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Should I try tipping the Front Desk Agent

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Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
posts: 2,990
reviews: 78
Should I try tipping the Front Desk Agent

Here in the states, slipping the front desk agent a $20 bill at check in (following polite pleasantries of course) can go a long way.

Would the same gesture work in Seville? Staying 2 nights at Hotel Alfonso XIII...booked at a rate of 285 eur/night including 2 daily breakfasts, champagne and flowers direct from their website. I booked the basic "deluxe" 2 singles.

Ideally, I'd like a deluxe view suite (or even a junior suite, which is a considerable upgrade. Do you thing giving the front desk agent 20 EUR or even 50 EUR would maybe get me the upgrade, assuming I am pleasant beforehand?

Anyone try this? Or have any thoughts in general? I'd love to hear what you think!

Brisbane, Australia
posts: 949
reviews: 4
1. Re: Should I try tipping the Front Desk Agent

That sounds different from a "tip" right - claimed to be given for exceptional service?

So you are starting your visit with a bribe? I'd say he'd either be your slave or highly offended - your choice. Well, not really - his choice actually. Bet they get that a lot in one of Seville's top hotels.

It'll certainly get you noticed - and help to create some expectations among the rest of the staff. "Must be more where that came from" would be the impression they might get, do you think?

At least we know how things get done in Arlington.

Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
posts: 2,990
reviews: 78
2. Re: Should I try tipping the Front Desk Agent

Ouch! That's a little offensive. Call it whatever you want....Perhaps you should read Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky ---an all-around great book on the hospitality industry---but back on point, he worked Front Desk and said that any time a guest would hand over a CC with a $20 bill placed below it, he would punch buttons and give them the best room he could. A $20 tip in for 20-30 seconds work is much appreciated to the minimum wage desk worker (or to him, at least). I also learned that tipping the bellman a few $ and taking your own luggage will make you pretty well liked. But that's enough on the book. It's worth a read.

With that said, I have tried this practice in five-star hotels in the US (FS, RC) to much avail. You call it a bribe, I call it tipping the person who controls the fate of my entire hotel stay....someone who never gets tipped half as often as other hotel employees yet is probably the most important interaction you'll have on your stay. I just wondered if this tipping practice has any success in other cities or if it would be perceived differently there.

Lennoxtown
posts: 1,768
reviews: 2
3. Re: Should I try tipping the Front Desk Agent

Tipping is not part of the Spanish culture. Locals will leave a few cents or round up to the nearest euro. It is customary for a waiter to bring you the bill and to walk away, leaving you free to do as you wish, if you choose not to tip there will be no hard feelings and you will be treated no differently if you choose to return to the same establishment. I generally leave a small tip in bars as this makes me feel more comfortable, however, I have found in rural Andalucía a tip is not looked for and can sometimes cause embarrassment.

Saludos. Lindsay

Sevilla
posts: 734
4. Re: Should I try tipping the Front Desk Agent

I think that the guy would feel insulted. He is a professional and will do his job to the best of his ability come what may. A small tip in appreciation as you leave might be appreciated.

Brussels, Belgium
Destination Expert
for Seville
posts: 2,855
reviews: 23
5. Re: Should I try tipping the Front Desk Agent

short answer: I wouldn't try it.

long answer: it's a cultural difference, but in Europe in general (and especially in France/Belgium and to a certain degree in Spain), client is not always right, and money cannot take you anywhere. There are limits, and one of them is fairness to other customers and way of treating employees. And this gesture could be perceived as breaching both domains, indeed interpreted as offensive.

Vinuela, Spain
posts: 3,550
reviews: 36
6. Re: Should I try tipping the Front Desk Agent

Similar replies on your identical post tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g187514-i126-k61…

Edited: 4:04 am, February 18, 2013
Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
posts: 2,990
reviews: 78
7. Re: Should I try tipping the Front Desk Agent

Thanks. I was wondering for both cities (in Barcelona splurged and booked an upper tier room class, so didn't apply there) and the responses have been similar from both threads. Seems US practices are very different from Spain...will go in with a smile and see what happens! Thanks for all your help.

Aguadulce, Spain
Destination Expert
for Almeria, Province of Almeria, Province of Almeria
posts: 778
reviews: 85
8. Re: Should I try tipping the Front Desk Agent

arlingtonman

your post a#2 ---------------------- 'Ouch! That's a little offensive'.--------

I take it you now have the fact firmly in mind that it is a cultural difference, betwwen USA and Europe, or indeed most of the world.

The fact is, as has been pointed out above, that it would be youself that would possible be seen as being offensive in doing what you suggest and the post at #1 ( an Australian) is far from offensive but actualy a little tongue in cheek way of showing you how it is percieved by everyone else non american. I hope that, if you did take offence, you now at least understand where it was comming from, and can see that even that post was intended to be helpful.

9. Re: Should I try tipping the Front Desk Agent

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