You already know that operating and maintaining a small hotel is lots of work. A great bit more than it seemed when you first thought about investing in your retirement by buying rental property.

  • You are swamped with work to maintain your property
  • Housekeepers steal from you
  • Guests can leave rooms a mess

Not to mention:

  • payroll
  • taxes
  • inspections
  • …and more

Wouldn't it be great if you could motivate the people you rely on for help, to do more? Specifically, your housekeeping staff.

"Housekeeping is an important part of the guest experience," says Werner Knechtli, general manager at the Radisson SAS Hotel in Berlin. "Other things such as security are important, but what guests really want is to feel at home, to feel comfortable." hotelmanagementnetwork


If your housekeepers did more.

On average, hotel housekeepers with 5 years experience, make $22,000 per year, according to

That's hardly a living wage. How much motivation would you have to do a fantastic job at that rate?

Consider this…

Most housekeepers are paid hourly plus in-room tips. Their income is out of their control. Relying, in large part, on the whims of tourists who frequently don’t leave a tip, or only tip on the last day of a week long vacation. The housekeeper who has taken great care of your guests all week often misses out on their bonus. And often times, they forget, even when prompted by your tip envelope.

Additionally, the tipping transaction is cumbersome. It places the burden and additional stress on your guests, even causing arguments. And we all know that’s the last thing we want to give a guest on vacation.

The conversation goes like this:
“What do we tip?”
“I don’t know…”
“How ‘bout five bucks?”
“Five bucks!?”
“Well, I don’t know…”

The truth is less and less people leave tips. Shorting the people responsible for making the biggest impression of your hotel.
Conde Nast Travler, Money, Woman's Day.

Here’s my suggestion to pay your staff a more motivational wage at no additional expense to you.

Take a Position Against In-room Tipping

  • Take a firm position in your hotel that your staff doesn’t accept in-room tipping.
  • Instead, have management offer tipping towards the end of a stay.
  • This will elevate tipping and show that you work together to bring your guests an excellent vacation.
  • Direct requests for tips will increase tipping amounts and ensure they are not forgotten.
  • Management distributes all the tips appropriately.

With this approach you will create a larger sense of pride in your hotel.
Guests will feel like they are contrubiting to a larger, common good.

How to pay your housekeepers for motivation

Pay your housekeepers like a sales person.

  • Start with a base salary.
  • Add commissions for guest satisfaction and positive comments.
  • Tip collection must be transparent to maintain trust.

Why it works

A ban on in-room tipping is largely a marketing strategy for your independent hotel. In a highly commoditized marketplace you need to set your hotel apart.

The supermarket chain, Publix sets themselves apart by including carry out service and flaunting badges, “No tipping please. Carry out is part of our service.”

Your hotel can also set itself apart and create guest loyalty by going against conventions to make vacations even better.

  • Taking a position against in-room tipping sets you apart from other hotels.
  • It takes the burden off guests to decide when and what to tip
  • Increases tip income
  • Helps you pay housekeepers more
  • Shows your guests you work together as a team, by supporting the common good.
  • Read more about the motivations of menials here.
  • It makes record keeping easier. Eliminating the need for Form 4070A.

  • Housekeeping will be motivated by bonuses
  • They also know that you are working for their interest

Different. Or Not.

The relationship between hotel guest and housekeeper is often fraught with challenges. Guest complaints about housekeeping reflect on their income and housekeeping income is linked to their motivation to present your hotel in the best light possible. Often times this becomes a loose, loose proposition. From a management standpoint, this becomes a difficult way to operate.

There’s a better way to do business – one that can be used to improve your marketing position and have an impact on the overall impression guests have about your hotel. It may not be the standard method of operation, but this method can create leadership, internally and externally.

About the Author

Many times small changes in focus can promote a remarkable amount stability and consistent booking.

If your hotel is hurting from a lack of consistent guests and you're ready to talk about adjusting your marketing focus, contact me for a free 45 minute strategy session.

My mission is to help small hoteliers remove the uncertanty of operating an independent hotel so that you too can take a vacation.

Schedule a FREE, no strings attached, call with me, Darren Farris, at (727) 537-9802

Contact Darren here

Hi, I'm Darren

I turn smart, independent hoteliers
into damn smart, no-vacancy,
guest booking machines, who take
their own vacations too!

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