15 Hotel Etiquette: How You Should Behave as a Hotel Guest

As a hotelier for most of my career in the Travel and Hospitality sectors, I would like to share with you valuable hotel etiquette tips on how guests should or are expected to behave.

As a general rule, it would be “with politeness.” You are polite when you abide by the rules of the hotel property. You are polite when you use the words “please” and “thank you” to the hotel staff. You are polite when you think about the comfort of other hotel guests.

Sounds easy, right? But how do you translate politeness into action? Let’s try to itemize hotel etiquette and see how all of us should behave as hotel guests upon arrival, during our stay and up until check out time.

hotel etiquette how the hotel guests should behave
Hotel etiquette: how the hotel guests should behave

Read more: 10 British Etiquette and Manners: What is Considered Rude in the UK

Hotel etiquette as you arrive…

1. Check in (and out) on time.

Are you ahead of the check-in schedule and will arrive sooner than expected? Do you need more time to pack your bags and check out of your room?

While some hotel establishments have not-so-strict guidelines regarding early check-in and late checkout, never assume that it is alright to do so. Talk to the concierge if you cannot check-in and out on time. 

2. Open a tab in the reception if you want anything charged to your room.

Opening a tab in the reception is beneficial both for you as a guest and for the hotel as a service provider. You can conveniently enjoy the hotel amenities and choose to settle them before you check out. 

For your benefit, make sure to cross-check any charges to your room before paying for the total amount. 

3. Be polite to the hotel staff.

In one interview with Time, a Hotel General Manager has this to say about good-behaving hotel guests:

“The nicer guests are, the more they get.”

– Adam Sperling

It truly pays to be polite. You’ll find yourself being served by staff who are happy to see you and happy to do things for you. A lot of times, they will go the extra mile for you. That’s primarily because you are polite to them.

While there are definitely perks in being polite to the hotel staff, don’t do it for the perks. Do it because they deserve good behaviour from you.

4. Show good manners to other guests.

Never forget that they, too, are paying guests. Whichever treatment and experience you would like to receive for yourself, surely it’s the same for them – and this starts in the way you share the same space with other guests.

When in a public place within the hotel, observe proper etiquette. Show courtesy to other vacationers around you. When using the elevator, let guests come out first before coming in. These small behaviours, when done by everybody, makes for a really great hotel experience.

Read more: How to Stay Warm in an Ice Hotel

Hotel etiquette during your stay…

5. Try not to use anything you don’t really need.

Sure, a lot of things are already factored in on your hotel room price, but this does not give us the liberty to consume the whole housekeeping cart to ourselves. 

Keep your consumption in check. Do you really need it or do you just like to open it? Do you really need that much or are you just overwhelmed by the lavish stocks?

Another example – if you have been booked to a twin bed and wouldn’t naturally need two to slumber in, it is good if you minimize the use of the other. 

6. Do not leave your shower door open.

Doing so can trigger the smoke detector and cause the fire alarm to sound. It is because of the steam coming from the shower. 

Puroclean has a good explanation regarding this:

“Dense water vapor is like humidity when it comes to triggering false alarms. When you take a shower or boil water on the stove, smoke detectors can sense the steam and sound the alarm.”


7. Hang the towels if you will use it again.

In your home, you don’t usually use one towel for just a day, and get fresh ones the next day, right? (If you do this – you do you!)

The same goes in hotels. Hang towels if they are still clean and you intend to use them again. For soiled towels, pile them up on the floor and have them taken care of by housekeeping. 

Towels are used and abused in hotel rooms. Use (and reuse) them properly.

8. Do not take away so much food from the breakfast buffet.

We get it! A complimentary breakfast buffet during hotel stays is heavenly. As you fill your stomach with good things, you’ll soon reach a wall and will decide you can’t take in more food. I’m pretty sure this thought enters your mind: should I ask for a goodie bag and pocket some for later?

A muffin for the road, a yoghurt for your child… Whatever it is, the key is in asking. Politely talk to the manager or the server if you can have some (not many) to go. They are more likely to say yes, anyway!

