General Question

girlofscience's avatar

How much should you tip at a bed and breakfast?

Asked by girlofscience (7429 points ) March 8th, 2009

I always tip appropriately (at least 20% at restaurants, etc.).

According to this tipping etiquette guide, most bed and breakfasts in the US are family owned and do not request a tip or even specifically request that you do not tip. Ours, however, does request a tip. There is an envelope in the room that reads, “Thank you for your generous gratuity.”

According to that tipping etiquette guide, if the bed and breakfast does request a tip, they suggest following the same guidelines as tipping room service at a hotel. Under the hotel section, they say that you should tip 15–20% of the room charge.

We stayed here for one night, and our room was around $180. Does this mean we’re supposed to leave $36 in the envelope?! That seems really crazy… I don’t want to undertip and be viewed negatively and not welcome back here again.

We’re about to leave here in an hour or so, so prompt advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

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34 Answers

Lothloriengaladriel's avatar

$2 is a good amount..

girlofscience's avatar

@Lothloriengaladriel: Uh, no. I would never…

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I wouldn’t think you should tip on the whole amount. Perhaps the same as you would tip in a hotel for housekeeping, or estimate in a value for breakfast, etc. and calculate that into the amount as well. I’ve never stayed at a B&B and will be interested in your experiences.

bythebay's avatar

I leave $5. daily for housekeeping in a hotel; I’m assuming that what’s the envelope is for. If you stayed one night, tip for one night. I don’t think you’re tipping on the overall service/hospitality…that’s what you’re paying the $180. for.

girlofscience's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock: So is that really supposed to be 20% of the room charge?!

pekenoe's avatar

Why this obsession with tipping everyone anyway?? Employees that are generally underpaid and do a great job deserve a tip.

$180 seems like a fair amount for the owners. If the service was exceptional I would tip accordingly, ($5 or 10) if the service was average or below, no tip.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@girlofscience, I’m saying the same thing as bythebay. Usually at a hotel you leave $2—$5 for housekeeping per night, per person. I would assume at a B&B they may either have someone that comes in to make up the rooms other than the owners. You should not tip on the full amount. I think it’s a little presumptuous to leave an envelope for tipping.

bythebay's avatar

You do not tip the owners of a B&B, they receive the room fees. Usually if there is an envelope, it’s for housekeeping -which is performed by an outside service/employee…not the owners.

bythebay's avatar

sorry, Alfreda – didn’t mean to ditto you! :)

chyna's avatar

I googled this and it is what bythebay said. You are tipping the housekeeping which would be just $2 or $3.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I feel confident when you and I are on the same page, bythebay. :-)

girlofscience's avatar

Okay, cool. Thank you, everyone.

I wonder why that tipping etiquette page claims that you should tip room service at a hotel 15–20% of the room charge? It doesn’t seem like anyone follows that…

bythebay's avatar

“Room Service” as in food service, perhaps?
I travel a lot, and I’m a generous tipper. I’ve never heard of tipping on a room charge.

girlofscience's avatar

@bythebay: I mistyped, sorry. I meant that the page claims you should tip the housekeeping service 15–20% of the room charge. It does seem absurd.

bythebay's avatar

@girlofscience: The maid service would be VERY happy!

chyna's avatar

by the way, I’ve never been to one and would like to hear about it. Maybe when you get back home, you could let us know how it was, in the form of a question of course.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

I travel a ton and never leave a tip for the chamber maid unless I receive some extra-ordinary service. 15–20% of the room charge is ridiculous. At $180 for a night I think the owners should be able to pay their staff a living wage.

ubersiren's avatar

I agree with the $5 per day for housekeeping being about standard. Also, a nice touch is to strip the bed before you leave. It’s a free tip, but helps out and shows you’re appreciative.

casheroo's avatar

If they cooked and served you breakfast, and you don’t include a tip for that…that’s not cool. You tip for them serving you, and housekeeping. I’d say $10–15 is what I’d leave.

bythebay's avatar

@Sueanne_Tremendous: I have found (if I’m staying a few days), leaving the tip garners me extra-ordinary service. Sort of a pre-service tip.

mcbealer's avatar

I was an innkeeper at a B&B in ME, and the most guests ever left was in the neighborhood of $10. Usually, tips were left only by guests who stayed on for several nights.

marinelife's avatar

@girlofscience By room service, they mean the person who delivers food to your room when you order from room service. Tipping for that is the same range as for wait staff in a restaurant. Do note, however, that many hotels automatically assess a service charge (of 15% usually) added to your order. That is the room service delivery person’s gratuity. So check the bill before tipping or ask the server if their gratuity was included.

Mr_M's avatar

ABSOLUTELY! Look closely at the food service bill. In small print you may see that the tip IS included. And the room service waiter is NOT going to tell you. They get a lot of extra money that way.

aprilsimnel's avatar

In the US and Canada, I tip 15% of the bill for adequate service and 20% for outstanding service at places like salons, B&Bs and restaurants. Hotel cleaning staff is different. A couple of bucks to the baggage handler at the time of service, $5 per day to the cleaning staffer assigned to my room, but I don’t leave that until the end of my stay.

