Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stay at Hotels Much?

I've been working at a local hotel for close to four years, I just put in my two weeks notice (I'm a bit too busy to keep this job anymore, although the real reason I'm quitting rhymes with danagerial blupidity) and would feel remiss if I didn't share some insights with you beloved Provonian readers on some Hotel stays dos and don'ts.

1. Sign it to my room!

It's amazing to me how many people don't know how to sign a charge to their room, or how to be able to such a thing, and maybe in the movies a leading man will tell a faceless waiter 'put it to the room', but in real life it's a tiny bit more complex.

First of all, in order to sign to your room a credit card has to be on file. So when you check in and they ask for a card, just GIVE them one. They don't want to steal any money from you, they just need it for your charges and if you kill and cook a goat in your room.

So once you have a credit card on file, all you need to do to sign to your room (for instance if you eat breakfast in the restaurant) is fill out the lines on your receipt that look like this.

Signature _______________

Gratuity (Don't forget this!) ______________

Room # _________________

Printed Name ______________

Just fill this out, and presto! The breakfast will be charged to your room. You don't have to drop the check at the cashier, you don't have to check with the waiter that you did it right, you don't have to give your card again. If you have a card on file, just fill that bad boy out and LEAVE BABY, LEAVE!

DON'T: Fill out the receipt and then give us a credit card. If you want to charge your meal to a separate card than the one on file then GIVE the card to your server, and fill out the credit card receipt s/he gives you. Nothing gives away faster that you're a little green at this hotel thing than filling out the receipt and then giving a card and having to fill out the receipt again.

2. "Is gratuity included with this?"

All, and I mean ALL room service orders have an auto gratuity on them. ALL OF THEM. Some are 20%, some are 15% some might be more or less.

MOST room service orders have a 'delivery' or 'service charge' on them that's usually 1 to 3 dollars.

The server gets the gratuity and the hotel gets the service charge. Any extra gratuity you put on the order will go to the server.

Room service is expensive and the food is usually marginal, but it is completely worth it 1) After a long day and you just want to eat and go to bed 2) you check in late and have no idea where else to get food and 3) for the kids (Kids LOVE room service).

Because room service is expensive, more than most people thought it would be when they ordered it (Think about it, the price of the food + service charge + auto gratuity + tax) sometimes they get a big knot in their throat when they see the burger and fries they just ordered is 14.95, and they ask 'is your gratuity in here' which means 'I don't want to tip you anymore, is that okay?'


Most servers will lie, or tell a sort of lie. 'I spilt it with the hotel' is a common one, and it's not an outright lie. Servers DON'T get the service charge, but do get the gratuity. So they are, sort of, splitting it with the hotel.

Listen, if you're completely strapped for cash, or the server is a bit rude or the food took longer than it was suppose to, feel no pressure to add gratuity. They already have some.

BUT, if the server is great, and the food was fast, put a couple of extra bucks on (please see section one on how to sign a charge to your room). If you're away on business and planning to eat room service multiple nights you'll notice how much better your service is after you've given the kid an extra five bucks two nights in a row.

Also, if you call down for a toothbrush, or a sewing kit or extra sweet & low and somebody runs it up to you, tip that person at LEAST two dollars. I can't tell you how many times I've run up plates or forks or something and the person opens the door, swipes the goods, says 'Thanks!' and slams the door in my face. Most servers make two dollars an hour. How about a little something for the effort, huh?


  1. Sweet. This will come in handy in 10 years when I stay in a hotel again.

    The last time (and also the first time) I did was three years ago. We stayed at the Peery Hotel in Salt Lake, this cool historic old building, and we ordered room service for breakfast. I got the eggs benedict, and it was actually really good. It is amazing how luxurious you feel just by having breakfast delivered to your room. And a newspaper! Don't you worry, Tone, I gave that waiter a generous tip.

