting me to my destination?  What's the difference between someone who brings my mail or someone who prepares my taxes?  If I tip for being served coffee at a table, do I locate - and tip - the vendor if I get a cup of joe from a vending machine?  If I tip a cocktail waitress for my drink, shouldn't I tip the band for the ambiance?  Or why not tip the construction crew for building the facility in the first place?  We could all justify our jobs as "tippable". 

Jul 3, 2012 9:38AM
I worked for the hotel Hospitality Industry for 20 years. I believe being tipped after a stay is appropriate. I have seen guest  that leave the room trashed, some who left the rooms fairly clean.You can tell who never worked and and some that do understand what it takes to  do this type of work. It is hard and demanding.. If the guest received good service,room is clean, privacy  etc. then At tip would be nice.. I have seen Maids actually are working on an empty stomach and don't have a lunch or money to get a lunch.They count on those tips. just like waitresses... If you think they make good money,I like to know where that job is. I started when wages were $3.90 an hour plus tips and tips were none..Sometimes never get 8 hour work day.NO insurance and work around  piss, crap, spit, puke and used condoms. so you think they don't deserve a tip?. I like seeing you do the job...YES a tip should be appropriate after  the stay...
Jul 3, 2012 3:48PM
As a housekeeper, I appreciate those of you who tip.  Whenever I travel, I always leave something for the housekeepers.  Yes we receive a wage above wait staff but don't get nearly the tips that most wait staff receive.  So thanks again for the tipping few!!!
Jul 3, 2012 3:03PM

You bet. Housekeepers work hard and it's a miserable job cleaning the room that a stranger has slept and bathed in. I leave the money each morning with a note saying "for the housekeeper", even if I'm staying several days.


I have not infrequently received notes of thanks from the housekeeper in return.

Jul 3, 2012 9:11PM
don't stay at hotels/motels real often but always leave a tip of about $2 a day at the end of the stay -- now I'm wondring if it should be daily.    I appreciate a clean room, clean towels and a nicely made up bed.  It's part of the reason to stay somewhere nice and not go camping.  Usually we stay at a moderately priced place.  $100 a day would be a major big deal luxury for us.  Don't be a cheapskate - leave a couple of bucks -- it won't break you and it can mean a big difference to somebody having to clean up somebody elses mess.
Jul 2, 2012 9:18PM
 A xmas time TV tells the public how much to tip someone, not that I pay attention.  Give to your garbage collector, nail fixer, dog walker, house cleaner, yard man,  auto mechanic, postman, hairdresser and the list goes on.  Each one of them received payment for what they were hired to do, they didn't perform their chores for free.  Enough all-ready, I have a family to feed and they come first. 
Sep 19, 2012 9:04PM
I always try to leave a tip for the housekeeping staff. They work darn hard, and I appreciate a clean, orderly room. They definitely deserve a tip! 
Sep 19, 2012 8:28PM

I run a small cleaning company, so I really appreciate a clean room and generally tip $3-5 dollars per night, more if we are especially messy or have a lot of people in a room.  The few dollars out of my pocket can really put a smile on someone's face and boost their morale, which shows up in their work.  It also helps them financially when it all adds up.  I generally leave a note of thanks along with the cash, hoping to make them happy.  I cleaned for many years before my business, and a happy employee is a good thing to have.

Jul 2, 2012 8:24PM
My husband and I own an inn in an area of outdoor recreation. As the economy has worsened, our staff gets fewer tips. We pay more than minimum wage, so it's not necessary, but they would appreciate it. However, we have gone out of way to give extra service--I drove someone three hours to catch a train in an emergency once and he never even mentioned paying for gas. I don't expect a tip, but that would have been a nice gesture.
Jul 3, 2012 3:02PM

OMG we have become a nation of over tippers, not everyone needs a tip... I've worked the same job for over 10 years, haven't got one tip yet.. hell at this point a compliment would make my day lol.

Jul 2, 2012 4:04PM

Thanks anyway, but I decline the privilege of allowing this author, or anyone else determine when or how much I should give a tip. 


I make that determination when/if the service of a person makes me feel that I enjoy the experience.  As for hotel help .. If I never even meet that person, then I will almost certainly not give some type of tip.  That is just plan silly.  I give tips for personal service .. .not for a person just doing their job.

