I agree with Tommo781. I travel allot and have made Marriott my first choice (but as some long time posters know, I have made it less so in the last year). Why I won't use the envelope can be best described by a 6 night stay last week at a renaissance property (location left off purposely). Hung my towels on the rack to re use, they were changed 5 of the 6 days. My toiletries were haphazardly replaced (some days, no shampoo, some days no hand cream, etc) each day. The bed was changed every day even though I had placed the card that they didn't need to do so (and the card was placed on the top of the pillow each morning and then was on the nightstand each evening). I reported all of these items each day to the front desk who promised me they would talk to housekeeping. I guess the message didn't get to them or they chose to keep doing business as usual. I wish this was a unique experience, but it seems to be typical of my stays (in many different cities, US and Internationally) and across a variety of the Marriott brands (JW. Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph). So until I see something that warrants such a gratuity, I will refrain from giving them, just as I do for Taxi's, waiters and others who just go thru the motions and dont seem to do anything other than extend their hand for payment for a basic level of service. When I get great service, the gratuity is given generously, when it's not, I do the minimum to nothing depending on the situation. I just think that Marriott is having issues holding onto housekeeping staff, so they shifted the burden onto the guests and so now, we can look like we are cheap or dont care if we leave the envelope empty. Am I wrong?
As a fellow road warrior, I agree with many positions about the practice of tipping housekeeping staff. I always travel with cash for my expenses that are not business related including tipping. As I heard about this story yesterday I began thing about what is above and beyond service? It starts with check in, is the room clean and ready for my stay? When I am out of the room is it ready when I get back to hotel? Recently (yesterday) I ended a six day trip I stayed in two Marriott properties and had the same bad experience, left the room at 7:00am returned at 8:00pm and the room was not serviced. I called the front desk because I needed towels,. which were brought up an hour later. Marriott needs to figure out their staffing and scheduling issues as this was the reason the front desk gave me for the lack of service. I know the envelopes are to serve as a reminder but they can also remind customers of the short comings of the staff and is it really the housekeepers fault or the general manager not knowing what his staff is capable of doing from day to day. When I was in college I worked in the service industry and it was a low paying thankless job. For every one good tip I EARNED, there were 10 bad or non tips. I strived to be the best I could be because I never knew when the next good tip would come in. Marriott needs to look internally at their business model and raise wages, promote safety and not look to road warriors and other customers to solve their issues. I tend to over tip at times for good service but I am not going to tip the bartender for keeping the ice cubes cold or a housekeeper for doing the basic essential functions of their job description. Shame on Marriott and Maria Shriver
A terrific (and not surprisingly controversial) topic...
Of course, much of this ground has been covered before - folks should also check out these posts, among others:
My last stay was in a room that was short of supplies. I was ready to get in the shower and there were no washcloths so as opposed to calling and waiting no telling how long, I used a hand towel. It was not that easy to wash using a heavy wet hand towel. This has happened more than once in the past. Yes. This is bringing things like this to our attention. As I said before, we are being forced to make a management decision on tipping as opposed to just having Marriott take care of it so I can just enjoy my stay.
Although I make a regular consistent practice of tipping all hotel service staff I find the concept of the envelopes to be very offputting. The tip is something that I give personally to an individual who is providing direct assistance or service to my benefit. For the highly profitable Marriott organization to inject themselves into this personal transaction I find to be inappropriate. If the Marriott organization thinks that their guests should be paying more for services then I suggest Marriott perform a study regarding service staffs' tip incomes and accordingly increase rates and increase its wages for all of its service providers from the bell staff to concierge to housekeeping. And then Marriott should publish that it is taking the lead as the first "no tips" hotel chain and that no tips are expected from their guests because Marriott is paying higher than the standard rate for their service staff adjusted for the researched tip income in lieu of tips.
