Why Can’t Hotel Housekeeping Do This Simple Thing?

by joeheg

Even before the pandemic, we had issues with tipping hotel housekeeping. While there are different protocols depending on where in the world you are, if you’re staying at a hotel in the US, the underpaid housekeeping staff depends on tips to supplement their income. Going back to 2014, Marriott housekeepers were leaving envelopes (supplied by management), asking for gratuities.

Since I often forget to bring cash when we travel, I added a stack of singles (with fives and a few tens) to my packing list. For our Hawaii trip, that was enough for the airport parking shuttle driver, hotel valet and bellman, but I ran out of cash in a few days.

I neglected to realize that I’d need tip money for the crew of our boat ride and our helicopter pilot. Fortunately, both places understood that many people don’t carry cash anymore and provided links to Venmo, Zelle or PayPal for tips.

While the interaction of handing cash in appreciation for a job well done is missing, I’m sure that people appreciate money in their accounts just as much as getting cash. I don’t know if people tip more or less when sending a digital payment, but it removes the awkward interaction if someone wants to tip but doesn’t have any cash.

Which brought me to this thought: Would you use a cash payment service to tip housekeeping? Honestly, if the staff left a card asking for a tip with Venmo, would you use it?

I think we agree that, a decade ago, it was tacky for Marriott to have housekeeping leave tip envelopes in the rooms. Would a card with a housekeeping payment account feel as strange in today’s world? Virtual payments are mainstream (even seniors send money with virtual platforms), and now that more people aren’t carrying cash, this seems to be the obvious answer.

I can’t be the only one to have thought of this. Come on hotels, and catch up with your guests. Allow us to tip housekeeping by another method instead of having to throw a few dollars on the pillow.

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1 comment

Sam Jackson July 7, 2022 - 4:45 am

Great post as usual. The reality of traveling to developing countries is that cash is still part of the mix. I’m not sure that’ll change anytime soon. China, and many others, long ago replaced cash with digital exchanges. Cash, and even credit cards, get a weird head shrug from young employees who lack familiarity with these outmoded approaches to payment. Maybe the US will catch up at some point but it seems that a higher priority would be implementing a public health system.


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