Tipping at TBEX

Today’s guest post is from travel blogger Billie Frank, who gives us a reminder and perspective on tipping at a luxury resort like our Keystone property.


Many travel bloggers who’ll be at TBEX 12 in Keystone, Colorado, are budget travelers. If you’re not familiar with luxury resorts, or tipping in the United States in general, at TBEX you may wonder, “How much should I tip?” Others have been to high-end hotels on press or blogger trips where the hotel, PR firm, CVB or tourism board takes care of the staff for you. But at a convention, tipping is up to you. Understanding tipping can take the anxiety out of the process so that you can enjoy your stay without fretting about what to give the housekeeper, the valet or the bellman.

Here’s a suggested guideline to tipping:

Restaurants:  As with restaurants anywhere in the US, 18 to 20% is the norm for a tip, more if you have incredible service and less if the service is not up to par. Since your TBEX 12 registration includes meals, you don’t have to worry about tipping unless you have additional, non-included meals.

The valet:  There is plenty of free onsite parking, but if you opt to use valet parking there is a fee.  In that case, the first person you are apt to meet when checking in the valet.  These folks really hustle and earn that tip. Now, here’s the tricky part; do you tip on both in and out? A common valet tip is $2, given when the car is delivered. The valet that takes your car is often not the same one returning it and so some people tip at both ends with the larger tip when the vehicle is brought to them. There is usually more hustle on the return end as the valet knows you want your car quickly.

The bell-person:  If you use luggage assistance, give at least $2 per bag; $5 to $10 is reasonable for good service. Tip more for extremely heavy or unwieldy bags or if there are a lot of odds and ends on the luggage cart. A good bell-person will set your luggage on caddies in your room and hang appropriate garment bags and loose garments. Before leaving s/he will make sure you understand the intricacies of your room, including heating or air conditioning, audio-visual, telephone and Wi-Fi systems.

The housekeeper:  One of the hardest, most thankless jobs in a hotel is the housekeeper – people sometimes leave rooms in appalling condition. During your stay, the housekeeper is not expected (or in many cases not even permitted) to move your possessions, so leave the room in a cleanable condition. A suggested minimum tip is $3 per day; $5 is generous. If your room is really messy and requires a lot of work or really trashed when you check out, leave a larger gratuity. It’s a good idea to leave housekeeping tips daily in an envelope marked “Housekeeper.” If you wait and tip at the end of your stay, it might be a windfall for a fill-in housekeeper who has done your room once in a multiple-day stay. During your stay, the envelope is important. In many hotels, if housekeepers touch money left in the room, they can be fired. If you need something extra brought to the room, pillows, towels, etc., a dollar or two is appropriate. If a member of the housekeeping staff does something above and beyond, tip accordingly. I know that many travel bloggers are on a tight budget, but at the very least, tip these hardworking folks, especially if you’ve been very hard on the room. .

Room service:  Room service can be tricky. The hotel usually adds a service charge to the bill, although this is not a tip.  Sometimes a gratuity is also added.  It’s a good idea to ask at the time you place your order.  If the tip is not included, the amount should be the standard 18% and 20% of the food and/or drink bill before taxes. If the server sets your food up and goes above and beyond, you may want to tip them a bit extra.

Shuttles:  If you’re taking a shuttle from the airport, it’s a nice gesture to tip the driver, especially if they are stowing your luggage. A suggested tip is $2 to $5 per person.

Enjoy your time at TBEX12.  And remember, don’t forget to tip those who serve you.

Santa Fe based freelance writer and former concierge Billie Frank writes extensively about Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico for her blog Santa Fe Travelers. A former print journalist, she is a contributor to other online publications focusing on food and travel and is a Contributing Editor at Travel Squire. Billie was a consultant and contributor for DK Eyewitness Travel’s 2012 revision of the Top 10 Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque guide. She is co-owner of a trip planning and tour business The Santa Fe Traveler, designing unique experiences for visitors to Santa Fe. You can find Billie on Facebook and on Twitter.

Photo credit:  SXC

Denver International Airport Update Project – South Terminal

If you are traveling through the Denver International Airport for TBEX, please read the information below to see how you may be effected by construction.

When people travel to Denver International Airport this summer, they will see many signs of progress as DIA builds for the future. Starting in June, reconstruction of the elevated roadway bridges at Terminal West will result in some temporary (up to 2 years) detours to DIA’s passenger pick-up and drop-off levels. The work is related to the construction of the new airport light rail terminal and Westin Hotel under construction at the south end of Jeppeson Terminal.

Here are the highlights of what will be different this summer.

