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Who is this person and should I be tipping him?

Who is this person and should I be tipping him?

Old Aug 8, 19, 6:24 am
  #1  
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Who is this person and should I be tipping him?

Here's the scenario. I pull up to a 5 star hotel (in the US). A staff member comes to my car, asks my name, gives me a valet or baggage ticket, calls over his guys to load up my bags on a trolley, he accompanies to to the front desk making small talk and introduces me to the check-in clerk. What is this person's job title and what department is he working for - valet or baggage?
Later my luggage is delivered by another person who I always tip regardless of country.
I assume this staff member is expecting a tip but it seems awkward to do it at the check-in desk. He wished us a pleasant stay and I did slip him a tip. My travel companion said I shouldn't have as exchanging cash in front of the front desk staff is too vulgar for a 5 star hotel. Was I right or wrong? We will be back at the same hotel in September so I don't want to make a faux pas again.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 7:03 am
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I would say its the door man. Im from Europe and not that much in tipping, even in the US. I tip (outside the restaurant) the person who brings my luggage, who shows me the room, the maid (twice a day if I return to the room) and the valet when bringing my car. Other persons if there is special service (f.e. room delivery of whatever). At 5 stars properties I normally even in the US have the Impression the staff is behind tips, would be a no-go for me.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 7:14 am
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
I would say its the door man. Im from Europe and not that much in tipping, even in the US. I tip (outside the restaurant) the person who brings my luggage, who shows me the room, the maid (twice a day if I return to the room) and the valet when bringing my car. Other persons if there is special service (f.e. room delivery of whatever). At 5 stars properties I normally even in the US have the Impression the staff is behind tips, would be a no-go for me.
I tip the person who brings my luggage but not someone (often a front desk clerk) who just shows me the room. [Some European colleagues have told me that the rule is whether the service is for the guest versus for the hotel, and the front desk person is there to check that everything is OK in the room, which benefits the hotel rather than the guest, although those same people say not to tip room service for breakfast delivery in those small European hotels that include continental breakfast from room service as the only option.] In some small European and Asian hotels, the front desk person handles the luggage too, which is an ambiguous (IMO) situation in places where tips are given.

In many hotels you really should tip twice for the luggage: the person who brings it from the vehicle or street into the lobby and then the (different) person who brings it from the lobby to your room.

For this reason, unless I have a lot of luggage, I try to hang onto it and take care of it myself, which also avoids the sometimes lengthy luggage delivery delays. If I tell the airline it's carry on, I should be able to carry it myself a few steps in the hotel, and wheels tend to make this easy unless there are stairs that you can't avoid.

BTW, I wouldn't greet someone who simply greets me and shows me to the front desk. In fact, in some situations (such as when you arrive using the hotel's car service), it would be an assistant manager or some loyalty or guest experience manager.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 7:25 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
BTW, I wouldn't greet someone who simply greets me
I hope you greet (at least I do), tip is something else. Often Im not really able to tip. If I arrive at a well-run hotel Im already on my way to the front desk when they start unloading my car. I dont go back to distribute tips. Additionally many hotels have a rule that staff shares the tips, sometimes in groups. So it doesnt matter if only one bell boy gets the whole tip or you give everyone individual.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 7:52 am
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I do not like what tipping has become in the US. I do tip very generously all over the world when staff delight me with excellent service, but in my view it should not be something that is expected the way it often is in North America. Any good hotel should be paying staff adequately for what they do, and not relying on tips as part of their staffs expected compensation, however that is often not the case in practice.

If someone really does give excellent service that makes a huge impact on my day, whether its something big or small, I try to acknowledge and thank the individual, and as appropriate give a nice tip in cash. I prefer to tip in cash so that staff receive it immediately and in full, as opposed to however the hotels accounting department handles write-in tips.

Tipping should be a meaningful gesture, and not just an automatic reflex of reaching into ones pocket and handing out tips. It should be an acknowledgement of excellent service, and not a de facto subsidy relied upon by underpaid employees as part of their compensation.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 8:51 am
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This person wasn't a manager/assistant manager. The hotels in question were the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara, the Peninsula in Beverly Hills and Fairmont Del Mar. A doorman seems likely as they were ''in charge'' of the situation and telling the other guys what to do.
We were travelling with a significant amount of luggage (2 checked cases, 2 cabin cases, a backpack and tennis equipment) so we did want and appreciate the luggage service. I'm also happy to tip when in the US (yes if I ran the world staff wouldn't rely on tips etc etc) but it is what it is and it is more whether this person expects tips or like my travelling companion thought, would be insulted by a tip.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 8:57 am
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I've been greeted at the Pen in Hong Kong upon stepping out of their vehicle by a guy who introduced himself and gave me a card with an assistant manager title.

