Quick guide to average tip amounts for hotel staff
Many hotel employees and staff members count on tips as an integral part of their monthly and annual income. Figuring out tips can be tricky, because expected amounts vary with the person’s role and what guests are asking them to do. To help take the guesswork out of tipping, HR consultant Laura MacLeod shares some guidelines for when to tip and how much.
Valet: $1 to $5 per day
If there’s one valet who is helping the same guest repeatedly, MacLeod suggests they should earn one lump sum at the end of the guest's stay. “If you're [the guest] going to be there for two weeks and you're going to take your car out every day, and the same guy is going to do it every day, then it's important to tip him between $1 and $5 a day,” she says. If you won’t see the same valet each day, tip at the time of service.
Doorman: $2 to $5+ for extra work
MacLeod recommends a doorman should be tipped $2 for things like hailing a cab and $5 or more for running errands. If doormen don't do anything special for the guest, tipping isn’t necessary simply for opening the doors.
Bellman: $1 per bag
Bellmen should be tipped $1 per bag for carrying bags to guest rooms or to storage. The tip should be given at the time of service because hotels employ multiple bellmen, and guests likely won’t see the same bellman when they leave.
Housekeeping: $1+ per day
“A lot of people don't tip at all, but the bottom line here is housekeepers really appreciate tips that people give them,” MacLeod says. “And especially if you've stayed in the room late in the afternoon and you've delayed the housekeeper from getting in there. That's okay, that's your right to do that. But it's nice to give her/him some money for that.” At the end of your stay, guests should leave a lump-sum tip on a counter or desk with a note.
Front desk: No tip
Normally, front desk agents do not expect to be tipped for signing in guests, answering questions, and other typical duties. If a front desk agent goes out of his or her way to help a guest with something that wouldn’t usually be required, MacLeod suggests they should earn a tip from $2 to $5.
A concierge doesn’t expect a tip for answering a few questions or giving directions, but if he does more work, he/she should be tipped at least $5. “If you're looking for something special, a particular restaurant, [or] some advice, [or] he's taken some time to call and check on restaurants, check on sites, [or] get tickets for you, definitely tip him,” MacLeod says.
Ski concierge/surf concierge: $5 to $20
A seasonal concierge doesn’t expect tips for answering questions, but tips are expected for more involved work. MacLeod says, “If they're setting up skiing lessons, you never skied before, and they're going to help you find the best instructor, and they're going to get the equipment for you and make all kinds of arrangements” then tip $5 to $20. Tip a larger amount if the concierge helps get equipment for several family members.
Room service: 15% if not included in the bill
Room service bills often include a gratuity, which goes to the employee, and a delivery fee, which goes to the hotel. If your bill doesn’t include a gratuity, tip 15 percent (or more for exceptional service). If the bill isn’t clear, guests should ask the hotel whether a tip is included.
Spa therapist: 15%
For employees who give massages or facials, tip 15 percent. Guests can give more if they want to reward excellent service.
Waiters expect a tip of 15 percent or more. Tip bartenders at the same rate. Although some people don’t bother to tip bartenders, a tip is expected and is especially important if a guest wants good service throughout their stay. “If they know you're a regular customer and you tip, you're going to be the first one getting a drink,” MacLeod notes. “If they know you're somebody who doesn't tip, you're going to wait a long time.”
As a rule for guests and patrons, it’s best to tip hotel staff generously if you are asking someone to do extra work for you or if you expect exceptional service. A larger tip rewards hotel employees for going above and beyond the ordinary requirements of their already-demanding jobs.