Read more: Travel Tips For Staying in Backpacker Hostel for the First Time

9. Keep the noise to a minimum.

Imagine lounging in the hotel garden, enjoying the peace and quiet you so long desired – but then a group of fellow guests come crashing in, talking loudly about the party at the bar the night before.

You would not want to be in that scenario for sure, so you yourself must keep the noise to a minimum while in public areas at the hotel.

This applies inside your room, too. So much noise and mindless activity can wake up or irritate the adjacent rooms.

10. Respect hotel property.

Treat the hotel as your second home. Surely you wouldn’t roam around your own property and just cause havoc, right? Have the same mindset towards the hotel’s.

The worst thing that can happen is the establishment suing you for misuse of property. The worse – being charged for the fixtures and other assets you mishandled. Respect it as you would property of your own.

11. Keep an eye on your children.

As you show good manners to other guests, part of it is keeping an eye on your children if you are bringing them with you during your stay. They may run around, scream their hearts out or explore the premises unattended, and the majority of people do not take delight in these situations.

Furthermore, keeping an eye on them can stop the potential destruction of hotel property from happening. It is, of course, for the safety of your children, too! 

12. Dress appropriately.

Do you have to run to the concierge? Are you supposed to answer the door and let the housekeeping in? It is just right to wear decent clothes – or at least wrap a bathrobe on.

If you are using amenities like the pool or the gym, it is just right for you to be in attire that corresponds to these venues. However, keep in mind that to reach your room, you will need to pass through public spaces and ride elevators. Out of consideration to others, bring a change of clothes or a wraparound. 

Hotel etiquette as you leave…

13. Avoid bringing home the hotel linens.

This goes without saying – and yet hotel guests still do so anyway. While the hotel toiletries are definitely complimentary, there are a lot of things inside your room that are not supposed to be brought home. This includes linens.

If you really liked the hotel line of linens so much, ask the front desk if they are for sale. Many establishments take pride in their luxurious linens, and like marketing, they exclusively offer them to guests for a price.

14. Give tips to the hotel staff.

As a rough guide, here is a shortlist of hotel personnel that you should definitely tip:

  • Valet and Parking Attendant, as you leave and give your car under his or her care
  • Bellstaff, as you arrive and depart
  • Porter, every time you have luggage to be moved
  • Bartender, depending on the beverage tab
  • Waiters, upon bill out
  • Housekeeping, during every cleaning visit 
  • Room Service
  • Concierge, upon check out

When leaving tips for the housekeeping, it is nice to accompany it with a handwritten note. This makes it clear for them that the money indeed tips, not some value that you have accidentally left in the room.

15. Help the hotel improve.

Maybe even after all these tips on how you should behave as a hotel guest, you still received bad service. Instead of publicly battling it out, why not consider filling out the feedback form on your hotel room before check out?

You can also reach out to the hotel regarding your experience via their contact page. By doing so, they can investigate what happened on their side and hopefully rectify the needful.

This effort is not limited to complaints, of course! Tell them what they did great on and acknowledge any staff that positively stood out with their equally good behaviour.

I hope that these hotel etiquette tips would help you to enjoy your stay in any accommodations anywhere in the world.

Hotel etiquette as a hotel guest


Everything Zany Dual Citizen Travel Blog

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2 thoughts on “15 Hotel Etiquette: How You Should Behave as a Hotel Guest”

  1. I wish I had seen this years ago. Not that I would ordinarily intentionally break these rules, but because someone else broke them – and I didn’t follow up with management.
    My wife and I were celebrating our anniversary, and booed a room at mid-range hotel. We were put on the same floor as a large wedding party. After retiring from our evening out, we were awoken well after midnight to the carrying on of the wedding party. Loud talk in the halls, sounds of partying in other rooms etc.
    A call to the desk ended it, and we really had no desire to change rooms, but I would have liked to have been warned ahead of time, and I really should have mentioned this in the feedback, but wasn’t given an option to. I feel like I should have been given some compensation for a less than ideal weekend.

  2. It helped me when you said that even while some hotels have lenient policies regarding early check-in and late checkout, you should never presume that it is acceptable to do so. I need to tell my cousin about this since she’s going to get a hotel room for a week so she can have some downtime before the month is through. Your advice will undoubtedly assist her in maintaining the correct manners while she is there.


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