Tipping the Front Desk Clerk DOES NOT WORK

In Jacob Tomsky’s Heads in Beds he claims one of your best moves staying at a hotel is to tip the front desk clerk upon checking. That a $20.00 bill proffered with the phrase “whatever you can do” will open up a cornucopia of upgrades and freebies.


We tried this twice. First time at the Hyatt in Denver where my daughter handed them a 20. She got a very confused look and then received her room key and was wished a nice day. Nothing different from the normal except their being a bit confused at receiving a tip.

Ok, so maybe the Hyatt has really strict corporate rules. Yesterday my wife and I checked into the Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach, a very nice boutique hotel. Same drill, handed the woman at the counter a 20 on checking in and then asked for our room with the comment that I hoped it was a nice one. She was very pleasantly surprised by the tip and then pulled up our room info and gave us our keys. And she told us we were getting a very nice suite. So we headed to the room wondering if we had received an upgrade for my investment.

And what we found on entering the room was it was a downgrade from what we had purchased. We had paid for a room with an outside view (more expensive) and had been given a room with a courtyard view. And courtyard view was putting a nice spin on it as the view from the window was a side of the hotel 10 feet away.

Not only did the tip not get us an upgrade, it didn’t even get us the quality of room we had purchased.

Once is a data point, twice is a trend. Tipping the front desk clerk doesn’t get you squat. Don’t waste your money.