Different folks, different tips.
In my luxury property, we have guests from all walks of life (depending on the day and the season) and some have never had such a top drawer experience and may not be accustomed to tipping. Additionally, many international guests may be unfamiliar with U.S. customs and are less likely to tip me for any task, whether it is difficult, time consuming or otherwise.
Should the request match the tip?
In my years at the desk, I've received as little as nothing (most of the time) and as much as $200 (twice). While some may think the more challenging the request, the greater the gratuity left, that is not always the case. I carry out each task with the expectation that I will receive nothing, so I am that much more pleased when that extra appreciative guest comes along. I always do what I can to go the extra mile, pull strings and make the guest feel both valued and important.
Going the extra mile.
Calling ahead, or at times, on the day of arrival, and having me plan out your entire stay takes a lot of time and effort and most concierges would likely expect $20 or so. Similarly, although the hotel does not employ a personal shopper per se, it is the often the job of the concierge to fill that role when needed. Whether the item requested is a simple clothing item, a sold-out game system or a doll, knowing the right people in retail can separate one concierge from the rest. This at times may mean me laying out my own money (or credit) on behalf of the guest and as such, the guest is that much more inclined to tip accordingly. In my experience, securing iPads or iPhones when availability is scarce will often yield a gratuity between $20 and $50.
When not to tip?
Giving directions to a nearby retail store or restaurant, printing directions or in some case reservations and other area recommendations, I, like many concierges in my segment, would likely not expect a gratuity. Simple tasks are just that: simple, and as far as I'm concerned, do not warrant a tip.
Don't tip like Macaulay Culkin.
Also, when I say “tipping” I mean currency: cold, hard cash. The kind of thing that people use to pay bills and buy lunch. All will recall child actor Macaulay Culkin gifting Rob Schneider’s Plaza Hotel bellman character with a stick of gum in the 90s film Home Alone. I never have my hand out, nor should anyone in my position, but items like BIC pens, gum or mints are better kept to yourself rather than being offered as a gratuity. This goes for all in the hospitality industry: bellmen, doormen, servers, etc. If you can't afford it, don't do it. #JustSayin
Concierges and guests alike, have your own Tips On Tips to add? Do so in the comments below!