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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Tips On Tipping
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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Tips On Tipping - Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Tips On Tipping

Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Tips On Tipping

Americans grow up with the tradition of leaving a tip (or gratuity) for service providers in many settings, so calculating an appropriate amount is no problem in a restaurant or bar. However, for the business traveler on his or her first trip, there may be many new situations where tipping is customary, and the expectations, while not difficult to get the hang of, can be overwhelming if one does not prepare.

In principal, the size of a tip should line up with the level of service you have received, or in some cases with the level of service you expect to receive. Yet we should face the reality, which is that there is a social expectation that says you're kind of a jerk if you leave no tip at all, even under certain circumstances that might warrant it. There is also the tension between wanting to be a good tipper and not wanting to be thought of as extravagant or ignorant by leaving a ridiculously large amount. There is a kind of social contract going on here with boundaries on both the low and high ends, and staying within those bounds should be our goal, and it can sometimes make a difference in our overall travel experience. Many online sources provide advice for tipping, but most agree on something along these lines.

At the airport, tip a cab driver fifteen to twenty percent; add an additional two dollars if he or she helps you with a bag, and another dollar for each additional bag. In fact, two dollars for the first bag and another dollar for each additional is a good guideline for anyone who personally handles your luggage, including a skycap, or (at the hotel) a doorman or bellhop. If the bellhop takes your bags to your room, throw in another couple of dollars. If you're using any of the new smartphone-enabled car services, it's nice to tip the amount you'd have tipped a cab driver, even if the ride charge is smaller. The added convenience of paying and tipping with your phone is worth the extra couple of bucks.

At the hotel, leave three to five dollars per night for the housekeepers, along with a note so they're sure it's for them. Some people leave one tip on the last morning of a stay, but consider tipping every day instead; it ensures that the housekeeper who cleans your room gets his or her fair gratuity, and you'll reap the benefits of being a generous tipper during your stay. Attentive housekeepers are often lower-profile service providers, yet they can make the most immediate difference between a good stay and a bad stay, so tip well. There is no obligation to tip the concierge for questions answered or advice given, but tip five to ten dollars, based on the difficulty of the service, if he or she procures tickets or reservations for you.

You surely already have an established practice for tipping at restaurants (fifteen to twenty percent of the bill), bars (also fifteen to twenty percent of the bill or one to two dollars per drink), and cafes (an optional dollar or two in the tip jar), but something the online advice-givers don't take into account is the length of your stay. If you buy two eight-dollar drinks at the hotel bar, three or four bucks seems like a reasonable gratuity, yet if you nurse those drinks for three or four hours, a good bartender is still checking on you many times, filling your water glass and making sure you're happy. Nobody faults you for drinking less or for wanting to hang out for a while: that's what a bar is for, and nobody wants you to drink irresponsibly. Still, consider adding a reasonable amount to your tip to account for that extra attention. In a cafe, it's normal to spend five dollars on a latte and to use the wifi for a few hours, but if you're not ordering a drink every hour (or some equivalence in food plus drink), consider dropping a few bucks into the tip jar, especially if seating seems to be in high demand.

There is a multitude of mobile apps that assist with tipping, and a future article will review the good, bad, and mediocre.

As a rule, although you may have philosophical differences with tipping generously when you feel the service doesn't warrant it, the rationale for tipping well outweighs those differences. A few extra dollars can make a big difference in someone's day, and if the service is poor, you can be sure that someone else will be the one to leave no tip. Vote with your wallet the next time you dine out or make hotel reservations, if you must, and let someone else be the bad tipper. In business travel, you represent your company as well as yourself, and there is no downside to representing either as gracious or generous.


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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Tips On Tipping - Executive Leadership Articles

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