Marriott Gets Slammed on Social Media for Asking Guests to Tip

Sep 15, 2014 at 3:56 PM ET

Marriott’s new plan to help out its housekeepers just backfired big time.

The hotel giant announced on Monday a new initiative called “The Envelope Please,” aimed at encouraging guests to tip their housekeepers.

To that end, the company will be putting tip envelopes in over 160,000 hotel rooms starting this week—a gentle reminder that people should leave a few dollars for the cleaning staff every day. So far, so good, right?

Not so much. Almost immediately, there was serious social media backlash against Marriott’s campaign, much of which referenced the ongoing living wage debate. Many suggested that, instead of trying to guilt its guests into bigger tips, Marriott should just increase wages.

Interestingly, the Washington Post reported that housekeepers at a handful of Marriott hotels in Washington, D.C., actually make well over the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. John Boardman, a union executive at Unite Here Local 25, told the paper that housekeepers make as much as $18.30 per hour at three D.C. Marriott hotels.

You can find tip jars just about everywhere these days, even at your local pharmacy or gas station. But based on the fallout from Marriott’s campaign, it’s clear that America has a spotty understanding of tipping. Some were shocked to learn that people actually leave tips for the hotel cleaning staff. Others were shocked to learn that there are people out there who don’t.

Obviously, tipping is a hot-button issue these days. The Internet tackled football player LeSean McCoy last week for leaving a 20 cent tip at a restaurant. We wonder if he treats housekeeping the same way.