14 February 2021 Posted By : Natalie B. Compton

Now, more than ever, travelers should be tipping at hotels

The pandemic has been brutal on the hotel industry and the essential workers who keep them running. According to a new report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the hospitality workforce is down nearly 4 million jobs compared to the year before, and half of hotel rooms in America are projected to stay vacant in 2021.

Economic issues aside, hotel employees also have to worry about the health concerns of working during the pandemic. While they’ve always faced dangers on the job, such as assault and sexual harassment, working in hotels now comes with the risk of coronavirus exposure every day.

“I think the pandemic has shined an overdue light on the invaluable front line and essential worker,” says Raeshawna Scott, general manager of the Kimpton Banneker Hotel, a boutique hotel opening in D.C. this spring.

[Our By The Way Concierge column will take your travel dilemmas to the experts to help you navigate the new normal. Submit your question here.]

According to hospitality experts like Scott, one way to show appreciation for those working in vulnerable service jobs is through tipping. However, that doesn’t happen as often as it should.

Wait, people are supposed to tip at hotels?

While most people know to tip at a restaurant, not everyone is aware of tipping etiquette at hotels.

Part of that — particularly when it comes to housekeeping employees — is because unlike servers or bartenders, a large portion of a hotel worker’s job goes on behind the scenes. You may not notice, but they are still serving you.

“You don’t necessarily see the individual, but certainly their services are felt,” Scott says.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, those services have changed, making many hotel employees’ workloads more stressful and dangerous.

David Coggins, New York Times best-selling author of the book “Men and Manners,” hopes that people staying at hotels during the pandemic will think of tipping from a moral standpoint, not just a protocol. He says travelers shouldn’t think of it as merely something to “get right,” but rather a show of appreciation and gratitude for someone putting themselves in harm’s way for you.

“I think we’re looking for a kind of human connection … with people who are doing very difficult work, who are very vulnerable,” Coggins says. “It definitely makes sense to leave a little bit extra in your room if you’re traveling.”

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