Hotel Etiquette: Hotel Guest Manners

With spring break in a few weeks and summer vacation on the horizon, now is the perfect time to brush up on hotel guest manners. Hotels pride themselves on customer service; therefore, we have a duty to uphold our end as a gracious guest. Here are a few of my tips:

  • Don’t “fudge” on the amount of people staying in the room. Regardless of how many people are standing with you at the counter when you check in, it’s dishonest and impolite to pay for a room with two guests when your intention is to unload a minivan of children, aunts, uncles and a few neighbors and spread out all over the hotel room floor. If you tell the front desk your room will have 2 guests, abide by your word.
  • Keep a close eye on your children. It’s a treat to go to a hotel, lounge by the pool, sleep late and order room service. Being awakened at 6:30 am by frolicking children playing touch football down the hall corridor, going up and down the elevator, and screaming and running along the side of the pool is a startling way for fellow guests to start, or end their day.
  • Keep the noise level down. A girls trip is always more fun when you can let down your hair and escape from your home or professional duties. But, put friends together in their pj’s and women tend to giggle when they are enjoying time with one another. Be respectful of the guests next door, by keeping your music down, turning the television on low while crying through Eat, Pray, Love and keeping your LOUD LAUGHTER down to a quiet decibel when sharing secrets.
  • Leave the room tidy. For once you don’t have to pick up dirty socks off of the floor, or do you? While your hotel does offer a housekeeping service, it is most courteous to be respectful of public property by not leaving wet glasses on the furniture, avoiding dark black mascara and shoe marks on the upholstery, throwing away trash in the trash can and keeping a neat room before you leave for the day.
  • Be an eco-friendly guest.  You may notice many hotels have provided toiletry items for their eco-conscious guests, including the option to forego the daily towel service. Do your part by turning off the television, coffee pot, clothes iron, curling or flat iron, room lights and raising or lowering the air-conditioning before your day of sightseeing fun. Some people enjoy the room like an iceberg while others like to stay toasty warm. Either way, electricity is wasted when no one is in the room.
  • Don’t hoard the danish. If you are lucky enough to stay at a hotel that offers a wonderful breakfast spread, don’t fill your purse and pockets with “free” food for later in the day or for your 6 guests you snuck in the room. Bottled waters are at the entry for you to enjoy on the way out, not to quench the thirst of your entire extended family that you will soon meet up with at the beach. A basket of apples at the front desk is for the hotel guests, not your 30 cousins’ snack time.
  • Don’t forget to tip the housekeeper. It is a sign of a savvy traveler to leave a tip for the housekeeping staff on a daily, rather than weekly basis. Hotel staff rotate each day and you want to make sure and thank the person cleaning up after you.
  • Fill out the survey. While you may find that an email survey after your stay at a hotel is a nuisance, it’s an important part of the overall customer service experience. Offering positive (or negative) feedback in writing to management will enable the hotel to either commend those that have done a great job, or take care of issues that they wouldn’t normally be appraised of without feedback.

Enjoy the much-needed break from your daily routine and soak in the new atmosphere (and amenities – with reason!) offered during your stay.

Happy Travels,


Diane Gottsman

Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert and modern manners professional, sought out industry leader, television personality, accomplished speaker, Huffington Post blogger, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Diane is routinely quoted in national and international media including The New York Times, The BBC, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Kiplinger, Huffington Post Canada, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. She is the resident etiquette expert for two popular morning talk shows, SA Living and Good Day Austin. She has been seen on The TODAY Show, HLN Headline News, WGN Chicago, and CBS Sunday Morning. Her clients range from university students to Fortune 500 companies and her workshops cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media.


  1. Tara says

    Loved this article, I work and run a beautiful Inn…any etiquette pointers for hotel staff in dealing with the guest?

    Tara Anne

  2. dave parth says

    hi diane,

    first of all i m sorry for that i didnot read your whole article but i showed that you did reply so i want to ask you that any specific etiquettes for dinning table specifically for “serving the food”?

    hopping to be favoured.
    thanking you.

    -dave parth

  3. says

    Concerning your hotel etiquette … One thing you might have missed is the importance of letting the front desk know if you will be staying over or checking out early or even a late check out. A guest who leaves it up to the front desk to just figure it out later that they are gonna stay over has held up the end of shift reports for the front desk people not to mention housekeeping. I just think it is rude to not let anyone know that you intend to stay over longer that you first intended at checkin.

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