If low-paid staff deserves a raise, who should pay for it?

 In Hospitality Trends, Housekeeping, Staff

If low-paid staff deserves a raise, who should pay for it? That debate is raging after Marriott (MAR) said it wants hotel guests to pony up gratuities for its housekeepers.

Marriott is joining a campaign called “The Envelope Please,” a venture that was created by Maria Shriver and her non-profit organization “A Woman’s Nation,” to place tip envelopes in 160,000 hotel rooms. The envelopes are designed to encourage guests to leave gratuities and “notes of thanks” for low-paid cleaning staff.

The campaign aims to reinforce behaviour that not all hotel guests take part in, with about one-third of customers failing to leave behind gratuities for housekeepers. But by announcing the plan, Marriott is finding itself in the centre of a controversy as some consumers say if housekeepers’ pay is such a problem, the hotel chain should give them a raise.

Of course, higher pay for housekeeping staff would likely result in higher room rates, meaning the guests would end up paying more in the end, regardless of who is on the hook. But by putting the onus on guests to make sure they tip during their visits, the company could be seen as unloading the responsibility for providing a living wage onto its customers and staff.

In a statement, Marriott said the campaign is “designed to encourage and enable hotel guests to express their gratitude by leaving tips and notes of thanks for hotel room attendants in designated envelopes.”

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