Should I tip my Airbnb for cleaning? We asked specialists.


Traveling has always been complicated, but the coronavirus the pandemic has made it harder than ever. Our By The Way Concierge column will put your travel dilemmas to the experts to help you navigate the new normal. Want to see the answer to your question? submit it here.

On the last day of an Airbnb stay in Costa Rica, my friends and I did a quick cleanup before leaving the rental. But before walking through the door, I wondered if I was forgetting something. If it was a hotel, I would leave a tip for housekeeping. We had paid over $100 for a cleaning fee and $150 service fee, which is set by Airbnb. Does this mean a tip is always expected? In this week’s By The Way Concierge, I spoke to etiquette experts to find out.

Tipping causes the same confusion and anxiety as my taxes: I’m never 100% sure I’m paying the exact amount. It’s partly because I suck at math. The other part is that the perfect tip can be a moving target depending on the level of service you get and the type of establishment you frequent.

It doesn’t help that we don’t regularly talk about tipping or formally teach tipping, despite this practice being common in the United States. So when I have a question about this, I go straight to the experts. After the idea crossed my mind on my last trip, I reached out to some etiquette pros about whether you should tip after your next Airbnb or Vrbo stay.

Do you know how to tip? Take this quiz to find out.

Although tipping isn’t required, experts were split on whether you should leave cash.

“I tip for housekeeping in a hotel, but I don’t tip in an Airbnb because I know I’m paying cleaning fees,” says Ben Pundole, founder of A hotel lifewho has worked in the hospitality industry for the past 30 years.

Bonnie Tsai, Founder and Director of Beyond the Label, also always recommends tipping housekeepers at least $2-$5 a day in a hotel (unless they specifically ask you not to). They often provide services to you throughout your stay, and they’re usually “the hardest-working yet least recognized staff in the hotel,” she said.

However, there’s no way to tell if the money you leave behind on a rental goes to the host or a housekeeper. Therefore, “it’s not necessary,” she told me, “because hosts set their own rates, and Airbnb’s platform provides the option for hosts to charge a fee or not. cleaning in addition to their nightly rate”.

These cleaning costs already enrage many travelers, even if set by the host. Airbnb advises hosts to decide on reasonable cleaning fees, even suggesting that they don’t charge any at all. According to the company, 45% of listings worldwide do not charge cleaning fees. Listings that typically have cleaning fees that cost less than 10% of the booking total.

“If cleaning is already a charge I’ve paid for β€” which it usually is β€” then there’s no need to tip,” says Aimee Symington, CEO and founder of the etiquette training company. and social skills. Finesse in the world. “They’ve priced what they think is fair for their services, and they’re not expected to tip extra.”

How to tip when traveling cashless

When Symington leaves a vacation rental, she scans the place and assesses the damage. If she’s done a good cleaning herself — and cleaning may be required, depending on the property’s house rules — she doesn’t tip. If she’s staying somewhere for a week with a large group or young children and recognizes there may be more cleaning work involved, “I might consider tipping the housekeeper an extra tip,” she says. . “It may even be a gift for the host – a bottle of wine or flowers.”

Lisa GachΓ©, founder and CEO of Beverly Hills Manners, agrees. Her suggestion for an alternative to tipping is that customers “take the time to clean up after themselves, do the dishes, strip the beds, take out the trash and tidy up before you leave,” she says. To go the extra mile, she says, leave a thoughtful thank you note.

Tsai agrees. β€œIf you want to show your appreciation for how much you enjoyed your stay, you can leave a good review, which would encourage other travelers to book with them,” she says.

Have a travel dilemma for By The Way Concierge? submit it here.

Comments are closed.