Tips for a Tipper

Throughout the past few months, we’ve focused a lot of attention on event management and planning. However, I don’t want to forget about the second piece to our name – protocol. I’ve recently joined a great organization named Protocol and Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association, who released a weekly message regarding tipping etiquette last March. Since we are entering vacation season, I thought this topic is very timely for event planners and travel aficionados alike. I paraphrase the following tips from a USA Today article and Emily Post’s “Etiquette: Manners for a New World.” As a reminder, international customs and cultures may differ, so call ahead and/or research your destination before tipping.

General Tipping Guidelines (based on U.S. customs)

•    A tip and a thank you go hand-in-hand
•    In most circumstances, tips should be: 15% or more of the service cost; $2 for the first effort and a dollar for each additional attempt; and in special circumstances (holidays), 15% of the value of one instance of service
•    Take the overall situation into account and tip accordingly
•    Tip discretely
•    Restaurant and hotel workers depend on tips to augment their minimum wage; however, never tip out of guilt. Discuss with a manager if the service was not acceptable.

At Hotels

•    Bell staff – Tip $1-$2 per bag, more if they are particularly heavy
•    Concierges – Their job is to help, so don’t feel obligated to tip on basic questions. However, if they have gone above and beyond, feel free to tip between $5-$50, depending on the task
•    Housekeeping staff – Consider tipping between $2-$5 per day and doing so each day to ensure the money goes to the appropriate staff member
•    Room service staff – I found this answer varies amongst experts, since a fee is already applied to your bill. Answers ranged from no tip needed to $2 given directly to the staff person.

At Restaurants

•    While a 15%-20% tip is now customary, its reasonable to not tip on tax
•    For most parties of six or more, an 18% service charge is added. You don’t need to leave additional tip unless you think the service warranted more.
•    The 15%-20% tip also applies to bartenders and wine stewards
•    Additional staff (i.e. valet parkers, checkroom attendants, musicians, etc.) – a tip generally ranges between $2-$5 for these individuals. Tips are given when services are rendered.

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