I have a lot of compassion for housekeeping and indeed anyone who works hard for a low wage, however I do agree with others who have opined that the room purchase should include a clean room, period. There is no above and beyond in terms of cleanliness, really. Clean is clean. We all pretty much know what a clean room means ('disinfected' is often not readily identifiable, but 'clean' pretty much is, and not meaning to split hairs.) So with that in mind, I don't think I need to tip the housekeeper for doing the job requirement of providing me as a guest a clean room, and just being completely honest. I don't tip the person behind the counter at a Mickey D's or In N Out, and they work hard at a low wage too (and why do I see tip jars at Starbucks and other walk-up type places and even the Donut store?) and I expect them to take my order correctly, my money, return change and fill the order, to do the job that they get paid to do (funded by the prices that I pay).
If housekeeping does anything extra for me, anything at all - no matter how small - that requires any kind of interaction, whether personal face-to-face, or through a written request, and given that it's not something that should've been provided to begin with, like californian's absent wash cloths, then I tip them. And honestly, sometimes if the schedule is hectic and I don't have the cash on hand, I am truly sorry to say that they don't get tipped (so the cash thing is hit and miss, and another arguement for being able to put it on the bill, just like extra expenses in the restaurant or the CL.)
So I don't think they should necessarily be tipped just because they are employed and perform their duties to a standard level according to the expected terms of their employment. I hope I'm not wrong about this, mean isn't something I strive towards.
To muddy the waters, has anyone noticed that room service puts a 20% service charge on the room service bill? The first time I noticed it, I asked the server what it was and if it went to him. He replied, 'No, it's a hotel charge that the hotel keeps.' So I tip 20% on top of that, amounting to 40% in service fees/gratuities for room service. Is this right?
Someone on Flyertalk decided to contact the 2 people listed in the Marriott press release re: the initiative. Am posting his email since he posted it openly on FT so it's not sharing a private email & not everyone here is on FT. Will be interesting to see if he gets a response from them. He obviously feels pretty strongly about it. Agree or disagree I have to give him credit that a) he's letting them know; b) taking his bizness elsewhere (walking his talk). A lot of people kvetch on bulletin boards but that's all.
"The below letter was emailed to the two media contacts for the Marriott " Envelope program"
I would encourage others who feel as I do to reach out to them and let them know how misguided this is and that it will be exposed for what it really is!
It is somewhat sad and definitely pathetic that "A woman's nation" would support the latest effort to shift an honest days pay from the employer and on to hotel guest.
Marriott on the other hand should be ashamed outright but, in nothing more then a blatant attempt to shift the expenses from a company that netted over 1.7B in profit last year for its housekeeping staff to the guests whom are already increasingly getting nickeled and dimed with every stay.
The net result is this...
The guests are livid. I am an Marriott Rewards Platinum guest who stays at least 75-100 nights a year and control over 1000 room nights a year with my staff. We are effective Oct 1st, 2014 until this misguided campaign ends going to book away from any Marriott branded and affiliated properties. Your loss is going to be Hyatt, Starwood and Hiltons gain.
We are not the only ones. We suggest you start reading the frequent traveller message boards and blogs. This campaign and its efforts to further nickle and dime guests with housekeepers not being adequately compensated is going to cost Marriott real dollars from the most frequent travellers.
The fact that the media has been supplied with patently false information by your campaign is even worse. Here is a hint, It is not a societal norm to tip housekeeping staff when only 1 of 14 rooms left a tip according to a recent article. That actually would prove that tipping is the exception.
A more relevant fact is that MOST companies (ie over 50%) do NOT reimburse cash tips and at least 70% including most fortune 500s have hard limits on tipping that do not cover the already mandated valet, bellman and lounge attendants so this cost is born by the actual traveller.
Lastly, Based on the cleanliness of many of the rooms I have stayed at in 4 and 5 star hotels leaves a lot to be desired and is NOT exceptional service.
Tips are for exceptional service not another form of corporate welfare on the traveler's expense.
Hopefully, you will soon see how truly misguided this campaign is and remedy this decision before it hurts your respective organizations. Meanwhile myself and many others will be working together to create a campaign of our own to expose this horrid corporate welfare program and the misguided efforts of a "Woman's Nation" to short change the hard working housekeeping staff at Marriott properties.
We will be making ourselves available to media outlets, buying media space and going to social media to ensure this program and its accomplices are exposed for the heartless and greedy corporate goons and naive social groups that are working to active disenfranchise the working American housekeepers who are just trying to make it.
