February 25, 2009

How-To Guide for Tipping at a Convention Hotel

by Elizabeth O'Malley, AnimeCons Writer

When you travel to a hotel for a convention, there will be many people who will help you with many things such as getting you there, helping you with bags, and cleaning up your mess you leave in the room. These services often merit a tip, but sometimes figuring out who to tip and how much can be confusing. This tipping guide will help you.

General Tipping Etiquette

Be sure to keep some one dollar bills handy throughout your stay for tipping hotel employees. Make they are readily available so you're not searching for them. Also, do not ask for change when giving a tip, as that creates an awkward situation. Check with the hotel to see if they have any specific tipping policies.

If you feel your service was substandard, you are not obligated to give a tip. However, if someone goes out of their way for you, give them a little extra.

This guide is for the United States. If you are going to a foreign country, be sure to check out what their tipping etiquette is, as customs are different from country to country.

How Much to Tip

Taxis: 15-20% of total fare, plus $1 per bag if the driver helps you with them.

Shuttles: $1-$2 per person when you arrive at the hotel, more if you have a lot of bags.

Valet: $1-$2 when your car is returned, no need when dropping car off.

Doorman: $1-$2 for hailing a taxi, $1-$2 per bag he helps carry. No need for tipping when he opens the door, just smile and say thank you. However, if you are there for awhile and he has been courteous and helpful, give him a couple dollars at the end of your stay.

Bellman: $1-2 per bag if he brings them to your room. When storing bags do not tip, then when picking them up tip $1-$2 per bag.

Concierge: Not needed for restaurant recommendations or directions, $5 for getting tickets or a reservation ($10 if they were hard to get).

Housekeeping: $1-$2 per person per night, more if you make a huge mess and the room is cleaned well. It's a good idea to tip daily, especially if staying for a few nights, as the same maid may not clean your room every night of your stay. If you wait until you check out, you might be giving a week of tips to someone who only cleaned your room once. Leave the tip in an obvious place, in an envelope labeled Housekeeping.

Room Service: Most hotels add a gratuity charge of 15-25% automatically onto the bill, so be sure to check. Tipping extra is okay, especially if the person delivering sets up your food nicely.

Coat Check: $1-$2 per coat.

Maintenance: Not required for fixing anything in the room.

Item Requests: $1-$2 for small items per items such as towels and pillows, at least $3 for larger items such as blankets and rollaway beds.

Restaurants: 15% for adequate service, 20% for great service, 10% for poor service. If you have a large group of people the restaurant may automatically add a gratuity to the bill (usually 18%). Add more if the service was excellent. For buffet style restaurants, tip $2 per person, more for great service.

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