Travel Notes: Tipping at hotels not uniform

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If you never tip a concierge when staying at a hotel, you are not alone. According to an online survey of nearly 700 travelers, 55 percent said they never tip a concierge while 23 percent said they tip $2 to $4 a day.

The survey by hotel booking site Tingo found that housekeepers get better treatment. Among hotel guests, 40 percent said they tip $2 to $4 a day and 15 percent tip $5 to $7. Only 19 percent said they never tip a housekeeper.

"I always tip hotel maids, and you should do it as soon as you check in, and thereafter each day," said George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog, a low-airfare alert and air travel advice website. "You'll be surprised how much extra attention you get."

The tips might cut down on the number of times housekeepers barge into your room without knocking. According to the study, 33 percent of travelers said housekeepers have walked in on them while they were either sleeping, getting out of the shower, getting dressed or using the toilet.

Budget cuts hurting hotels

The automatic federal budget cuts brought about by so-called sequestration are already inflicting pain on the hotel industry.

Federal agencies responded to the cuts by slashing nonessential travel by federal employees, who represent at least 30 percent of business for some hotels.

Travel industry leaders worry that further federal cuts will continue to hurt an industry that supports about 14 million workers.

"We are seeing evidence of cancellations of federal agency travel all across the board," said Erik Hansen, director of domestic policy for the U.S. Travel Association, the trade group for the nation's travel industry.

N.J. tourism sets record

According to Bloomberg News, New Jersey had a record $40 billion of tourism in 2012, even with Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Chris Christie said.

Visitor spending, capital investment and general government support of tourism surpassed the previous record of $39.5 billion reached in 2007, a 2.6 percent increase over 2011, according to Christie's office.

Most damaged boardwalks will be rebuilt and open by Memorial Day, Mr. Christie told reporters Wednesday in Atlantic City.

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