Tipping a Concierge: When, who and how much should you tip

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Concierge Photo

Should You Tip Your Hotel Concierge?

When traveling, it’s important to know the local customs. This is especially true in areas where the cultural standards may not be explicitly stated. In the United States, tipping can be one of those standards. Though there is an extensive history behind the custom of tipping, many people are not aware of it.

Even if some people are aware of it, they still might not understand it fully. For example, many people assume that those working for tips are simply working at minimum wage. However, this isn’t necessarily the case – tipped positions often allow employers to pay employees even less, meaning that many work for significantly less than minimum wage. When this is the case, employees rely on tips to help them get by.

Hotel concierges are often affected by the pay cuts,  even though their role often expects them to go above and beyond for hotel guests, more than just answering phone calls. Concierges are often utilized for trickier tasks, such as getting tickets for hard-to-book attractions, or reservations at busy restaurants. As a result of this, the life of a concierge becomes quite busy, trying to balance difficult tasks to satisfy each guest to ensure they had the best stay possible.

Even as an American, you might not be familiar with all of the nuances surrounding tipping your concierge. This is why we’ve created this guide below, answering the most common questions hotel guests have when it comes to tipping their concierge.

How Much Should You Tip Your Concierge?

If you are somebody who travels or dines in the US frequently, then you’re likely familiar with the average tipping percentages of 15-20% for good service, and 10-15% minimum even for lackluster service. Using this rule of thumb is simple for services such as food, where you have a bill to base your tipping estimate off of, but what do you do when there is no direct bill for the service you’re tipping for?

As there’s often no bill for concierges, you shouldn’t focus on a percentage tip – instead, train yourself to gauge how difficult the task they performed for you was.

For example, if the concierge picks up the phone and books you an easy-to-get restaurant, then you shouldn’t feel pressured to tip too much. A simple reservation could warrant a tip of $5-10. But if the location is incredibly difficult to book, and they successfully get you a booking, then a more significant tip is warranted, such as $25-40.

However, if you’re somebody that prefers to use a percentage instead of relying on your own internal gauge, consider tipping using a percentage of the estimated spend at the location booked. For example, if they booked a show for you to attend, you could give the concierge 20% of the ticket price.

Even though these situations are often self-explanatory, we’ve put together a few examples of concierges going above-and-beyond (and wherefore warranting a larger tip):

  • You’ve lost a child inside the hotel and the concierge helps you find them
  • You’ve missed your flight or changed your plans and the concierge assists in booking a new flight
  • The event you’re looking to attend is sold out, but the concierge helps you find tickets elsewhere

These are all moments where you’d want to tip your concierge a larger amount to show them that you are truly appreciative of the extra work they have put in.

Of course, tipping can also vary by state due to the minimum wage being different all around the country. Because of this, you should adjust your tips based on where you are. Don’t be afraid to do research into the wage laws of where you’re going so you can have an idea of how much to tip a concierge.

Some states also have different customs for how much to tip a concierge. Hawaii and Washington, D.C. are both examples of this, having general tipping rates that are lower than 15% (14.8% and 14.9%, respectively). On the opposite side of the spectrum, states with the highest tipping customs include West Virginia and Idaho (17.3% and 17.4%, respectively).

If you are dealing with a bill and want to avoid doing too much mental math while traveling, using a concierge tipping calculator is always helpful. Having a concierge tipping calculator on your side always means you’ll be giving accurate tips without human error!

Recommended Tip Amount Table

When to Tip Your Concierge?

It’s important to note that in most places, it’s expected that you tip your concierge unless they provide bad service or disrupt your stay (for example, directing you to incorrect locations such as parts of the hotel or places in town), you should at least give them something to show that you value their hard work and service.

As for the precise time that you should tip your concierge, it’s recommended to tip them at the end of your interaction to show immediate appreciation for the task they’ve completed for you. Tipping after the interaction also prevents you from undervaluing or overvaluing the task that was completed. For example, if you were to tip them $5-10 for booking a restaurant, but they went above and beyond to get the reservation, you’d have undervalued the service performed by tipping too soon.

If you’ve accidentally tipped at the wrong point of interaction and ended up tipping too little, you can simply give the concierge more money at the end of your interaction.

 If you’re somebody who prefers to pay a lump sum at the end of your trip, keep track of your various interactions and tip them on your way out, though it is worth noting that letting the concierge know that you’re tipping them for the interactions will usually reward you with more positive outcomes.

One of the biggest questions travelers wonder is whether or not they should be tipping for poor service. The general answer is still “yes”, but it’s more complicated than you might think. If you receive a service that is truly horrendous, then you can still tip little amounts to communicate your frustration. This is because many people who don’t tip at all for bad service often forget that workers might be earning lower than minimum wage, and why it’s recommended to familiarize yourself with local labor laws before giving low tips.

It’s also worth taking into account tipping your concierge based on their effort, not just on the results. If the concierge spends an entire day in and out of phone calls to get you a reservation at a deluxe restaurant but is ultimately unsuccessful, you should still tip them. Though it can be easy to blame the concierge for not getting the reservation, you should be aware that sometimes it truly is out of their control. Training yourself to recognize the effort the concierge is putting into any given task can make it easier to gauge your tip.

How to Tip a Concierge

How you tip your concierge depends on the hotel you’re staying at. Here are a few methods to tip a concierge:

  • Cash: Tipping with cash directly is usually the easiest method, it’s quite discreet but relies on you having physical cash with you at the time (and correct change at that)
  • App: Using a tipping app such as etip allows you to forget about having correct change with you, and tip your concierge whenever you like – before, during or after your interaction 

In the event that you can’t find your concierge and want to give a tip to them on your way out, go to the front desk and let them know that you want the tip to go directly to your concierge!

In Conclusion

Tipping a concierge is an important part of any stay at a hotel. You not only show them how much you appreciate their hard work but also lay the foundation for even better experiences in the future.

Though tipping can be a complex concept depending on which state you’re in, a baseline tip of 15-20% is recommended, depending on the experience you have. If you don’t have a bill to calculate that with, assume about $5-10 for each task with truly extraordinary services getting $25-40. No matter what you tip, be sure the tip goes directly to your concierge.

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