I’ve never stayed at hotels in Europe, so I don’t know what the protocol is for any of the countries there. In the UK, I rented a flat and didn’t tip at restaurants. I’m still not sure if I was being rude. In Australia, I stayed in private residences, and took my hosts out to dinner near the end of my stays.

Judi's avatar

I never heard of tipping 15–20% for hotels! I am sure those numbers are made up by the hotel workers association or something. I have never been considered cheap but that’s just crazy!

janbb's avatar

I concur with everyone. The envelope is for the cleaning staff and I would leave $5—$10 max. Maybe the guide means to tip !5–20% of the food bill for room service?

snelljune's avatar

I stay at a B&B who charges $7.00 for breakfast (homecooked and served up really nice.) Do I tip? No, because I’d pay less for just as good as a nearby nice restaurant. I don’t tip on the room, either – it’s run and cleaned by the couple who own the building – and it’s about double the cost of a hotel.

maggiemaye's avatar

I’m tempted to never tip when an envelope is left. That’s just an “in my face” money grab. However, that attitude isn’t helpful to the cleaning crew, which is who you are tipping. I tip $5.00 a day. Nothing if it’s the owners doing the work.

Aimosina's avatar

I am a B&B co-owner and innkeeper (and occasionally housekeeping).
Most guests do not tip me, but I SO appreciate those that do.
It is a draining 24/7 job. Yet the smile must stay on my face.
And my income is hardly enough for me to live on as a single person.

As for the housekeeping, definitely tip!
It is not just them bringing you a change of towels and making your bed.
They worked hard at preparing the room before you even arrived and then clean up from you when you leave.
I wish I could pay my ladies more.
A nice tip for a single is $5 a night.
Some people are more generous.
Then there are those that ruin the towels and sheets, leave the room a mess and no tip for the housekeeping.

I admit before I became an innkeeper, I only left a couple dollars and never thought twice.
Now, although I don’t have much extra myself, I always leave a generous tip for all service providers.

Hope that helps.

2muchinfo's avatar

I am a waitress so I generally tip well. However because I am a waitress I expect servers to be efficient and nice so if they are not I do not tip as well. All should know what tip stands for….
T.I.P.S. to insure prompt service. Many servers expect tips so they do not work to get them. As far as Bed & Breakfast owners, I do not feel they should be tipped unless they are preparing and serving you a meal. If you pay additional for that meal than the tip should be 20% of that meal. If it’s included in the price of the room then one should guess on the higher side what the cost would be then tip on that. After all B&B owners get the whole cost and that is a life they choose whether its hard work or not. Saying how exhausting it is for a reason on needing a tip for someone who is already over paying for a room to give you business is a crock. McDonalds workers are under paid and over worked and definitely do not make enough for a living but I don’t see anyone tipping them. If someone left an envelope on a night stand that said “thanks for the generous tip” I wouldn’t leave anything. How would they like it if I handed them their bill at my restaurant with an envelope that said the same thing?

Woiyvonne's avatar

I will preface this by saying that I am an innkeeper and owner of a large B&B. We have 12 guest rooms here, so we have staff to serve meals and clean rooms. Just like others have said, my own “tip” is the profit on the room and I don’t expect guests to tip me, even when I am the one to cook and serve them a meal or clean their room. I pay my housekeepers and servers a reasonable wage. They take pride in their work. We encourage them to go beyond just cleaning the rooms and provide thoughtful extra touches to our guests whenever possible. Due to the personal nature of their services, a tip is both appropriate and appreciated. When asked, we suggest $5 per room per day for good service, more if someone has given them extra service. Many of our guests are like the person who asked the original question – uncertain about whether to tip and how much. While I don’t like tip envelopes myself and won’t use them in my inn, they do eliminate at least half of that question, and perhaps educate some guests who would otherwise have no idea that they perhaps should at least consider leaving a tip.

No_Slacker's avatar

I work as the guest services manager, housekeeper, and personal assistant to the owner of the b&b, I make $250 per week salary. I have been left tips 5 times in the past year, because the guests, in error, believe that a small b&b with high volume return clientele either pays top salaries to the workers or pays us a gratuity from the room reservations, but that is not how it works here.
I am very thankful to see the $5 plus change tip after a weeks’ stay when I enter the room after the guests have left, and for those that leave a $20.00 tip, I remember that they tipped genously and when I see that they are returning, I try to make sure to provide added extras for them in the room, a bottle of wine, special blend coffee, etc.

Most of our clientele are return guests who return yearly or twice a year. I am the one who verifies when they will be arriving, how many sets of keys are needed, and I am the one who greets them at the door and I am the contact person should they have any questions, needs, or problems, though the owner lives on site, (I do not). I can only tell you from experience that the extra $20.00 in a week sometimes makes the difference of whether I have to borrow money from a utility bill to fill my gas tank or not to get to and from work for the week. Thank you, and safe and enjoyable travels to all of you!

As the guest services person, I am thankful for any and all tips, and I am always attentive and thankful for any suggestions that the clientele have to share so that I can work to make there visits even better the next time around.

Judi's avatar

$250 a week? That’s not even minimum wage is it?

Innkeeperfreemason's avatar

I am a innkeeper and I do not own the inn… But I’m a one person show and depending on the service you have had
I think people should tip at your own generosity .. We work hard and it’s always nice to have a great tip in the room and a amazing comment to share with future guests

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