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Hotels - Not Tipping the Maid - Because You Were Not Trained?

Updated on November 20, 2014

For our economy to operate efficiently, and to be a savvy traveler, we must understand the rules of tipping. Unlike any industry, the travel industry, the hospitality industry is built around tipping. Why might you ask? Because it is an industry built upon service. The wheels of efficiency do not work with corporate bonuses quarterly or annually, the wheels of hospitality work one customer at a time. The hospitality industry is structured in it's pay scale expecting a good job to be rewarded. If we are to travel in comfort and receive the service levels we expect and want, we must be able to know the proper tipping rules. Sadly, tipping the maid is a forgotten grace. And those who do tip the maid, often do so only at the very end. We must recognize that there are shift changes and we must leave a few dollars each morning.

Not Tipping - My Lack of Training

Perhaps it was because I was raised by my grandparents and my mother had no funds for vacationing. Perhaps it was because I am female. Whatever the case, I was never instructed that when staying at a hotel, you need to tip the maid. When you analyze the industry here in the United States, it only makes sense.

When I traveled overseas, we were coached and specifically instructed what the local customs were. One of our nightly duties between the three of us American females was to figure out the appropriate tips and divide by three and prepare one envelope.

It was on those trips that I learned that service personnel live and depend upon their tips. I felt so ignorant. My Grandmother IF she were alive prided herself on being proper. My Mother prided upon herself being savvy. And my Grandfather was always the consummate gentleman. I know they would be disappointed in my lack of travel savvy.

Yet, today many in America don't consider it necessary to tip the maid. Why? I think they were raised like me with a family that didn't travel. No one informed them. And connecting the dots between the wait staff and the norm of tipping for service and tipping a maid was never considered.

Tipping is a Valuable Part of the Hospitality Industry

Tipping is a valuable part of the service industry. It provides the merit system that Americans believe in - a job well done deserves a financial reward. It ensures that poor service will be immediately recognized. It provides both the business owner and the wait staff or maid staff with an incentive to do the job to the best standards possible.

Tipping the Maid - The Lost Art of the Savvy Traveler

pretty girl dressed as a housekeeping attendant in full uniform with towels standing in front of a bed with an elaborate hotel door behind her
pretty girl dressed as a housekeeping attendant in full uniform with towels standing in front of a bed with an elaborate hotel door behind her | Source

The Most Famous Hotel Maid

The Most Famous Hotel Maid from the movie Maid in Manhattan - Jennifer Lopez dressed in the housekeeping uniform of the hotel with apron
The Most Famous Hotel Maid from the movie Maid in Manhattan - Jennifer Lopez dressed in the housekeeping uniform of the hotel with apron | Source

Traveling is a Luxury

In today's new austerity across the world and particularly the United States, do we have a new appreciation for our service industry staff? Do we look at the maid as a real human whom we can relate to? Did the movie Maid in Manhattan open our eyes and our humanity to recognize that maids are just like our neighbors, trying to earn a living to support their family?

As we detailed, the travel industry in the United States employs roughly 25% of our population. It is important as citizens to understand this industry and fund it properly so that the maids of the world can have a reasonable wage and that they can feed and cloth their families.

Traveling is a luxury. If we cannot afford it, we shouldn't be in the hotel room. If we are there anyway, the place to save is not upon the livelihood of the chambermaids.

Beautiful Jennifer Lopez in the Famous Pink Chiffon Evening Gown from the Movie Maid in Manhattan

Beautiful Jennifer Lopez in the Famous Pink Chiffon Evening Gown from the Movie Maid in Manhattan
Beautiful Jennifer Lopez in the Famous Pink Chiffon Evening Gown from the Movie Maid in Manhattan | Source

Buy Mad in Manhattan Online at Amazon

Funny Tip Jar

Funny Tip Jar with a Gold Fish with a Note Saying " Help I can only swim in dollars, please don't let me die!!!!"
Funny Tip Jar with a Gold Fish with a Note Saying " Help I can only swim in dollars, please don't let me die!!!!" | Source

Job Titles - The Various Names of Hotel Staff

Glassdoor labels this job simply "housekeeper", the word I always think of is "maid", but in olden days the term was "chambermaid".

Chambermaid is derived from the 1580's when "maid" referred to graciously as a servant and chamber denoted a specific area for their job functions.

Today we have a broader term and often refer to term "housekeeper" even for the hotel. The hotel industry often refers to itself as the house and a common term you will hear referenced to is the back of the house. Like Disney the front of the house must remain pristine and storybook at all times for its customers.

Bellhop and the Chambermaid Tipping

What I find interesting is we remember to tip our waiters and waitresses and in the hospitality industry we would never expect service from the bellhop to be free but for the maids, we "forget" or is it simply we were not trained?

What Are Your Thoughts?

Why don't we tip the maid?

