The most important hotel etiquette rules. The appropriate behavior for staying in a hotel. Avoid embarrassments and be an ideal guest.

hotel room

What hotel etiquette is

Hotel etiquette is the set of rules to stay at a hotel. It includes the proper way to book, check-in, check out, and the appropriate behavior.

As a guest, know hotel etiquette rules to avoid any embarrassment.

As a host, hotel etiquette helps you manage your guests’ expectations.

General hotel etiquette principles

Hotel etiquette for guests is based on three main principles.

  • Match our rights as guests with the appropriate expectations and good manners.
  • Respect the hotel personnel and property.
  • Respect the other guests. 

As a guest, apply additional kindness in situations that bring additional stress. Such as high season or peak hours.

Hotel etiquette for guests.

Rules to be a good hotel guest.

Hotel etiquette rules

1) Hotel booking etiquette 

Booking a hotel room is straightforward. Do not make it more complex than it should be.

Before the booking, it is perfectly acceptable to send messages or requests to the hotel. A single message is preferable to a long sequence of requests.

Ask for the information that you need to make an informed booking. Such as information about the accommodation, how to reach it, or the area. 

However, it is against hotel etiquette to ask for superfluous information. Such as any information that is already present on the hotel website or listing. Or general information about the destination that is commonly available online.

It is ok to ask for small customizations. Such as requesting a high floor, or a no-smoking room. 

As a general rule, limit your requests to budget and standard hotels. With high-end or luxury hotels, you can raise your expectations and requests. Still, try to be reasonable.

2) Hotel check-in etiquette

Normally, hotels have a reception that will manage your check-in. 

Wait for your turn. Be patient.

During the check-in, feel free to ask the reception for any additional information. If there are other guests waiting, keep it short and ask only for necessary information.

Notify the hotel of any malfunction or incident in your room. If your room has a relevant issue, ask for a room change. 

In some hotels, an employee will escort you to your room. Usually, they will carry your luggage and show you to your accommodation. It is good etiquette to tip. The amount depends on the location. In the United States or Europe, think at least 5 euros or dollars. Tip more in high-end hotels.

3) How to manage your belongings in a hotel

Keep your belongings in an orderly fashion. Hotel personnel cleans your room daily. Make sure that your items do not impede the room cleaning.

Never leave your items in the common areas of a hotel. Even shoes or wet umbrellas should be kept in your room.

Store valuable items in a safe. If a safe is not available, leave them at the reception or bring them with you. 

If a valuable item disappears from your room, discreetly complain to the staff at the reception. However, you should do your best to prevent that from happening. Before complaining, check your room multiple times.

4) How to dress in a hotel

In the common areas, be neat and dress appropriately. Do not venture into the hallway barefoot, or in underwear or pajama. 

Similarly, if you visit a hotel spa or swimming pool, cover yourself on the way to your room.

If you call room service, or a hotel employee knocks at your door, be presentable. 

5) Respect the hotel personnel and other guests

Respect the hotel rules. 

Be kind to other guests. Apply basic etiquette principles in the common areas. Avoid conflict with other guests. If a conflict arises, do not escalate it. Talk to the hotel personnel instead.

Respect the time for breakfast. Do not expect to receive breakfast after the time limit. However, you may ask in advance for an exception. Hotels usually can offer a light breakfast if you need to leave earlier.

Eating and drinking in your room are usually allowed. However, avoid making a mess in your room. It is preferable to eat in the common areas. 

Do not smoke in a no-smoking room or hotel.

It is a good norm to limit noise and music. Keep the volume of the TV under control. Even more at night and early in the morning.

In many hotels, it is forbidden to invite other guests to your room. Before you do so, ask the reception whether it is allowed. 

If you break something during your stay, notify the personnel. Usually, hotels do not charge you for normal wear and tear, such as breaking a drinking glass. 

Use the “do not disturb” sign to ask for privacy. It is perfectly acceptable to refuse room cleaning even for multiple days.

6) Hotel etiquette for kids

The same hotel etiquette rules for adults apply to kids. 

As a general rule, in a hotel, your kids should respect the same rules as if they were at home. 

Some hotels are adults only. Check the hotel rules before booking.

7) Hotel etiquette for pets

Some hotels allow pets on their premises, others do not. 

Check the hotel rules before booking. If pets are not explicitly mentioned, you should make an inquiry before booking.

When pets are allowed, you should follow the hotel rules during your stay. 

If the hotel does not allow pets, do not get upset. Book another accommodation.

8) Hotel check-out etiquette

Respect the time for the check-out. A small delay is acceptable, such as 10 or 20 minutes. Over 30 minutes is rude. 

Leave your hotel room in order. You do not need to clean it up. Simply, do not leave a mess behind.

Do not take any hotel items with you. Taking toiletries that you opened and used is acceptable, such as a small soap or shampoo. 

Some hotels check your room and the minibar before you leave. Be patient and do not be offended if they do.

When you leave, you can tip the personnel. Leave the tip in your room or at the reception. If you leave the tip at the reception, it is polite to place it in a small envelope. Tip between 5% and 20% of the booking rate.

hotel etiquette mistakes

Hotel etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst hotel etiquette mistakes. 

  • 8/10. Leaving your room in a mess.
  • 8/10. Taking hotel items with you.
  • 7/10. Not limiting noise or music.
  • 6/10. Dressing inappropriately.
  • 5/10. Not keeping your belongings in order.