Oh and by the way, I am one of the ones who does tip for "Good or Exceptional Service" but, I am not going to be browbeat into doing so.
On a dif note, another FTer had this perspective about the new initiative:
"Bottom line, this announcement has nothing to do with Marriott's bottom line. This was a deal to grab some left-wing brownie points by partnering with Maria Shriver. If it has the intended effect, getting Maria Shriver followers to stay at Marriott, then good for Marriott, but this announcement was a marketing plan, not a business plan."
Speaking for myself, sometimes I tip/sometimes I don't. I tend to tip if it's more an above & beyond situation, as I'm pretty neat. If I'm in the room when they come I usually tell them to just make the bed & not bother vacuuming. If I do tip, I do it daily vs. end of trip so that the proper housekeeper gets the $$.
I absolutely hate the idea of having tipping forced/foisted upon me. If I want to tip, I'll tip. But that's between me and the housekeeper. Having the hotel chain that I voluntarily give money to "encourage" me to subsidize their staffs' wages leaves a very sour taste in my mouth.
There are too many industries that rely on tipping as a means to shore up the sub-standard wages they pay their staff. I'm not going to support Marriott dragging part of the hotel industry down this same path.
If I was the Marriott I would thank this person for their years of patronage and then terminate any corporate rates and rewards earned from this company.
I still can't figure out how people have an issue with this program (other than I think most people are ignorant or from a foreign country with different customs).
The rule in the US is to tip the person who cleans your room. Since most people are not doing this, the Marriott is helping out their employees by providing an envelope as a suggestion. This isn't a mandatory item, or a way for the Marriott to pay any less, it is to help these specific employees who you do not normally see doing their work (which is a good thing). The mailman/newspaper delivery/gardner leave tip envelopes because you don't see them do their work either. Is this any different?
If you don't carry any cash or your company doesn't reimburse, that is no excuse. If you think your the cleanest person ever to stay at a Marriott, that is no excuse either (tipping less is better than not at all if you don't use the bathroom and slept on the floor).
If you tip your barista a dollar for a $4 coffee that is a 25% tip for seconds of work. How can a dollar a day (which is probably 1% or less average to the cost of the room) be any issue????
As someone noted in Flyertalk, just because a tip envelope is there doesn't mean one has to use it, just like they don't have to use the bible, the in-room safe, the mini-bar, pizza coupons, etc. Tipping is voluntary, envelope or not.
Having Marriott tout this initiative might have the possible short-term effect of housekeeping thinking that everyone is going to start tipping, but I think they'll discover it's really like it's always been. Those who are inclined to tip will do so. Those who aren't won't.
You are welcome and entitled to your opinion. But when other peoples opinions differ from yours, you are NOT, repeat NOT, entitled to say "I still can't figure out how people have an issue with this program (other than I think most people are ignorant or from a foreign country with different customs)." I find that totally, utterly offensive.
Your comment "If you think your the cleanest person ever to stay at a Marriott, that is no excuse either (tipping less is better than not at all if you don't use the bathroom and slept on the floor)" is clearly aimed at me because I said I could see no reason to tip when I never need cleaning up after.
You have no right at all to judge me or other MRIs, and I have reported your post as abuse.
I seriously doubt Marriott is going to drop someone who is responsible for 1,000 revenue room nights/year.
What is this "rule in the US" that says to tip the person who cleans your room? I've been traveling for many years at all chains & I've never seen a "rule". Cite? You may have an opinion re: tipping the housekeeper, but AFAIK there is no ironclad "rule in the US" that housekeeping is to be tipped daily.
BTW - given that postal carriers are not legally allowed to accept tips you might want to find a better analogy.
As of late, it seems that there have been issues with even Marriott rooms and hotels being just basic level clean.
No one in life gets ahead for just showing up. Many of us here are accomplished in life and careers(former careers) and we did not reach the top of our professions/businesses by getting compensated/awarded when we only did what was necessary. I am all for the tip envelops, but I do not think housekeepers should be tipped for just showing up.