My Rules for Tipping

September 16, 2014
Envelope Please
To celebrate International Housekeeping Week, we are placing tip envelopes in 160,000+ rooms.

Most people are not sure who to tip and who not to tip when they receive good service. I try to tip everyone from the pizza deliveryman to the parking attendant to the waiter and bellman.  I also tip hotel housekeepers, who are not always on everybody's radar. Most housekeepers do their job when we are out and they remain unseen, but your hotel room doesn’t magically tidy up itself.  Someone is pushing a cart down a long hallway, stopping in every room to clean it. They deserve tips too, and timed with the kickoff of International Housekeepers Week (September 14-20, 2014), we’re going to provide a gentle reminder to our guests.  

We’re partnering with Maria Shriver and A Woman’s Nation to launch “The Envelope Please.” As part of the campaign, we’ll be placing envelopes in over 160,000 guest rooms at participating hotels in the U.S. and Canada.  This will make it easy for our guests to express their gratitude.

Leave a tip in the envelope if you like the service and remember that housekeepers take great pride in presenting a clean and neat room. When you open the door to your room and it’s immaculate, the housekeeper is the reason why. 

My mother loved to look up Emily Post's etiquette guidelines when reminding me of my manners -- and my manners were not very good.  Mother could have written most of them herself. Here’s what it says about tipping: “When a service has been rendered that makes you feel like someone has really made an effort, it’s worth rewarding their attentiveness.” Over 40 years ago, I took my mother out to dinner.  When the valet delivered the car, I gave him a quarter.  My mother asked the valet to return and gave him a dollar.  She said don’t be so cheap, share.  We are very fortunate, so share with many and be generous.  The room cleaning service performed by housekeepers certainly fits this criteria. 

Many people have forgotten the rules of tipping. A recent headline in USA Today read: “Millennials: Big eaters; small tippers.” One expert thought math might be the reason for their poor tipping ability. I think he was joking.  But did you know that only very few hotel guests tip their housekeeper each day?

It’s not old fashioned to leave a gratuity.  It’s the right thing to do.  I tip housekeepers daily not knowing if the same person is assigned to my room throughout my visit.  So, on your next stay, if your room is in top shape, leave a tip as a way to say thank you to the hotel employees who truly are the heart of the house.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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I am a Marriott Gold customer and would just like to commend the ENTIRE staff at the Residence Inn Islip Long Island New York location. Due to a sudden death in the family, we needed several rooms, space to plan and many last minute requests. Bridget at the front desk was compassionate regarding our loss and amazing in handling our many needs. When we returned from the wake, we found a beautiful card in our room, signed by each and every staff member who was on that day. Each signature was accompanied by a personal note regarding our loss. In addition, we were given a large bag of snacks (which was so appreciated after a long day at the funeral home). Everyone at that Residence exemplified what the Marriott experience is all about. I have many choices for hotels but my allegiance will always be to Marriott. Hopefully Bill Marriott will read this and give credit to all his employees in Islip for making our tragic events more bearable. Thank you. Susan Martin

I like your post.Keep it up

It sounds like your mother was pretty serious about tipping! I admit, hotel staff aren't usually on my radar. I generally pay the main fee and forget about any sort of gratuity. Hopefully this will remind me to pay attention to all areas of service workers, not just those at restaurants.

This is the first time that I read this blog,and I FELT IN LOVE with it!! I am a JW Marriott associate since jan,24th,2015,yes,I am still a baby here,it is wonderful to read how you think,and where your principles came from.

I just can not stop reading it.

Thank you so much for sharing!!♥

Mr. Marriott

I recently stayed at the Marriott in Charlotte, NC. I had a nice stay and was treated very well by all the staff. When I went to check in at the airport I realized I left a shirt and a bag which contained my driver's license on the chair in my room. I call the Hotel from the airport and spoke to Bri Fowler she informed me that Maribel in housekeeping had turned the items in and she would ship them to my home. Now that is hospitality at its best! They arrived two days later, I was so happy to get my license back. With an experience like this I will be sure to pick Marriott for my next stay.

I would love to tip, but I never have cash, I try to leave a tip on the hotel bills, sometimes the hotel is able to do this , but most of the time they say they don't know how. I've stayed so far 116 nights at a branch of Marriott somewhere, but i would definitely add a gratuity for housekeeping if you could somehow make this easier to do.

