A tip for Marriott: pay your housekeepers better

You know how hotels keep adding extra charges, like resort fees, housekeeping fees and energy surcharges? Marriott International, Inc. has come up with a new way to pick your pocket.

Apparently Marriott thinks its housekeepers deserve to make more. But it doesn’t want to pay them more. So it announced today that it is initiating a program under which some of its hotels will be placing envelopes in rooms, encouraging guests to leave tips.

Marriott will be the first partner in the program, called The Envelope Please, an initiative of A Woman’s Nation, founded by Maria Shriver.

Maria Shriver, Founder of A Woman's Nation, initiator of The Envelope Please

Maria Shriver, Founder of A Woman’s Nation, initiator of The Envelope Please

“The Envelope Please was born from having conversations with women I’ve met who have taken care of my room during hotel stays. Their stories of hard work and perseverance inspired and informed me,” Shriver said.

Starting this week, Marriott will place envelopes in more than 160,000 guest rooms at participating Marriott-managed hotels in the U.S. and Canada.

In a news release, Marriott noted that The American Hotel and Lodging Association, a trade association, suggests tipping housekeepers between $1 and $5 per night, and recommends tipping daily rather than at the end of a stay to ensure that the money goes to the person cleaning the room each day, who is paid by the hour.


Maids and housekeepers earned a median salary of $19,780, or approximately $9.51 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hourly pay can vary depending on the location and quality of a hotel.

Marriott says on its job applications that: (1) A Marriott housekeeper generally starts out earning around minimum wage; (2) Pay rates for housekeepers may increase over time; and (3) On average, a Marriott housekeeper earns $10.00 per hour.

The likely result of this new tip policy will be increased income for some housekeepers, but don’t be too quick to praise Marriott for its public-spirited generosity, because the program won’t cast the hotel chain a dime. Instead, it will be one more hidden fee, although a voluntary one.

So here’s a tip for Marriott. If you really care about what your housekeepers are making, pay them more.

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