Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 29 2016

Your Free Guide To Paying Gratuities In Every Situation

Carolyn Clark

No matter where you’re going or what you’re doing in the US, you should tip a lot of different people. The valet who parks your rental car. The concierge who helps you find tickets to take your client to a show. The taxi driver who takes you to dinner. The maid who cleans your room.

If you find yourself constantly wondering what to tip, it’s okay. Your peers haven’t been able to set a standard. For example, a Harris Poll survey of more than 2,000 adults revealed big differences in their tipping habits at restaurants. One in 10 Americans indicated they usually tip more than 20 percent, while three in 10 Millennials indicated they tip less than 15 percent for good service. And when it comes to hotels, one key statistic is pretty troublesome: nearly three in 10 hotel guests don’t tip at all.

Rather than searching “appropriate amount to tip for ____”, there are some useful free tools that can make every bill easier to calculate. For Android users, Gratuity: Tip Calculator adds up tips based on venue and service category (poor, average and awesome). For iPhone users, a similar tool delivers handy advice to take the guesswork out of the gratuity line.

Give Your International Attendees Insights Into US Tipping

As US-based meeting professionals work to attract more attendees from outside North America, many of those attendees will need more than visa help and travel assistance; they may also need help in understanding US tipping culture. In Brazil and Singapore, for example, diners aren’t expected to leave an additional tip for waiters — 10 percent is already included. Customs vary around the world. If you’re traveling outside the US, consult this guide from Conde Nast Traveler for a global look. If you’re welcoming attendees from outside North America, be sure to pass along those handy mobile apps above, too.

MORE: 5 Tips To Improve Communication With Attendees From Around The World

Will There Be A Tipping Point For Tipping In The US?

Some people believe tipping should be outlawed in the US, and between 1909 and 1915, the practice actually was illegal in six states. In today’s app-intensive environment, some services are making tipping automatic rather than a what-should-I-leave decision. For example, Uber bills an additional 20 percent for a driver’s gratuity, which eliminates the awkwardness of exiting the car. However, the reality is that many employees depend on tips, and recent battles in Seattle and Los Angeles prove that it will be challenging to pass national laws that guarantee sustainable wages for employees in a range of industries. So, for the foreseeable future, be sure to be a good customer and leave some extra cash.

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