Mr. Marriott:
I could not agree with you more. It is often the smallest thing that we do that can mean the most; you may never know.

I travel for business and stay at Marriot hotels close to 100 nights per year. My hotel bills are reimbursed by my customers. My customers will not reimburse for cash tips. By your policy I will have to spend around $500 per year of my post tax income to compensate the employees of your company, since you elect to not pay them a fair wage.

I do not expect anyone to work for less then a fair wage. Why can't you raise the room rates enough to adequately compensate your staff? Or, why can't I get the tip added to my bill so it shows as a housekeeping charge? In these cases I could be reimbursed.

When I take a taxi or dine in a restaurant, I tip the staff and it is added to the bill. This is how it should work.
I have no problem paying to cover the cost of housekeeping. It just needs to be added to the bill and not a behind the scenes cash transaction.

Dear Mr. Marriott,
When my son turned 9 and wanted to "take me out for my birthday", I was touched. We went to a local pizza place where we ordered a slice each, totalling about $4.50, including tax. He reached into his pocket and pulled out carefully-folded singles and assorted coins, totalling $5.73, which he carefully handed to the clerk.

When the clerk told him he had given too much, he stated confidently, " my mom always says I shouldn't go out to eat unless I can leave at least 20% for a tip. Thank you for the pizza."

The best birthday dinner ever!!
Parents, teach them young and lead by example. They are watching and learning.

Kindest regards,
Carolyn Fielding

Nicely said, Mr. Marriott. I especially think tipping is very appropriate when using our Privileges such as the Marriott Associate Rates. I know I personally always leave a tip for the maids, and when I am in the dining room enjoying breakfast. I think it is important to show this appreciation to the ones working in the dining area, the ones that are making sure our breakfast is great! I always talk to the ones keeping the dining area so clean and the breakfast so good by letting them know I, too, am a Marriott Associate, and really appreciate and enjoyed breakfast and hand them my tip. Most always they say oh Thank You So Much but it is not necessary. I say no it is Necessary, thank you.

A great example of showing how Marriott cares for its employees. Paving the way for outstanding service and setting the level to reach.

I think it is a nice idea but am very surprised the Marriott roled this out so quickly and no thought of REPORTING tips and also going as far to ask hotel guests to pay thier employees, this seems against all the values the Marriott stands for.
I believe this will be a tax reporting nightmare. All food service employees have to report tips to the government yet Marriott has not put anything in place for housekeepers to report the additional income. Surprising!

Mr. Marriott, thank you for this timely reminder. I enjoyed your recollection of your mother's tipping admonishment and I have also taken it to heart. I can certainly afford to share my success with those who contribute to mine. Since my Marriott Reward status allows me to enjoy a room upgrade, free WiFi, often free parking, and access to the Concierge Lounge, it is my duty to share with those who serve me. Now, I can't say I travel with small bills, so The Envelope Please may not be a perfect solution for those who live mostly cashless. But it only takes moments to ask the Front Desk to break a larger bill. I may not be able to make the world at large a better place, but I sure can make one person's smile a little wider. That's my take. Thank you.

great idea all your employes are so friendly, cheerful and help in many ways.I have a heart problem they handle my luggage place my bag on luggage rack.I know if I need help they are there to answer my call.


I never publicly comment on news like this. But, I want you to know that I think "The Envelope Please" is a wonderful idea. I believe that it is appropriate to leave tips for housekeeping staff, but I have often been uncomfortable as to exactly where to place the tip so that the staff would know that it is meant for them and that they should take it, without the possibility of them getting into trouble for doing so. I know that housekeeping staff follow very strict instructions for what they are allowed/not allowed to touch or move of a guest's belongings. How would a staff member definitively know that the few dollars left on the side table or bed are truly meant as a tip and that the guest didn't just unintentionally leave some of their money in that spot? This is what I have often wondered. So, in the past I found a piece of paper and left a tip with a note on it. With the envelope, it will be more convenient and I can be sure that the staff member will know that the money is left as a tip. I can also add a note of thanks if I wish. Thank you for the gentle reminder that will ultimately reward the housekeeping staff. Thank you, too, for making it more comfortable for me to know how to handle a daily tip and for the assurance that the tip will go where it is intended.

