No Tipping in Hotels? Will It Be a Trend?

The Elysian Hotel in Chicago opened in December. It has everything that a high-end luxury hotel offers. Yet, it is different because of its no-tipping policy.

The purpose of this no-tipping policy is to eliminate guests’ needs of carrying extra cash during their stays. The hotel does not believe guests should pay someone who does something “extra” for them. Guests are notified the no-tipping policy at reservation and reminded the policy again upon checking-in. The hotel pays employees competitive wages and benefits. All employees are trained to refuse tips in a polite way. However, if a guest insists a tip, tip is acceptable.

I grew up in mainland China, where no-tipping is the norm. When I travel to Hong Kong many years ago, people left roughly 10% tips in restaurants. After experiencing the financial crisis and recession, I notice tipping in Hong Kong has changed quite a bit. Today, people often leave less than 10 Hong Kong dollars for tips, regardless of the bill (about $1.25; $1 ≈ HKD$8.0). Even though I was used to pay no or small tips in China, I like the way we tip our service providers here in the U.S. Tipping is a nice way of showing our appreciations.

Under the tipping tradition, however, some talented employees might not want to become a supervisor just because they don’t want to give up a high-tipping position. Unfortunately, if they don’t leave a high-tipping position, they will never advance their careers. It is such a dilemma.

We discussed tipping in the hospitality industry before (http://linchikwok.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-much-do-you-tip-when-you-pick-up.html). Do you support or against the no-tipping policy? Do you think more U.S. hotels will adopt the no-tipping policy?

References:
No tipping at Chicago hotel. (2010, March 25). The Wall Street Journal, p. D2.
Pictures of the Elysian Hotel in Chicago were copied from: http://tinyurl.com/LinchiKwok03252010P1; http://tinyurl.com/LinchiKwok03252010P2

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