June 24, 2014

Americans Most Gratuitous When It Comes To Tipping On Vacation, According To TripAdvisor Survey

Fifty-Six Percent of U.S. Respondents Think Tipping is Expected; One Third Have Felt Obligated to Leave a Tip Despite Poor Service

NEWTON, Mass., June 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- TripAdvisor®, the world's largest travel site*, today announced the results of its tipping survey of more than 25,000 respondents, including 3,700 from the U.S. The survey revealed that 60 percent of U.S. respondents always tip for service on vacation, compared to the 27 percent average of seven other countries included in the poll—Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, and the U.K.

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Americans are Top Tippers
Here's a look at respondents who said they "always" tip for service while on vacation:

Americans - 60%
Germans - 49%
Brazilians - 33%
Spanish - 30%
Russians - 28%
British - 26%
French - 15%
Italians - 11%

Tipping Influences for U.S. Travelers
Nearly one quarter (23 percent) of U.S. respondents tend to feel guilty if they don't tip, and 34 percent have left a tip despite poor service because they felt obligated. Other reasons Americans leave something extra:

  • 56% think tipping is expected
  • 54% tip when staff meet basic expectations
  • 53% tip if staff go the extra mile

Of the 40 percent of U.S. respondents who don't always leave a tip on vacation, the main reasons for not tipping include: service didn't meet their expectations (55 percent), while 20 percent think the tip is included in the bill.

Services Travelers Typically Tip
When it comes to tipping, here's a look at the staff and services that U.S. survey respondents most often compensate:

Hotel staff U.S. travelers tip:

Service U.S. travelers tip:

Bellman / porter - 79%

Restaurant staff - 97%

Room service - 73%

Taxi driver - 81%

Bartender - 71%

Tour operator / guide - 73%

Housekeeping - 69%

Spa staff - 54%

Valet - 48%

Café barista - 22%

Hotel staff travelers are least likely to tip: gym staff (2%), pool staff (9%), concierge (26%).

Travelers' Top Service Qualities
Helpfulness, friendliness, and politeness of service were the three most important qualities for travelers whether staying at a hotel or dining at a restaurant. Helpful service ranked as the most important factor for travelers at hotels, while friendliness was the service priority at restaurants. 

International Tipping Customs
When it comes to tipping abroad, more than one quarter (26 percent) of U.S. respondents said they rarely know what's expected and they adjust their approach to tipping:

  • 45% vary the tip amount based on expectations in the country
  • 17% said the amount of tip is dependent on the level of service
  • 13% generally tip 20% of the total bill
  • 11% generally tip 15% of the total bill
  • 5% generally tip 10% of the total bill

Tipping Tidbits

  • 33% think it would be better if tips were included in the bill
  • 19% report that a tipping situation has ruined their experience
  • 19% said a member of staff has asked them to give a tip

"The TripAdvisor survey shows the majority of U.S. travelers tip on vacation, regardless of the quality of service," said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. "While friendliness and helpfulness are the most important qualities that influence tipping behavior, cultural norms are also a significant factor."

About TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor® is the world's largest travel site*, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching nearly 260 million unique monthly visitors**, and more than 150 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 41 countries worldwide, including China under daodao.com. TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to millions of monthly TripAdvisor visitors.

TripAdvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIP) manages and operates websites under 23 other travel media brands: www.airfarewatchdog.com, www.bookingbuddy.com, www.cruisecritic.com, www.everytrail.com, www.familyvacationcritic.com, www.flipkey.com, www.gateguru.com, www.holidaylettings.co.uk, www.holidaywatchdog.com, www.independenttraveler.com, www.jetsetter.com, www.lafourchette.com, www.niumba.com,  www.onetime.com, www.oyster.com, www.seatguru.com, www.smartertravel.com, www.tingo.comwww.travelpod.com, www.tripbod.com, www.vacationhomerentals.com, www.virtualtourist.com, and www.kuxun.cn

*Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, Q1 2014

**Source: Google Analytics, average monthly unique users, Q1 2014; does not include traffic to daodao.com

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SOURCE TripAdvisor

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