To Tip or Not to Tip… That’s the B&B Question

Unmade bed with creamy linens, open hard cover book and decorative pillows

“Can we leave a tip for your housekeeper? I always leave a tip in a hotel, but I don’t know what the protocol is, here.”

What a kind and thoughtful inquiry. It’s hard to judge, isn’t it? How many of you leave a tip when staying in a hotel? According to Emily Post, many people don’t tip housekeepers in hotels. I don’t feel compelled to tip if there are major housekeeping issues with the room, but when I can see that staff is dedicated to keeping our room clean, I definitely leave a tip. We just stayed in a lovely suite in a hotel in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. We left daily tips because we didn’t know which housekeepers would be taking care of us each day, but sometimes I’ve left one housekeeping tip at the front desk at the end of the week, leaving it to the Housekeeping Supervisor to sort it all out.

Would I do the same in a Bed & Breakfast? Should you? The answer is… there’s no easy answer. Here’s why: Not every Bed & Breakfast hires housekeepers. In some cases, housekeeping is an owner/innkeeper responsibility, and room rates should be set to cover the time and expense. (It could be compared to tipping the owner of a beauty salon.) In other cases, housekeepers are workers hired and dedicated to that specific work.

I don’t like sweeping and dusting, but I love having a clean house! I’m determined to have the highest cleanliness rating possible in our reviews. To do that, I am committed to hiring the most dedicated and determined workers to keep Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast clean and well-presented. I pay for that service, although I’m first to admit that I can’t afford to pay our housekeeper what her effort is worth. She was hired at one rate, with regular increases until we hit the projected cap. She is paid well above minimum wage, but I actually told her at that time that she needed to slow down a bit. I couldn’t pay her the amount per hour that would honor how hard she was working and how much she was accomplishing. She has a more relaxed approach, now, but is still very committed to maintaining our high service standards.

I said all that to say this: our housekeeper is a hard worker. She is determined to spend the time needed to do her job and do it well. She spends approximately one hour per suite when “turning the suites” between guests – changing linens, cleaning the bathroom, dusting and vacuuming, with regularly scheduled “deep cleaning” projects. Additional hours are spent on the common areas and the rest of the house. When guests are in-house, she “refreshes” suites, changing out towels, making the bed, removing used coffee cups, taking out the trash, etc., based on guest preferences. She also manages the common areas like the guest buffet on a daily basis. Our guests know that she’s the one that can provide an extra set of towels, additional toiletries and specialty coffee or creamer.

So… why should you tip her?

Rolled and folded white towels

– She does the dirty work.

– She always has a smile, no matter how big the mess.

– She knows where things are hidden, whether it’s a spare blanket or decaf coffee, and she can locate it for you.

– She is the finder of things left behind.

– Tipping recognizes the value of her position.

– It lets her know that her hard work is appreciated.


I’m not trying to guilt you into tipping our housekeeper. As I said, we attempt to pay her a fair wage and we offer perks, when possible. However, when Chris asked me this morning about leaving a tip, it was a heartfelt question. He truly wanted to know whether or not it’s appropriate to leave a housekeeping tip in our Bed & Breakfast. In my opinion, it is, especially if you’re used to tipping in hotels. If you think our housekeeper does a great job, we’d be pleased to have you let her know.

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