Hotel Gratuity Do’s and Don’ts

Hotel Gratuity Do’s and Don’ts

For Meeting Planners

Although “service charges” can be found on most of your vendor bills, only a small portion of that dollar amount goes directly to the service staff working your event. For that reason, it is customary to tip the people that are part of making your event a success. However, who you tip is totally at your discretion, of course. If your event’s bill already includes a mandatory gratuity line, ask for an itemized payout so that you know where the money is going and to whom so that you can decide if you want to do some extra tipping on the side.

Note: before you start shelling out the cash, be sure to check your venue’s tipping policy. Some city-run venues may prohibit their staff from accepting gratuities.

Following is a list of people you should consider tipping along with the approximate amount:

  • Set-up crew ($5/day/person)
  • Banquet captain and/or Catering Manager ($15/meal function)
  • Audio/Visual manager ($50/meeting)
  • Conference service manager ($100-$500/meeting)
  • Bell desk worker or anyone helping bring in boxes from your vehicle ($1-3/box, package, cart)
  • Housekeeping manager ($20-60/day depending on level of work)

Don’t give cash tips daily. Tips should be placed in envelopes addressed to the staffer’s name and handed out the final day of the event. Also, don’t feel obligated to tip everyone. If you never see the banquet captain or catering manager the entire meeting, don’t tip them.

For The Average Traveler

Tipping can be incredibly personal — some people are willing to toss out extra bills regardless of the quality of service, while others carefully weigh their experience before deciding what to tip. In many ways, there is no wrong way to tip, though in countries like the US where workers depend on tips to supplement salaries, it can be considered rude not to do so. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain rules to take into account, especially when traveling.

Over the course of a stay —whether it’s two nights or two weeks — you’re bound to solicit the help of numerous staff members, including a bellhop, valet, concierge, housekeeping and room service waiters.

The first tip to tipping, is carry a lot of one-dollar-bills. You’re going to need them!

  • Hotel porter toting your bags ($1-3/bag)
  • Room service with gratuity included ($0-2 – since gratuity is already included in your bill you don’t have to tip extra, but feel free to tip $2 as a bonus if the server sets the meal up in your room)
  • Room service without gratuity included (20 percent of the meal price)
  • Toiletry/Towel/Blanket/Pillow delivery ($2)
  • Doorman if he/she hails a cab ($2-4)
  • Concierge ($5-25 depending on the difficulty of the task)
  • Housekeeping ($2-5/day depending on the luxury level of the hotel)
  • Valet ($2-5 every time valet retrieves your car)

Don’t leave the housekeeper’s tip on the nightstand; put it on the desk or a counter with a clearly marked note. Also, since housekeeping staff rotate, it’s customary to leave the tip daily so that the person who cleaned your room each day gets the money. Also, don’t leave something other than cash as a tip. Most hotels have strict policies about what can be taken out of a guest room. So, that bottle of wine or left over pizza is not a treat for the housekeeping staff, it’s trash. Bottom line: just leave cash.

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