Marriott International is working with Maria Shriver, head of the nonprofit A Woman’s Nation, to put tip envelopes in hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms across all of its brands.
The initiative is called The Envelope Please and besides taking the confusion out of where to leave a couple bucks, it reminds guests that it’s “customary” to tip room attendants.
It seems many hotel guests may need the reminder; an ABC News story discussing the initiative pointed to Jessica Lynn Strosky who earns $7.75 an hour cleaning rooms at a non-Marriott hotel in Pennsylvania, who says she’s lucky to get $20 a week in tips.
Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson suggests that housekeepers might be tipped less frequently because, unlike bellhops, valets, and waiters, they’re largely invisible to guests. If you’re not sure how much you’re supposed to tip, Sorenson continues by suggesting “$1 to $5 per night…with more for a high-priced suite.”
Source: Beth J. Harpaz. “Envelopes in Marriott Hotels Invite Tips for Maids.” ABC News, Sep. 15, 2014.
Wait a second…
I don’t want to connect the dots for them, but would it be too simple an answer for Marriott to just pay their employers better?
To be clear, I tip plenty in situations that call for it, but I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I think tipping is a pretty silly system for restaurants to rely on to compensate servers — in no small part because in practice, a server’s appearance has a much bigger impact on their tip than quality of service.
But I think this story really drives the point home for why we should be wary; rather than take responsibility, Marriott seems to be shifting the onus to us, the customers, to ensure their employees are paid enough to live comfortably.
And, in case you’re wondering, Marriott booked $1.7 billion in profit in 2013.