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A Business Travel Guide to Tipping Etiquette

Did you know the word “tip” supposedly came from a pub owner who used it years ago as an acronym for ‘To Insure Promptness’? Essentially, tips are a reward for those who provide prompt and attentive service. But the two questions I’m always asking myself are:

  1. Who do I tip?
  2. How much do I tip?

Tipping etiquette varies worldwide, but I have found that (for the most part) when tipping a percentage of a bill, the average is 10-20% of the charge prior to tax. For baggage assistance the average is $1-$2 per bag. When paying a percentage of the bill, some people, for convenience, will take the amount of the tax and double it, while others might quickly figure out 10% of the charge and then double that.

Listed below are some tipping standards for business travel in the United States:

  • Courtesy Shuttle Driver: $1-$2 per person
  • Taxi or Limousine Driver: 15-20% of the total fare and an extra $1-$2 for help with bags
  • Porter/Doorman: $1-$2 per bag
  • Bell Staff: $1-$2 per bag if they deliver them to your room
  • Room Service: $1-$5 per night depending on the number of people in your room (It is best to tip daily since different staff members could be cleaning your room.)
  • Valet Parking: $1-$2 when car is retrieved (Tipping when they park the car is optional and not expected.)
  • Restaurant Waitstaff: 15-20% of the bill, excluding tax (Watch the bill. Many restaurants automatically add 15% gratuity for parties of six or more.)
  • Wine Stewards: 10-20% of the wine bill only
  • Buffet Service: $1-$2 per person dining
  • Bartender/Cocktail Waitress: 10-15% of the total tab
  • Concierge: tipping not necessary for general requests like directions or restaurant recommendations, but if the concierge arranges for tickets or reservations, tips can range from $2-$5
  • Skycap: $1/bag or $2/bag if they take the bag to the check-in counter

I recommend the following websites for additional information and international tipping guides:

  1. Conde Nast Traveler
  2. Esquire
  3. Forbes
Christopherson Business Travel

Christopherson Business Travel

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