A hotel is, aside from a place to sleep, an opportunity for you to take a break from your everyday responsibilities. Someone cleans your room, changes the sheets, makes sure there’s coffee, moves your luggage where you need it to go, parks your car, brings you food at any time of the night—it’s a nonstop parade of people catering to you.
It's great to be pampered, but it’s also important to recognize and thank the people who are doing all that stuff. With so many different services, though, how are you supposed to know how much is an appropriate amount to tip all of these people? We asked a bunch of experts and put together this ultimate guide to hotel tipping.
The Albert at Hotel EMC2 in Chicago.
How Much to Tip Housekeeping
Brittany Wineglass, an instructor of hospitality and hotel management at the Institute of Culinary Education, recommends a tip of five dollars per day for one or two people. For three or four people in the same room, double that.
You also might be wondering what the right term is for the housekeeping staff. Wineglass says the proper term for is either housekeepers or room attendants, and that “maid” can be considered offensive. “They are the heartbeat of the hotel,” says Wineglass. “These men and women work the hardest and seldom get the recognition they truly deserve.”
The experts recommend tipping for these room-cleaning services on a daily basis. “We should tip the housekeeping at the hotel every single day, because the staff changes regularly, quite different compared to, for example, a cruise,” says Maryanne Parker, a social etiquette consultant. Parker also notes that outside the US, sometimes a tip may not automatically be picked up, so you can leave a note indicating that it’s a tip in thanks for a nice clean room.
How Much to Tip Valet
Valet parking can be an intense job, especially if the weather is extremely hot or cold, raining, or snowing. Valet attendants have to sprint back and forth and often aren’t paid well, which is why it's good practice to leave a tip.
“Contrary to popular belief, valet parking is still one of the many positions in New York City where, in some cases, the attendant is being paid minimum wage,” says Wineglass.
Parker recommends tipping five dollars to the parking attendant up front; she says this may result in better service.
How Much to Tip for Bag Service or a Bellperson
Sometimes, after a long flight, we just don’t feel like carrying our own bags—even if we know we probably should. Hotels often provide bag service to take your bags up to your room, but it’s important to remember that if your bag is heavy for you, it’s heavy for them, too.
“The expectation to hold or pull luggage can be very strenuous to someone over a career,” says Wineglass. “You should be tipping someone is at least two dollars per bag to hold or store luggage.”
How Much to Tip for Room Service
Room service sometimes includes gratuity right there in the bill, but always check to be sure. Often our room service orders are late at night or at otherwise odd parts of the day. Also, keep in mind that you don’t really have any way to tip the cooks. Wineglass says 18 percent is a good tip for room service.
How Much to Tip for Shuttle Service
Shuttle service, says Wineglass, is “a courtesy service that receives a very limited functional budget; in most cases, it’s simply a luxury to have.” That means it’s likely your shuttle service driver is making minimum wage—or maybe even less, if the state allows it. Tip the same as you would for a valet, about five dollars per person.
How Much to Tip for Holding Your Bags at the Front Desk
Sometimes you arrive early and your room isn't ready, or your flight is later in the day but you'd prefer to store your luggage in a secure spot while you spend a few more hours exploring with your girls. Holding your bags at the front desk is a nice bonus service that the hotel isn’t really under any obligation to provide—but usually will. Thank them, say our experts, with a couple of dollars as a tip.
How Much to Tip for Concierge Services
Hotel front desks are happy to give out recommendations and provide you with maps of the best nearby restaurants and attractions (like the best budget-friendly things to do in St. Louis). It isn’t always necessary to tip for this—a nice thank you is often fine—but if you’re blown away by a recommendation, a tip can be a good way to show your appreciation (four or five dollars is an appropriate amount).
Similar to a salon, tipping guidelines for hotel services aren't always clear-cut. But as the experts note, many of the professionals who work hard to make your hotel stay comfortable and memorable also make minimum wage and appreciate a little extra appreciation for a job well done.