Those of you old enough to remember Cheech & Chong may remember this comedy routine, but here’s some research from the Economic Policy Institute that’s not so funny. Hotel housekeepers, usually women and often immigrants, are among those suffering most from low wages and growing income inequality. The graph illustrates that until the 1980’s, these workers’ wages kept up with the increasing cost of a hotel room. Since that time, they’ve lagged behind, which is to say that hotel owners are keeping a larger percentage of their revenue for other things, including their own profits.
Don’t take this to mean you should deny yourself your summer vacation, but here are two easy things you can do to have a bit of a positive impact then next time you stay in a hotel for pleasure or business:
- Most obviously, have a direct, positive impact on your housekeeper’s livelihood by leaving a good tip and thanking them for the work that they do.
- Politely ask the hotel manager whether they pay their housekeeper’s and other help a living wage, and encourage them to do so. Maybe write a comment, as many hotels invite you to do.
While you’re at it, you can apply all sorts of sustainable behavior to your travels, and look for accommodations that do the same. And when you come home, you can actively support fair wages in your own community. Safe travels! Ken