A Note on Tipping Hotel Maids
There are two basic rules for tipping hotel maids when you’re in America:
(1) Tip your hotel maid.
We tip $5 a day.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hotel maids in the United States were paid an average of $24,420 a year in 2017. That’s… not a lot of money for a whole lot of work.
Note: I limit this article to America because in some countries, like Japan, individuals in the service industry are paid a living wage and a tip is not required. It will often be rejected if offered, and if you leave money on the bed they will leave it on your nightstand. Sources here, here, and here. But Japanese service culture (it’s the best in the world) is a whole ‘nother post - this is about my home country.
(2) Try to tip your hotel maid every day.
If you can remember, try to tip them every day. There’s a big possibility that the person who cleans your room one day will not be the same person who cleans your room the next day, so leaving one big tip at the end might shortchange some of the housekeeping staff who helped to change your sheets, take out your trash, replace your dirty towels, replenish your soaps, and vacuum the floor during your stay.
It’s good practice to arrive at your destination with a bunch of $5 bills for tipping valets, bellhops, housekeeping staff, room service, and bartenders. If you only have larger bills and don’t have change, get some from the front desk when you check in.
Bottom line: it’s super important to tip your maids
American hotel maids have one of the hardest jobs in the service industry and yet are paid terribly. Many maids are immigrants who are forced endure sexual harassment on the job (or worse) with little to no recourse for the perpetrators. Chicago began requiring panic buttons for hotel maids in 2017, and other hotel unions have been lobbying for the same for their workers. And all this to say — please tip your maids. :)
I really wish that hotels would make it an option to: (1) leave a housekeeping tip on your bill; (2) actually take the time to figure out who cleaned/replenished your room; and (3) give them that money — but until that happens, don’t forget to tip your housekeepers daily. My mom and grandma like to leave a small treat like macadamia nuts from Hawaii in addition to the cash.