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Hotel housekeepers have to deal with unspeakable things that you’ve never even imagined (unless you’re someone who is frequently destroying hotel rooms, in which case, shame on you). They don’t get great compensation for it. It’s customary to leave housekeepers a few dollars as a thank you for their hard work cleaning up after you, but not everyone does.
Marriott International wants to change this, so they will be putting envelopes in all of their hotel rooms to encourage tipping. The initiative is being done in partnership with Maria Shriver’s A Woman’s Nation non-profit organization.
From The Washington Post:
Shriver said she got the idea for leaving envelopes in guest rooms after talking to housekeepers — and hotel guests — around the country. She approached Marriott executives with the concept about a year ago.
“I was talking to room attendants, who were overwhelmingly women, and they would tell me that people were pretty sophisticated about tipping the bellman or concierge, but they hadn’t been educated that they could leave a tip for a room attendant,” Shriver said in an interview. “There didn’t seem to be a general awareness that you could, or should, tip a room attendant.”
This all sounds great, at least on the surface. I agree 100% that housekeepers and other hotel employees should make more for their hard work. What I don’t agree with here is that this is putting all of the responsibility on to the hotel guest, rather than the hotel itself. Housekeepers should not have to rely on tips from guests. They should earn a fair wage for the hard work they do.
According to Marriott International’s 2013 financial report, “During 2013, we were pleased to return over $1 billion to our shareholders through dividends and share repurchases, the top end of our expectations for the year. In 2014 we could return an additional $1.25 billion to $1.5 billion to our shareholders.”
Marriott’s employees have helped the company be able to pay out these dividends and repurchase shares. Perhaps the company should recognize that and reward them with some of this money. I’d think a lot more of Marriott if they pledged to give their employees a good wage rather than asking the rest of us to do it, even if it meant that room rates went up by a couple of bucks as a result.