Jul 2, 2012 7:06PM
It is one thing to tip people, like waitstaff, who are legally and intentionally paid below the minimum wage. It is quite another to pay them extra simply for doing their jobs. I have held a number of food service, retail, agricultural, and other low-paying jobs in the 11 years I've been in the workforce (started as a young teen), and other than waiting tables, I never expected a tip. In most cases, I wasn't allowed to accept them. A low paying job is a low paying job for a reason, thus why some people try to get the education or experience to get out of them. 
Jul 2, 2012 8:02PM

Rose in Massachusetts: do you also tip the stock crew at your local grocery store/Walmart/etc ? I've worked as a stocker (as well as janitor) and until you've had the joy of unloading a supply truck, wheeling a pallet onto a floor, and stocked shelves for a 12 hour shift, you've not known true joy (lol). Funny, I never got a tip for making sure all the items you need were in the convenient places for you so that you could go home and open Mr. Cuddles' can of cat food without undue effort on your part.


Are you saying that I'm not one of the "other working people" that is due such largess as you would give to hotel maids and waitresses? Please explain to us your reasoning behind who gets tips and who doesn't. Why? "Just because".


Sorry if I sound bitter, but I keep seeing how "working people" deserve tips. Unfortunately, I seem to have spent years in untip-worthy jobs that I put in long hours because it was "my job" to do so, but then see people claim deserving workers get tips. What junk.


Waitresses, YES. They get paid crap and survive on tips; I NEVER go below 18% unless they maroon me at my table and never return, and even then I weigh how busy, number of workers, etc.


Others who get a full pay scale, whatever you think, but don't try to make those of us who actully do the same jobs (or worse) without the benefit of qualifying for your tip feel bad for not doing so.

Jul 5, 2012 11:09AM
tips are just an excuse for business owners to not pay wages
Jul 2, 2012 7:30PM

Question: how many of you that tip hotel maids tip the janitor at your place of work? Just wondering, because I've done custodial work in the past and I was NEVER offered a tip. Why is that, do you think? Hotel maids= tip worthy, janitors= not tip worthy.


Is this the same reason we tip people who bring us food at TGIFridays but not at McDonalds? Some people are inherently tip worthy, but others who do the same job "are getting paid to do their job"?

Sep 19, 2012 9:49PM
I work long and hard just like the maids, however, I do not receive any tips. A tip now is viewed as an entitlement by too many restaurant and hotel personnel. The fact is that the employers should pay their personnel fair wages so that the customers do not have to feel obigated to subsidize their employees pay on top of the hotel rate. I typically pay $125-$150 per night....isn't that enough? My employer would love to lower my pay and hope I would make it up in tips....but that's not how it works for 98% of us. Personally, I refuse to subsidize Hilton Hotels, etc.while they make millions per quarter in profit!!
Jul 2, 2012 11:51PM
I don't believe that a daily tip is required.  We leave a tip at the end of our stay, based on our length of stay mostly (and, of course, the level of service).  We like our privacy, though.  So, we usually don't have the maid make our bed daily, etc.  We hit them up in the hallway for whatever we need.  My favorite thing to do to give them a break (and I know the employer would not be happy about this) is to let them come to the room and punch their code in on the telephone (that's what they do to when they finish a room, usually).  : )  So, basically, they get credit for cleaning our room; when they have only provided us with the necessities (TP, fresh linens, toiletries).  We have never had anyone refuse us yet.  We have had to do a little persuading at times, because they don't want to get in trouble.  But, we assure them that we are just being nice and want to give them a break.  We also take snacks when we travel for convenience.  We will tell the maid to help themselves, or leave a nice goody bag of munchies for them along with the tip.  I just think it's a nice thing to do for people who work so hard every day.
Sep 19, 2012 9:33PM
while on vacation, i leave the housekeeping staff a tip every day.  if they do a good job, i leave a note with the tip, thanking the housekeeping staff for their work and tell them how much i appreciate coming back to a clean room.  i always get excellent service, and once, after a week, i met the lady who was taking care of the room and thanked her in person.  (i went home with armloads of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, coffee packets, etc.)  
Sep 19, 2012 10:51PM
I always tip the hotel house keeping staff. They work hard so I don't have to. In many hotel chains they are treated with an overwhelming amount of disrespect  so I show my respect by leaving a tip.
Sep 19, 2012 9:34PM
I tip daily so that the person cleaning my room is sure to get it.  My standard amount is $5 but most often, if the room was exceptionally clean, I will leave $10.  You will be surprised how much cleaner the room is when you tip.  These people work hard and are very deserving of a little extra.
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