Now More Than Ever, We Should Be Tipping Hospitality Workers

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To tip hospitality workers or not to tip, that’s the question. There’s nothing stopping someone from leaving a gratuity beside their bed, yet research shows about 70% of hotel guests end up not leaving a tip. At almost every other establishment we regularly patron there’s a line at the bottom of the receipt for adding a tip, sometimes even with a suggested tipping amount. For some reason, this is different for hotel workers. There’s an unwritten, silent rule in hospitality that sets the pace for how much or little staff are tipped for their dedicated service.

In the last few years, this has even evolved into a “do not tip” movement. Many travelers say they’re tired of shelling out gratuities to everyone they meet (hotel concierges, housekeepers, valet workers), arguing instead for businesses to pay service workers a fair wage. This has long been a debate, even among industry experts. So, what’s the verdict? In my opinion, hospitality has a centuries-old tradition of tipping and the right thing to do is to leave a gratuity. Doing so profoundly impacts these workers’ lives. I know because I have witnessed it firsthand.

In 2015 while staying at the Westin Union Square San Francisco, I left four dollars on the nightstand for my housekeeper. I returned to a handwritten note from that housekeeper thanking me for my gratuity. She explained that she rarely received tips anymore and that they really helped her get by. This was in 2015, so one can only imagine the struggles for today’s hospitality workers. I laminated that note and have kept it in my possession to this day. I remembered thinking at the time, “One day I’m going to help solve this problem for these workers.” That’s how eTip got started.

Trust me, I get it. You’re in a rush. You don’t have cash (especially after the impacts of COVID). You’re not sure the housekeeper who attended to you will get the money. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to tipping hotel workers. But it’s worth it, now more than ever as hospitality staff return to work in an industry that is striving to recover from the impacts of a global pandemic. 

To every hotel worker, thank you for your service. I’m looking forward to a bright future where tipping makes a well-deserved comeback with modern-day solutions like eTip.

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