Here's what bubbled to the surface after reading others' posts and reflecting on tipping in general:
- motivate and reward good and great service and correct unsatisfactory service. In my travels, tips are motivation and recognition tools.
- Praise and reward service providers who (1) take responsibility and (2) pay attention to detail. It really is that simple.
- Counsel and teach service providers who miss the ownership and attention to detail marks. Write-up those who refuse to learn.
- Never tip because the job pays low wages. Would you tip the greeter at Wal-Mart just because she or he earns a minimum wage?
- Always criticize and avoid organizations that automatically add a "resort fee," surcharge, or other form of automatic gratuity to guests' folios. If the organization doesn't have enough confidence in the competitive stature of its product to increase the rack rate by 18%, the organization's employees have not earned the additional revenue.
The above helped me understand why, I don't tip hotel housekeepers for one-night stays. I expect to find a clean and well-provisioned room upon arrival and many times the housekeeper that cleaned the room before my arrival is not the same housekeeper who cleans the room after I checkout.
I always tip housekeepers when they respond promptly to requests for extra towels, fresh bath robes, extension cords, etc. If I'm staying multiple nights I always leave a motivating $5 on the pillow with a note that says, "Thank you, in advance, for making my stay more enjoyable." I'm frequently amazed by the ingenuity and creativity of motivated housekeepers!