A doorman would normally be wearing a uniform while an assistant manager would wear a suit at most properties.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 9:33 am
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Doormen are usually not tipped on the way INTO the hotel. If they are used to being tipped it is on the way OUT, when they fetch you a cab or put your bags into a vehicle.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 10:50 am
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It is all about local custom. In the specific case at hand, I would tip the people carting the bags to the front desk and delivering it to the room. While I'm not sure I'd call that particular place 5*, it's worth noting that at places like that, once the staff flag you as "cheap" the service levels can change appreciably for the worse.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 11:33 am
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Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post
I do not like what tipping has become in the US. I do tip very generously all over the world when staff delight me with excellent service, but in my view it should not be something that is expected the way it often is in North America. Any good hotel should be paying staff adequately for what they do, and not relying on tips as part of their staff’s expected compensation, however that is often not the case in practice.

If someone really does give excellent service that makes a huge impact on my day, whether its something big or small, I try to acknowledge and thank the individual, and as appropriate give a nice tip in cash. I prefer to tip in cash so that staff receive it immediately and in full, as opposed to however the hotel’s accounting department handles write-in tips.

Tipping should be a meaningful gesture, and not just an automatic reflex of reaching into one’s pocket and handing out tips. It should be an acknowledgement of excellent service, and not a de facto subsidy relied upon by underpaid employees as part of their compensation.
This works well as an expression of the way tipping should work in an ideal world ... which, sadly, is not the one we normally inhabit. As you note, in the U.S. guest-facing employees at the lower levels are poorly paid and whilst I am outraged by this despicable management treatment, I am unwilling to stiff the person at the bottom of the ladder.

Yes, tip in cash whenever possible. Sometimes difficult upon arrival when traveling abroad, before getting money changed, or visiting a local atm.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 12:15 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
In many hotels you really should tip twice for the luggage: the person who brings it from the vehicle or street into the lobby and then the (different) person who brings it from the lobby to your room.
I can't speak for all hotels but it should be common practice that the bell desk staff pool their tips and/or rotate responsibilities from pickup to drop off. That, and carrying less cash than I used to (especially smaller bills that I would need for tips), is why I only tip on delivery now (whether that is to the room, or to a taxi/car on check-out). I do the same with the hotel valet - only on pick-up.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 12:36 pm
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A tricky business.

From what I read the first guy is a meeter and greeter, part of the supervisory, if not necessarily the management team. The fact that he summoned somebody else to handle your luggage would suggest he's a superior - in this case I would only tip the (presumably) lower paid member of staff.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 1:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
It is all about local custom. In the specific case at hand, I would tip the people carting the bags to the front desk and delivering it to the room. While I'm not sure I'd call that particular place 5*, it's worth noting that at places like that, once the staff flag you as "cheap" the service levels can change appreciably for the worse.
Really? That, to me, seems like the kind of thing that could really backfire. Do you have any examples of this actually happening, or is it just something you sense?

Also, FS Santa Barbara isn't 5 stars worthy? When did that happen?
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Old Aug 8, 19, 1:36 pm
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Originally Posted by manku View Post
Really? That, to me, seems like the kind of thing that could really backfire. Do you have any examples of this actually happening, or is it just something you sense?

Also, FS Santa Barbara isn't 5 stars worthy? When did that happen?
I stayed at FS Santa Barbara, indeed a very basic hotel, more a youth hostel If I remember correctly I was escorted by one of the bell boys to reception. Also I had never the experience I had to tipp for something. Of course they accepted with pleasure but never had the impression they asked for it.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by manku View Post
Really? That, to me, seems like the kind of thing that could really backfire. Do you have any examples of this actually happening, or is it just something you sense?

Also, FS Santa Barbara isn't 5 stars worthy? When did that happen?
It may have 5 stars from some marketing organization, but it's most certainly not a 5* property if you reserve that term for the most refined and luxurious properties in the world.

Don't get me wrong, it's a perfectly nice place, but it's hardly the best of the best of the best.
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