Your guide to tipping, explained here
Knowing how much to tip room service and other hotel staff doesn't have to be confusing. Here's a simple cheat sheet to help you know whom, when and how much to tip during your next hotel stay.
How much to tip room service
Room-service staff should be tipped 15 to 20 percent of your total meal bill, according to a gratuity guide from the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Some hotels may include the gratuity on the bill; if this is the case, there's no need for to tip the staff directly. In many cases, fine print on the room-service menu will state whether gratuity is automatically added.
How much do you tip hotel staff?
Housekeeping staff also appreciate a tip; after all, they're cleaning up after you on a daily basis. Tip from $1 to $5 per day, depending on the amount of mess they have to clean up each day. Ideally, leave the tip in an envelope clearly marked for housekeeping, so the staffer knows the tip is theirs. Pay the same $1 to $5 range per bag carried by the porter to your room (or out of your room upon checkout). If you require extra items in your room, such as extra towels or blankets, tip the person delivering the goods $2 for one item or up to $5 for more than one item. Tip door staff $1 to $2 for calling a cab or several dollars for helping unload your luggage. (The tip should depend upon the weight and number of bags.)
A valet should be offered $1 to $5 for returning your car to you, depending upon the weather. And, tip hotel shuttle drivers $1 to $2 per person, potentially more if they're making a special trip just for you and your party.
The hotel concierge also appreciates a tip. Offer the concierge $5 to $10 for services such as booking a table at a popular restaurant or acquiring show tickets on your behalf.
When to tip extra
Any hotel staffer appreciates an extra tip when extra work is involved. For instance, if the porter has to make several trips to accommodate all of your heavy bags, it's worth tipping a few extra dollars. If room service has to make several trips to your room in one night because you'd like extra plates or salad dressing, it's worth another dollar or two. If your room is incredibly messy at the end of your stay, tip the housekeeping team at least a few more dollars on top of your usual tip.
Extra tip about tipping
Always leave the tip directly with the person who assisted you, whenever possible. A tip left at the front desk, for instance, may not make it back to the intended recipient. Likewise, tipping room service in a lump sum after a five-day stay may mean the last person to clean your room received a nice tip, while the first person received none. Tip daily, as applicable.
Also keep in mind that cleaning a room in a bargain hotel requires just as much work as cleaning a room of similar size in a fancy hotel, so the tip amount should be generally the same, not dictated by the price of the room.