Starting mid May 2012, if traveling by commercial carrier – taxi, limo or shuttle: During construction, commercial vehicles will not drop off passengers curbside at airlines on Level 5.

All taxi or shuttle drop-offs and pick-ups will be in designated locations.

Starting mid May 2012, if traveling by bus: Passenger drop-off and pick-up will move to Level 6 East.

Starting June 2012, if picking-up passengers Terminal West: Arrival (passenger pick-up) traffic will be detoured through the parking garage to pick-up passengers curbside on Level 4.

Vehicles will not be required to pull a parking ticket.

Starting June 2012, if dropping off passengers on Level 6 West: Departure (passenger drop-off) traffic will be detoured off of Peña Boulevard to the left, along the west side of the West Economy Parking Lot and up the exit ramp, to Level 6 West. You will be entering Level 6 from the north instead of the south.

If parking in economy lots or a garage: No changes to the normal routine.

Orange directional signs will help guide the way during the reconstruction.

For more information, visit www.flydenver.com or call the construction information hotline at (303) 342-6400.

Rocky Mountain High: TBEX 12 Altitude Tips

The BWE/TBEX team visited Denver and Keystone last week, and we came away with two opinions:

  • TBEX 12 is going to ROCK.  The city of Denver and Keystone Resorts are pulling out all the stops to create a spectacular event.  From touchdown to departure, we’ve got a weekend of learning, networking, and fun.
  • The change in altitude kicked us all.  While some of us are more out of shape than others, the altitude did make a difference in our activity level.

Top of mountain at Keystone Resort, Colorado, TBEX12

Looking for suggestions on how to minimize the side effects of the altitude for TBEX 12 led us to one of our speakers, Beth Whitman, who has lots of experience in traveling at higher altitude.  Here’s what she has to say about it


Usually twice a year I lead tours to Bhutan. This tiny Kingdom is tucked between Tibet and Northeast India in the Himalayas. Read: high altitude. We land at about 5,000 feet and find ourselves as high as 11,000 feet while driving over some of the mountain passes.

At these altitudes, the air is quite thin, thus making it difficult to do simple things such as walk up a flight of stairs or jog more than 15 feet.

Most of you will be arriving for TBEX via Denver. At more than 5,000 feet, Denver is going to knock many of you for a loop but you’ve got another 4,000 feet to go (yes, higher) by the time you reach Keystone, located at about 9,000 feet.

By the time you arrive for TBEX, you’re gonna feel about 10 years older and like you’ve been smoking your whole life.

During my travels to Bhutan, fortunately, the high mountains haven’t yet affected me beyond being very short of breath. But it affects everyone differently.

Here’s the advice that I give our tour participants:

  1. Consider getting a prescription for altitude sickness medication, before you leave home. You can begin taking it prior to your trip to Colorado or when/if symptoms begin (usually 12 – 24 hours after arriving at altitude). If you do fall ill, this will help offset the symptoms (usually dizziness, insomnia, malaise, headache, nausea and, in more severe cases, vomiting and a rapid pulse). Even if you’ve been at altitude before and haven’t had symptoms, know that these can come on at any time – everyone is susceptible.
  2. Drink lots of water. While we’re touring, we don’t always have access to flush toilets, which inhibits some women from drinking enough fluids. But you’ll have no excuse in Colorado. Drink up, friends! Staying dehydrated (and that means curbing your alcohol consumption, sorry) will help tremendously in dampening the affects of the altitude.
  3. Slow down. Even walking up a couple of flights of stairs can make you winded at altitude – no matter how fit you think you are. Don’t push yourself. Just take it easy, know that you may not be on your same exercise routine and take elevators when possible.
  4. Carry ginger candies. Though most often associated with motion sickness, ginger can help you stave off an upset stomach caused by the altitude.
  5. Consider staying in Denver for a night or 2 prior to TBEX if you have the time. This will help you get acclimated so that you can get as much out of the conference as possible.
  6. Get down from elevation immediately if you do think you’ve got a serious case of altitude sickness. Let someone in charge at TBEX know that you’re ill so that you can get help and then plan to head for a valley.

Beth Whitman is the founder of Wanderlust and Lipstick and WanderTours. She regularly leads tours to Bhutan (and beyond) including treks high into the Himalayas. She gets just as winded as the next person on these tours but finds the mantra “slow and steady wins the race” to be an invaluable reminder to take it easy.

Beth will be speaking at TBEX 12 on “Monetize Like You Mean It.”   The panel brings together bloggers who have shaped their brands with multiple revenue streams for a discussion on using your brand to create a full time career.

Tickets for TBEX are still available.