How Much to Tip Hotel Housekeeping: Tipping Etiquette

Hotel housekeeper tipping

Tipping etiquette can be confusing. How much should I tip my hotel housekeeper? How much should I tip housekeeping? We’ve put together this handy guide to help you decide next time you want to tip.

Tipping hotel housekeeping is common practice across America. Housekeepers work hard for little money, and people generally agree that they deserve a tip if they’ve done a good job. However, by its nature tipping in hotels can be confusing.

People are usually alone when they decide to tip their housekeeper, and there’s nobody around to ask how much to tip! Tipping is also an informal social custom, meaning there’s no rule book you can check to get the right answer.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some simple rules you can follow to make sure you tip your housekeeper fairly and stay on the right side of your conscience without breaking the bank! We’ve put together this summary to help you decide how you want to tip your hotel housekeeper.

As you might imagine, when it comes to tipping housekeepers there are some specialist organizations that are very happy to offer their views on the right way to go about tipping.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) are understandably familiar with tipping etiquette. The AHLA says that $1-5 per night is conventional, depending upon the quality of the hotel.

However, in an article by CNN Money, Jacqueline Whitemore, founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach puts the numbers at $2-10 per night, with the upper range also reserved for the more expensive hotels you might grace with your tips.

It may seem counter-intuitive to tip more at more expensive hotels. After all, aren’t those hotels more likely to be paying their housekeepers a higher salary to begin with? While there is some variation from hotel to hotel, housekeepers aren’t earning the big bucks. It’s common practice, even in relatively exclusive venues, for operating companies to run a lean operation. An expensive hotel doesn’t mean a highly paid housekeeper.

Of course, this doesn’t justify tipping housekeepers in expensive hotels more than their peers in relatively affordable establishments. Housekeeping is hard work, wherever you do it. While it may be conventional to scale your tips up in proportion to the exclusivity of your hotel of choice, don’t let that force your hand. After all, a generous tip is an even bigger thank you when it’s unexpected.

Another consideration is the condition you leave the room in. Are you a messy guest? If so, probably up your tips a few dollars. If they’ve done a good job cleaning despite a messier room, it’s easy to argue that they’ve earned a tip befitting that!

But what if you leave your ‘do not disturb sign’ on the door throughout your stay? You may feel that you’ve saved the housekeeper some work, since they had entire days they didn’t enter your room and clean. Paradoxically, the reverse is true. According to Jacob Tomsky, a veteran hotel worker and author of Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles and So-Called Hospitality in USA Today, the gaps between cleaning actually increase the overall amount of work for housekeepers.


Because cleaning a hotel room and cleaning your house are not the same thing. Hotel managers have exacting standards, because there’s a very good chance the next guest in your room will, too. This means housekeepers must leave rooms spotless. Leaving your room uncleaned for a few days allows dirt, grime, dust, and all manner of unspeakables to build up that might escape your notice but must absolutely be dealt with before the next hotel guest shows up.

The skipped days mean that the housekeeper will have to use more cleaning supplies and will be exposed to more chemicals than usual. It’s also harder physical work to clean a room that’s gone a few days without a visit from your housekeeper. What does this mean for tipping? If you skip housekeeping visits during your stay no matter how tidy you are, you may want to increase the amount you tip.

So far we’ve covered how much to tip, and challenged some myths around tipping housekeepers. But when should you tip? And how?

Tipping etiquette in hotels is about more than how much to tip housekeeping. Timing and method is vital. There are certain flawed assumptions that hotel guests make about tipping housekeepers that can cause your tips to misfire.

The first is the mistaken belief that a different housekeeper cleans your room each day. This isn’t true most of the time. This means that if you just tip at the end of your stay, you probably haven’t tipped each person who has helped make your stay a clean and comfortable one. This means that if you want to tip housekeeping fairly, you want to spread your tipping out across your stay. For best tipping etiquette, tip your housekeeper each day.

To tip your housekeeper you also need to leave a note or some kind of indication that the money you’ve left is a tip and is meant for housekeeping. If you don’t explicitly indicate that your money was left deliberately as a tip and that you want it to go to your housekeeper, there’s a good chance it will end up being collected as lost and found and ultimately be pocketed by the hotel if left unclaimed.

Some hotels will make this easy for you by providing envelopes and stationary you can use to indicate that your money has been left intentionally as a tip. Even better, some hotels will provide TipSlips from TipZyp. With these you need only write the code you had automatically generated for you on and leave it in the room. Simple.

If you’d like to make sure you’re part of the community of responsible tippers making sure work pays, head over to to join the fair tipping movement making tipping easier for tippers and supporting hard working housekeepers.


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