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Hotel Tipping – Do You or Don’t You?

Expedia’s recent Hotel Etiquette Study focused mainly on the effects of travelers’ behavior on their fellow hotel guests. But there was a section of the survey that shone a light on travelers’ hotel tipping behavior as well.

  • 30% don’t tip at all.
  • Of those who do, 46% tip the housekeeper;
  • 40% tip the room service attendant;
  • 30% tip the valet;
  • 20% tip the porter.

While the breakdown of tip recipients isn’t surprising, I’m skeptical that a full 70 percent tip someone during a hotel stay. Reporting that they tip and actually tipping are two different things, and I suspect that the survey respondents overstated their tipping behavior, feeling perhaps that they should have tipped, even though they didn’t.

Which raises the central question here: Should you tip?

When Marriott began a campaign to encourage hotel guests to tip the company’s housekeepers, in 2014, I argued that the move was unethical and downright sleazy. While supposedly promoting compassion, it was really a callous tactic to minimize Marriott’s labor costs.

My vision, simply put, is of a tip-less world, in which workers are adequately compensated by their employers, and don’t need to depend on the whims and charitable instincts of their customers. That goes for hotel workers, taxi drivers, restaurant wait staff, and anyone else whose livelihood has come to be dependent on the good will of consumers.

I’m not alone in that conviction. There’s a fledging movement in the restaurant business to eliminate tipping, for example. But in America at least, tipping remains very much the standard in several industries.

And thus the question: Should it remain the standard? Is it fair and reasonable? Would you want your child’s compensation to depend on others’ tips?

Your opinion matters. If 70 percent of travelers truly believe that tipping is the right thing to do, then there’s little hope of any change anytime soon.

Reader Reality Check

What say you: Tip, or no tip?

More from SmarterTravel:

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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