Designing The Guest Experience

The 'Tipaholic' Attitude of the Hotelier - By Osvaldo Torres Cruz


The hotel industry is, undoubtedly, a leading one in terms the creation of direct and indirect jobs and, therefore, one of the most solicited in the present labor market.

Some of the reasons why so many people are interested in working in a hotel, in terms of personal benefits, are:

- Job security.

- Learning/training.

- Personal and professional development.

However, we cannot fail to mention one of the most controversial factors related to our industry, the extra earnings one can obtain, about which there are so many stories, myths and facts, namely: the guests´ tips.

A tip (Sp. propina, from Lt, propinare, meaning ´give a drink´), is a relatively small amount of money given by clients for services rendered. In most places, the client decides whether to tip nor not, and the amount to tip. Although this fully depends on our clients, there are hoteliers who are ´specialized´ on encouraging this behavior, because getting a tip is their main goal in the hotel, so we call them ¨tipaholic¨

How could we detect a ¨tipaholic¨ hotelier ? Through certain aptitudes and attitudes shown by some typical linguistic expressions such as:

- Excessive lust for money and power.

- He/she assesses his/her job efficiency depending on the extra earnings:

        ¨I am as good and capable as the amount of tips I get. ¨

- Limited interpersonal relations with the rest of the co-workers, and a tendency to work alone so as not to share or loose his/her ¨source of income¨:

      ¨This guest is mine, so I don´t share him/her with anybody else. ¨

- Rejection to do anything that does not generate some economic earnings.

    ¨This is a waste of time or a voluntary work. ¨

- At the end of the day, they assess their job performance and success according to their daily earnings.

     ¨Today was a really profitable day. ¨

- By the way they talk about or consider their clients, using a terminology that depends on their individual cultural level:

   ¨This is a really elegant, kind and free-handed guest. ¨

- By their capacity to pay closer attention to some guest-related info which he/she can use to predict his/her potential earnings through tipping, such as:

a) nationality;

b) age;

c) travel agency they travel by;

d) the look of the client.

- By their inconsistency at work, because once they attain their goal, they do not attend the client the same way:

¨I have already made my day. ¨

The most interesting aspect of this worker´s profile is that they are not aware of the capacity of others, who have also been clients at a given time, to detect them. They have a made-up attitude, plenty of lust and sensory inconsistencies, which makes them be easily detected by the guests.

I do not want to finish this paper without referring to the fact that, unfortunately, some hotel companies encourage this type of dysfunctional attitudes towards excellence by considering tipping as a determining factor in the amount of salary to pay to their workers, because we have frequently heard the following statement in job interviews:

 ¨I pay you a low salary, because the tips are big and so you can fill the gap. ¨

In my work experience, I can assure that the least we base our performance on extra earnings from tipping, the better and stronger relations we will establish with our clients and, therefore the better and greater recognition we will get from them. As Facundo Cabral, an Argentinian composer-cum-singer, poet and philosopher said:

¨Free yourself from anxiety, think of what should be, will be and will happen in a natural way.

Osvaldo Torres Cruz

Experiential Hospitality Consultancy

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