What a great idea. I'm sure all our Housekeepers around the world appreciate this.
I'm so honor to work for a company that raise ideas to recognize the hard work of our hosts.

Suggest tip amount please

Always try to leave something for the housekeeper. My Dad taught me that on our road trips when I was a kid.

Mr. Marriott, When it comes to tipping I have a rule. Bad room service No tip. Excellent room service I try to leave a tip. For multiple day or long term stays I tried to involve the housekeeping Supervisor to distribute the tip if multiple people have serviced my room. I have a very high standard for excellent service. In China they levy the service charge which I understand takes care of the Staff, if I am pleased I tip above and beyond that. JW Marriott Cancun was a property I used to frequent which has the Best housekeeping service of any full service Marriott I have ever stayed in. I regret that I did not tip as much as they deserve. Judging by that standard no one in the US would get any tip. It is important that housekeeping pay attention to detail. One big mistake like a missing toiletry in shower means no tip. If the housekeeping pays attention to detail and employs no shortcuts and does provide reasonable enmities constitutes a good service. If I decide to have everyone want to meet the JW Marriott Cancun standard when I get asked to provide things I like in my Suite, they are immediately provided. I never have ask them again the next day or the next stay even if my stay becomes infrequent. You should send some rooms directors to take a class from Cancun JW Marriott. A lot of the credit goes to Chris VP GM at that property. Syed T. A. Naqvi, Platinum Emeritus

We think the envelope is a wonderful idea. We always leave a tip on a daily basis. It lets the staff know that we appreciate the great job they are doing. And they NEVER fail at doing a wonderful job. Hats off to all the training that is involved and the consistency at all Marriott properties and those under the Marriott name.

Thank you, Sir, for such a kind article. I will share it today during our daily huddle, before we will participate in a Housekeeping Cart race in the parking lot to go with one of Fairfield's pillars " Have more fun", especially during Housekeeping Week.
Thank you for your recognition of our "Heart of the House" Departments and giving us the opportunity to share it.

Dear Mister Marriott:

I am happy that you focused on this timely topic. Since the United States has traditionaly underpaied and under-recognized it service workers - as compared to Europe - the subject of tipping is long overdue. Having grown up as a musician and playing in the entertainment industry I have always felt the need to reward service workers for their work. I have been leaving tips for housekeepers at Marriott Hotels (and all other hotels) for over 35 years. As you do, I also tip the bellmen, valet parkers,the wait staff and bartenders. As one wise philosopher once said: "The five or ten dollars that you leave will mean much more to the person you have left it for than it will impact your budget". As we used to say from the bandstand to the audience on behalf of the wait staff - Tipping is NOT a city in China!

All my best to you!

W. Lance Webb - Platinum Premier - Lifetime Platinum

Bravo ! We are loyal Marriott guests and I could not agree more. Tipping housekeeping staff is high on our list and we do know it is appreciated. Returning to our rooms to relax and change for dinner, we have often encountered housekeepers who go out of their way to say thanks for the tip. We also tip daily for the stated reason, staff can change daily and we want to compensate them equally. We also leave a short few words, just thank you and a smiley face to let staff know they are not invisible but people doing an often thankless job.

Mr. Marriott you are correct, and I applaud Marriott for taking
the first step on the tip envelope program. Yes, only a few
guests do tip their housekeepers everyday. Your program will
definitely be a perfect reminder, that if you are very happy
with the way your room looks, please reward the housekeeper,
she/he is the reason your room is kept clean and immaculate.

In latin America, the tip on the bed idea is pretty much
expected, often, the front desk reminds you of certain house
policy suggestions, just as a reminder, but you don't have to
tip. Those people really make low wages there, and the extra
money is a welcomed reward, they too, do a very nice keeping
you home away from home, clean and comfortable.

Thanks for helping us all remember the little but important
things, while away from home, by making a housekeepers day,
a happy and pleasant one, during your stay, at a Marriott hotel.

Warm wishes,

John R.Vicente CHA/3D
Managing Director
Mid-Cities Lodging Associates

Thank you Ms.Marriott for everything you do for us.I am happy to be part of Marriott Family.God bless you and your Family!