See results

Antique Bellhop - Bell Hops Are Always Tipped - Gratuities for the Chambermaids Are Often Left Out

Antique Bell Hop - Bell Hops are always tipped, the hotel gratuity for the chambermaid is often overlooked.
Antique Bell Hop - Bell Hops are always tipped, the hotel gratuity for the chambermaid is often overlooked. | Source

Housekeeper Salary

If we look at Glassdoor, the website for reporting average salaries, the listing for the housekeeper, ranges like all jobs but on the average the hourly wage is listed between $7 and $10 per hour. Obviously, larger cities will be paying more, and perhaps larger hotels with better resources will also pay better.

Great College Job

When I worked in the hotel industry, I overheard a young gal state that she loved her housekeeping job because it helped her through college. It turned out she was a beauty pageant winner. So while the movie with Jennifer Lopez may seem unlikely, the beautiful Maid in Manhattan can be a real story.

Our Economy Needs Gratuities

Long story short, our economy needs us to graciously and consistently offer tips to our service staff. Whether the staff member is feeding a family or is a beautiful college student, all are performing an important job for our travel industry. It is our job as a savvy traveler to know when to tip. If we tip consistently and leave a few dollars each morning for our maid, we are assured of better service and an industry that works efficiently.

Tip - To Insure Promptness

The etymology of the word tip supposedly comes from an acronym to insure promptness. The story seems to relate to sometime in New York when "Life" magazine detailed a restaurant server at a coffeehouse shortened the common phrase.

The item we must remember, is a gratuity is graciousness and our service staff deserve a working wage. Part of that wage is the tips from a job well done. Full and equal pay is needed for our economy to work.

As we travel, I challenge you to learn the tipping rules of each country and each service rendered. In my opinion, we must not forget the chambermaid.

Your Thoughts?

Please share your experiences and thoughts on the subject.  Learning from each other, learning what each country's customs are is the reason we are here.  Please share in the comment section below:

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© 2010 Ken Kline

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    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      GG - I agree with you wholeheartedly. If one cannot afford to tip, then one cannot afford to travel.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      drbj,

      Sadly many of us were not taught the very basics of family budget and of the real cost of travel. It took me a while to learn - had to travel overseas to learn what I should have known but at least now I am wiser about traveling.

      Fortunately, I was taught about the tipping in a restaurant is a necessity so I can relate readily to tipping a maid for their hard earned services.

    • TheFont profile image

      TheFont 6 years ago from Australia

      Where I live in Australia maids are paid very well so there is no tipping required. It was the same in the UK where I used to live.

      A lot of people from outside the US aren't used to your tipping culture so it is hard for us to understand. Where we come from people feel that a good job should be done because people take pride in their work, not because they are aiming for a tip.

      What we often don't take into account though is that maids are paid so little in the US, this makes a difference. It would be good if there were something in hotel rooms that explained this and then I think a lot of overseas visitors would tip more.

      I must say though that living somewhere where tipping is not the norm is honestly nicer for everyone because it means that it is easy to calculate the true cost and it means that everyone is guaranteed a reasonable wage just through their pay without having to rely on tips.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      The custom of tipping has changed considerably since I was young. I maid my living for years delivering newspapers and customers seemed happy with my service but I didn't receive more than a few dollars a year in tips. In Minneapolis where I grew up people really only tipped when they went to upscale places. I went to Chicago for awhile and everyone expected tips.

      A friend who worked as a waiter told me to only tip if the person did something to enhance the experience of the meal he was serving,

      If tipping is mandatory than I think the gratuities should be simply added to the bill and the advertised price.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      TheFont,

      I greatly appreciate learning about the culture in Australia and the UK. This is very helpful. Fairness is always an issue and IF America cannot consistently tip maids, then the practice should change.

      I like the idea of the reliability for the maid - it only seems fairs.

      Thank you so much for sharing - greatly appreciate it.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Those girls often have to work their asses off. . .and most of them ARE women. I had to teach my poor grandmother that it's not really cool to go get those sonic hamburgers, and NOT tip the young woman who brought them to her. . . .my grandmother didn't have a clue that wait staff DON'T get minimum wage.. . . .

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Wesman Todd Shaw,

      Isn't it amazing the lack of consumer savvy - we are suppose to know this stuff but we don't - so sad for all of us.

      Thanks so much for sharing. I think it is important to know everyone's experiences and viewpoints.

    • profile image

      Alsiha 6 years ago

      Working in the hospitality industry for the last 15 years in both Operations and Human Resources I can say that Room Attendants as they are called (we don't use the word maid anymore)have not been tipped for a long time. Most of the better hotels and chains have adjusted their hourly compensation to reflect this. I think not tipping the Room Attendant is the norm now sadly.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Alsiha,

      Thank you very much for the update both in the operations and in the terminology. Very helpful. I appreciate your expertise.

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