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Marriott gives guests a tip – Don’t forget to thank the maid

When you stay in a hotel, how much do you tip the maid? Have you ever forgotten to tip housekeeping altogether?

In its gratuity guide, the American Hotel and Lodging Association recommends leaving between $1 and $5 per night. Tips should be left daily rather than at checkout, to ensure the person cleaning the room each day receives the money. Money should be left in a marked envelope, or with a note.

If this seems like a lot to remember, not to worry — Marriott International is going to remind you. The company announced Monday that it will be partnering with A Woman’s Nation, a nonprofit organization founded by journalist and activist Maria Shriver, in a new initiative called “The Envelope Please.” Beginning this week, envelopes will be placed in rooms at participating Marriott hotels across the United States and Canada, encouraging guests to leave a gratuity for the housekeeping staff each night.

In a press release, Maria Shriver said room attendants “are often forgotten when it comes to tipping, unlike other front-of-house employ­ees, since most travelers don’t see them face-to-face.” She said she hopes the new initiative will make these employees, many of whom are women, “feel seen and validated.”

The press release made no mention of how the initiative will impact, and potentially supplement, room attendants’ wages. The mean hourly wage for maids and housekeeping cleaners in the travel accommodation industry is listed as $10.48 in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2013 Occupational Employment Statistics.

A room attendant working at one of Marriott’s high-profile urban locations might make a higher hourly wage. John Boardman, executive secretary-treasurer of Unite Here Local 25, which represents workers at more than 30 Washington, D.C.-area hotels, including several that are owned by Marriott, told the Washington Post that under the union’s current contract housekeepers are paid an hourly wage of $18.30. They receive raises every six-months, and will be making $20.35 per hour by the time the contract runs out in 2017. However, the Post also reported that less than 10 percent of the company’s workforce is unionized, according the Marriott president and chief executive Arne Sorenson.

What do you think of “The Envelope Please” initiative? Do you leave a tip for the maid when you travel, and if so how much? Would you like to see more hotels remind guests to tip the housekeeping staff, or do you believe it is the industry’s responsibility to ensure workers are duly compensated? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter using the hashtag #NewsHourAsks.