  2. I failed to tip a front-desk girl once who brought me some forgotten toiletries. Sorry, Tone. Although, she did mess up with the computer when I was checking in, and told me that my reservation was lost and that I would have to find accommodations elsewhere, leading me on a 2 hour wild goose chase through Providence (after roughly 12 hours of plane and car travel), until, back at the airport, I found one of the people I was sharing the room with and he came back to the hotel with me to straighten them out. I guess I should have tipped her. I should have punched her in the throat. "There's my tip," I could have said.

    Huh, I'm still a little bitter about that front desk mistake. It cost me a nap. I love to nap.

  3. You owed her nothing, NOTHING! Once someone jacks you they owe you ALL KINDS OF FREE STUFF! They should have BEGGED ON THEIR HANDS AND KNEES for your forgiveness and given you free breakfast and parking.

    Seriously though, a mistake that big, a hotel should roll out ye' old red carpet for and kiss your buttocks until your not the least bit mad anymore.

    Not tipping her was merely the first thing you were entitled to.

  4. Tone,

    Gil here. I stay in quite a few hotels and didn't realize that the server actually gets the gratuity on room service. And that one should tip deliveror for forgotten forks.

    I usually tip 10-15% on top of the bill, making me rarely ever get room service to cut costs(think about it, I'm adding up to 30% to the price!).

    So I'm glad that I can tip less, with confidence.

    My latest hotel nightmare (I'll add onto Aaron's story): Staying at the Hudson Hotel and they lost my luggage and don't answer their concierge phone. 3 hours later, I'm dripping wet in a towel and trying to put on my undies. I whip out my...cell phone and call the hotel. They don't answer. I call central management who answers and relays a message to the hotel who relays a message to the bellhop. 45 minutes later, I get my luggage.

    I answered the door in my towel grabbed the luggage, and start looking around for cash to tip the hop. No cash nearby, and I'm feeling really stupid and hurried (because I'm nude). I see the basket full of goods. I grab a tiny bottle of liquor out of the basket and gave it to him. I mean really, how much could that cost?

    When the hop pretty much camped outside of my door for the rest of the weekend making sure my pillows were ridiculously fluffed I should have been prepared. I gave him a $45 bottle of Cristal (see And that part wasn't paid for by firm. Gulp.

    I hope my wife doesn't read this post.

    She. will. kill me.

  5. Wow Gil, you're nice. If some fool had sat on my luggage all day I would tipped him with the back o' me hand.

    Seriously guys, if you get bad service you can make a fuss. If you do it in a nice way and explain that the service isn't meeting your expectations a lot of people will and should apologize. Again, this is a good way to get SOME sort of freebie.

    And giving a buck or two on room service orders is more than enough, if you give an extra 5 that's super nice.

    Miley (you know which one I'm talking about) only tipped our boy 2 dollars extra when she ordered room service, so if multi-millionaire teenagers only tip 2$ you certainly shouldn't be expected to, but there's a special place in heaven for good tippers.

  6. If Miley was there, you must've been at the Marriott downtown, as that is the only hotel that any star would stay at in the greater Utah County area. Nevertheless, I'm always a bit confounded by the plethora of charges and/or tips that I'm supposed to (or not supposed to) leave. When I'm on business and I order room service, I leave a nice tip on top of the existing service charges (typically 15% or so) because it's worth it to me to not go out to a restaurant all by my lonesome. If I'm with my family, I never use it. Room service is easy though. It's how much to tip the maid, how much per piece of luggage, what about the guy who came to fix your toilet, etc. I know that it varies by hotel (for example, if you sneeze and someone at a Mandarin Oriental or Ritz-Carlton hands you a tissue, there's a buck for their services; but at a Days Inn you don't ever give anyone anything), but I'd love a nice hard and fast set of rules for travelers to live by.

  7. I'll ask around.

    PS- Like a dog to their vomit I'm back at the hotel. I mentioned blupidity, well the blupid person just got laid off. Hooray for downsizing!

  8. After all that, you went back. Frankly, the hotel industry rocks. Its such a great industry to get into. And Marriott is a great company to work for.