Sorry, but I’m not about to tip hotel workers more so that hotels can pay them less and pocket the extra profits, a dimwitted idea from a major hotel CEO.
No, I Won’t Tip Hotel Workers More To Line The Pockets Of Greedy Executives
It’s easy enough to pile upon corporate leaders and scapegoat them for many labor issues afflicting the workplace. Sometimes that is fair, sometimes it’s not. I try to avoid that when possible because even if true in certain contexts, it does not fix the problem.
But here, Ted Darnall, CEO of HEI Hotels and Resorts, deserves to be called out. You may not have heard of the company, but HEI owns over 80 hotels in the USA branded as recognizable chains like Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott.
As noted by View From The Wing, Darnall is advocating for:
- Asking guests to pre-authorize tips at check-in via credit card to incentivize more generous tipping
- Adding a minimum gratuity to restaurant checks
- Pooling tips based upon hours works
All of this because raising wages has “never been the solution” but instead “an unsustainable competitive advantage” because “if somebody pays a dollar more then somebody else is going to match that.”
And then Darnall complains:
“People are taking jobs, leaving them after three weeks. And that’s the worst thing that can happen because the cost associated with that is enormous.”
Well, yeah…and does he wonder why? Pay people a minimum wage to do strenuous manual labor and it’s no wonder that people will seek better options in the a tight labor market.
So let me get this straight. Hotels want to maintain a higher margin on the other side of the pandemic, don’t want to pay their workers more, but want to keep workers happy by coercing guests to pay more in tips?
One Mile at a Time is right that advocating for higher wages as the only solution is likely a non-starter. Tipping is so ingrained into our culture it is likely here to stay and being an anti-tipping warrior in the U.S. ultimately just comes across as an expression of consumer miserliness. I do tip generously.
But I am troubled by coerced tipping and pooling, for I think it encourages a pernicious combination of more tips in exchange for worse service.
I do love to reward workers who take pride in their job and deliver excellent service. I realize that is still possible with even more gratuity on top of tipping, but the idea that resources will be pooled seems to encourage less personalized service, not more, because all tips will be evenly divided based upon hours worked. When your colleague at the next table does not go the extra mile and you are not rewarded for doing so, you are less likely to do so.
In terms of hotel housekeeping, these are the hardest workers and often the lowest paid and least appreciated. While I won’t dissuade you from tipping, when we tip we allow the hotels to continue to pay these workers slave wages. If we didn’t tip, they would quit and use their talent to find better work elsewhere. Making hotel workers fodder is not an ideal solution, but we perpetuate a bad cycle by continuing to tip.
There’s never a truly practical solution when it comes to tipping in America. I’m against it and for it at the same time…and I know I’m not alone. But Darnall seems very much off-base in his remarks and I don’t think we consumers should tolerate bailing out hotel chains only to have them reduce service and guilt customers into tipping more so they can increase margins and pad their own pockets.
What are your thoughts on Darnall’s remarks about the future of tipping at U.S. hotels?