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

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On the last day of a recent 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 thought crossed my mind on my last trip, I reached out to etiquette professionals to find out if 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 choose whether or not to charge a cleaning fee. in addition to their nightly rate”.

These cleaning fees already infuriate many travelers, even though they are 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 that I’ve paid for — which it usually is — then there’s no need to tip,” says Aimee Symington, CEO and founder of the etiquette training company. and social skills. Finesse around 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 job of cleaning herself — and cleaning may be required under Airbnb’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 Gaché, 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 also recommends leaving a thoughtful thank you note.

Tsai agrees. “If you want to show your appreciation for how much you enjoyed your stay, you can leave a nice review that would encourage other travelers to book with them,” she says.

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