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Tip Envelopes as Reasonable Reminders? Try Tasteless and Tacky

March 12, 2014 at 9:32 AM | by | ()

We don't want to get into another debate just yet about whether or not you should tip the housekeeper, but we've got a bone to pick with these "tip envelopes" and the accompanying notes that pop up in rooms from time to time. It's a page straight out of the cruise industry, and it absolutely reeks of a hotel that's got its priorities mixed up.

Regardless of how American businesses have been able to spin the idea of tipping into an expected offering to help supplement the salaries of the employees that they underpay, this contributor's opinion is that gratuity is something given to someone who has gone above and beyond their job description to make my experience better. In short, get these things out of my face, right now.

Don't take that to mean that I don't tip - I play fair - but I definitely don't appreciate someone shoving it in my face like it's some sort of requirement, like it's a tax that must be paid for services rendered, like it's my responsibility to put food on the housekeeper's table. That's simply not the case.

And I really don't dig the placement of the card or the note about tipping either. It's usually placed on the pillow or in front of the coffee maker. It says a lot in itself about the confidence and goals of the hotel, trying to get more money out of me before I've even spent five minutes in the room. Really? That's the sort of establishment you want to run? While the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles did have tip envelopes for the maid, it was done in a more understated way. So if you, as a hotel, aren't willing to give up the tip envelopes, at least rethink the way you go about asking for tips.

This is America, we all know the deal. If your guests aren't tipping housekeepers, valets, doormen, etc., perhaps you should focus less on envelopes and more on what's encouraging them not to cough up those singles.

What do you think--are tip envelopes helpful or heinous? Sound off in comments below!

[Photo: HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:

Annoying, but (sometimes) necessary

Many hotels have a policy that cash left out, unless specifically indicated as a tip, must be left alone (in the case of a stay over), or returned/refunded (in the case of a checkout). While I don't appreciate obnoxious placement of the envelope, having it around isn't bad. Though the one pictured is awful, a subtler versions not by definition heinous.

Tip envelope is ok, the note is not

I don't mind the tip envelopes a la the Ace Hotel. But that note card is awful. They should be more discreet about it.

Not Feeling Like a Guest

Amen to this statement: "It absolutely reeks of a hotel that's got its priorities mixed up." Nothing makes me feel less like a guest and more like a customer than someone with their hand out.

Last week, I stayed at the DoubleTree Suites Downtown Disney in Florida. I left a tip for Housekeeping and I got a pre-printed thank you note that included a coupon for the choice of a free continental breakfast, 1 beer/wine, or 24-hours of free internet. That's how you treat a guest.

The folks running that hotel are brilliant. That extra touch (which probably cost them under $5) plus the fact that every employee smiled and said hello to me means that the hotel is now my #1 choice when returning to Orlando. And, I've been telling everyone about the place, too.