"I typically do not leave a tip"

Oh wait! "Going forward, I will tip..." (This will make more sense in context.) Also, 7 other things worth your time

How much should you tip? I’ve been thinking about this question recently.

As a younger person, I always thought restaurant tips were supposed to be 15%. More recently, it seems that’s increased to 20%. This is fine by me, since it’s easier to calculate 20% anyway.

Hotels are tougher. I tip, of course, but I’ve never understood whether a cash tip left on the last day of a hotel stay goes to the housekeeper who happened to be lucky enough to clean the room last, or whether it’s shared among all housekeeping staff.

Also, I wish more hotels would let you add a tip on your credit card at the end of a stay instead of leaving cash on a nightstand. That seems like common sense in 2021.

Now, I’m going to pick up on this discussion in a second, but I have (ironically) a housekeeping item or two to mention first.

I’m temporarily back home, but I’ll be running Understandably on something of a summer schedule for a bit longer.

For one thing, I have some more short trips coming up, plus I’m taking the time to write a new and improved “uBook” (or should I call these “Ubooks?”). This one will be be free for paid members, at the very least.

Plus, I’m working on a few other “future of Understandably” projects; I think you’ll like what’s coming. Thus, we’ll be continuing this mix of brand new and “greatest hits” content through the day after Labor Day.

With that, let’s pull together the threads of Bill’s work and vacation habits, housekeeping, and tipping.

Two years ago, while I was on another vacation with my family, I wound up (as I always seem to) writing articles, columns, and newsletters in whatever spare minutes I could find.

I remember sitting in our hotel room writing one such article while my wife took a shower and my daughter played with toys. I heard the housekeeping staff vacuuming outside.

This was fitting, since I was writing about a report (originally on The Points Guy) that the CEO of Hilton Worldwide had announced at a big industry conference that he doesn’t tip hotel housekeepers.

His argument was that everyone at Hilton works hard, and that “[r]ather than selectively reward some Team Members, he is focused on providing meaningful economic opportunities for all 400,000 Team Members.”

Still, it’s not a great look, right?

"I typically do not leave a tip," CEO Christopher Nassetta had said at the conference, in response to a question from host Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Now, there’s a great case to be made that tips are an antiquated and unfair way to compensate workers. For one thing, if guests are expected to tip, employers get away with paying less than what would otherwise be the market rate.

Plus, industry workers are subject to the capriciousness or forgetfulness or even trolling of less-generous customers. Or, even worse, they’re left at the mercy of flat-out sexist, racist, or just plain mean people.

That’s how we get things like this:

However, advocating that the system overall should be changed is one thing; lodging a one-person protest against it is another, especially when you're the CEO of a giant hotel chain.

(By the way, the American Hotel & Lodging Association suggests leaving "$1 to $5 a night" for housekeepers.)

Anyway, early on the morning after my article was published, while I think I was walking to get breakfast for my wife and daughter before we headed out to a day at the beach, I heard from someone in the PR department at Hilton.

The next thing I knew, I had a brand-new statement from the Hilton CEO, reading in part:

"Going forward, I will tip when traveling for both work and personal travel. Nothing is more important to me than Hilton's culture and team members, especially our housekeepers, who are central to delivering Hilton hospitality around the world."

Anyway, I’m sure you already do tip, and that you’re generous, patient customers.

With that in mind, I’d be interested to learn in the comments how much you tip, whether you’ve ever worked in jobs where tips are a big part of compensation, and how it affects your thoughts as a customer.

And while we’re at it: Got any other CEO behaviors you want me to write about?

I don’t know if I can take 100% of the credit for the change of heart here ... but it seems as if it can’t hurt!

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Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Zachary Long on Flickr. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.