Have you ever walked into a shop, paid for your purchase and, as the cashier hands back your change, he or she glances at the tip jar and looks at you expectantly?
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With tip jars popping up everywhere, knowing who should receive a tip and how much to give isn’t always clear. Now consider the world of meeting planning and the seemingly endless number of people with whom we interact. Who do we tip? How much do we give? Who is covered in the mandatory service charges? It’s enough to make you want to stay home. Until now. Here are our top tips on tipping at meetings and events.
Tipping guidelines for meeting organizers and event planners
- Include a gratuities line in your budget.
- Arrive with a system and forms that thoroughly document and outline your gratuity process.
- Write a standard gratuity letter on which you insert the person’s name and gratuity amount.
- Create a spreadsheet to document to whom you gave money, their title and how much they received.
- Create a corresponding spreadsheet for recipients’ signatures. Have your Corporate Services Management (CSM) collect signatures as gratuity envelopes are handed out.
- Include clear, simple directions on the form on where to fax or send the signature page once it’s complete.
- Assign a partner who will be with you every time cash is handled. Make sure you both sign and verify all forms.
- Find out whether the hotel will do a “paid out” to the master or if you have to do a “paid in” before arriving.
- Determine whether there’s a service charge for receiving cash and either budget for that amount or find another way to obtain the necessary cash.
- Create a form to track how many bills you need of each denomination so after you determine who gets what, you know the denomination of bills you need.
- Confirm that the hotel has safety deposit boxes in which to keep the cash. If not, take the paid out the last day of the program.
- Confirm that hotel employees can accept cash gratuities. If not, give a gift in line with the gratuity amount.
- Ask your CSM for the names and titles of everyone associated with your program as well as the number of housemen assigned so you don’t forget anyone.
- For exceptional service, letters to the general manager or a corporate vice president commending personnel go a long way.
- When considering who should receive gratuities, ask your team who they want to include and why. They may have additions to your “must thank” list.
- Think back to who offered to do more than asked, who was visible throughout your program, who was always smiling and who truly earned the gratuity.
- When determining amounts, consider the number of days and hours worked on the event.
- Handle gratuities in a private place or lock the door of the staff office and keep it off-limits while you’re working with cash. A little precaution goes a long way.
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Remember that gratuities are earned. You do not have to offer them to those who did only what they were expected to do, nor are you obligated to offer them at all. They are at your discretion and are based on your budget. Do what makes sense to you.
Want more guidance? Email me at Christy.email@example.com, and I’ll send you a tip guidelines chart.
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