09/17/2014 12:47 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

My Rules for Tipping


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 they were not very good. I think my mother could have written most 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, consider leaving 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.

This first appeared on