I have 5 simple rules for tipping that I think cover you anywhere, but I’m the first to admit that tipping can be confusing and even induce fear in travelers.
That’s why I think it’s so strange that hotels, where are supposed to take care of their guests, are often ground zero in the tipping confusion. Shouldn’t hotels tell you what is expected? Or better yet, just make it easier at least include tipping in the resort fee or the venue fee on top of the resort fee.
Here’s one of the simplest things a hotel can do. If you order room service, food is brought to your room, that’s a service. Room service generally has a service charge. Great problem solved! Or is it? You’re asked to sign for the meal, and there’s usually a line to add a tip. Does the service charge have you covered, or is the hotel pocketing that and you’re expected to tip again?
The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando near Disney World had this on their room service menu when I visited: the service charge includes gratuity.
The simple solution, for hotels that don’t do this, is to ask the person delivering your meal whether or not they’re taken care of by the service charge? That should solve for any ambiguity.
However hotels should proactively address the points of pain, confusion, and anxiety of their guests – which they know are there, and repeated in interactions every day, the way that the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress does: by telling guests exactly what to expect, and what is expected.