Staff Tipping at out of State Lodges - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-04-2012, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Staff Tipping at out of State Lodges

I just returned from an excellent fishing trip to Belize over the hollidays and I wanted to bounce something off the members here to see if I am over reacting or not.

First I have been to several lodges both in California and in Oregon and I expected to tip the Guiides every day for their service aside from what the lodge pays them (No problem there).

But it seems that in out of the State lodges the staff have all gone to the same staff service school by that I mean they all seem to say the same thing and I quote "We ask for tips so that we can give you great service". As an example my next trip is out of state and the cost to get there, fish for 5 days and fly back to California for one adult and two children is close to $15,000 for 5 days fishing, the lodge alone is about $12,500.00. and does not include the cost of the puddle jumper to get from the Airport to the pickup/transfer spot which for 3 people is another $2,100.00 for 3 prople.

The trip confirmation letter that I received back from the lodge indicates that the recomended tip for staff $650.00 per person. The lodge is allready costing me about $2,000.00 per day and if I followed through with this I expect the 5 day trip to cost a little less than $18,000.00, I don't want to seem like a tightwad but this all seems a bit steep to me since you only find out about the staff tipping until after the reservation is made what do you think?

My personal opinion is that using what the lodge charges as the basis for the tip seems to lead to a very large amount that might be acceptble if the Lodge rate were a lot lower but it seems almost as if I am paying the salaries of the staff twice, once throught the amount charged by the lodge and the other through the tip mechanism.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-04-2012, 05:03 PM
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A $130/day tip?? Not hardly.
Gary
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-04-2012, 05:25 PM
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tell them where to stick it. tipping is for good service what if you have bad service all week
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 05:21 PM
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That's a ridiculous number. In Africa where we were staying at a beautiful camp setting, laundry was done daily, every need was catered to etc, I think we left around $150 total for camp staff for 5 days for TWO of us. That was recommended by the Owners. On a hunt in Africa we were there for 10 days, camp staff cooked did laundry etc, and I think it was around $100 total.

I think in Brazil its around $300 total for a week of fishing to camp staff and $300 for your guide.

TIPPING IS NOT MANDATORY. Its appreciated, especially for guides, but I would leave MAYBE $200 for camp staff, but those numbers are totally asinine.

I continue to hold a guide license, and appreciate the $$$ at the end of the day, but good service should be given NO MATTER WHAT. Tipping shouldn't be required for good service.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 07:09 PM
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If the guides end up sucking why would you want to tip for bad service? you've already invested a good chunk of change. Seems to me that the outfitter wants you to foot the bill they're supposed to be giving their guides.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 07:42 PM
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sorry but.......

If you dont want to tip.........dont go.............but if you do go, tip what is recommended by the establishment or more +++. Im sure the people servicing you could really use the money. Im not trying to start a debate and im not trying to blast anyone ( I love you all :-) ) the threads so far come off at least to me a little odd. 18,000$ vacations ( more than alot of people make in year ) world traveling, safaris, people washing your clothes. i agree service should be good without tipping. but everyone has bad days someone could be grouchy maybe there mom just died who knows. If i dont like the service i still tip but i can choose not to return to that establishment or you can complain and if enough people complain that employee will get fired and the service has a chance to improve.Then theres always the golden rule if you can honestly put yourself in one of the lowly paid staff members shoes and you can picture yourself servicing the guests needs all week then at the end not getting tipped, and then being super stoke about it. then by all means dont tip. Thanks for your time.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 08:46 PM
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I tip bonefish guides (that are running their own skiffs) $40/day and I'm the high tipper at the camp. I tip my atlantic salmon guide $250/week. Everyone seems quite happy with those numbers. $600 is just freakin' stoopid, donkeyhunter. And, for the record, I make less per year than my atlantic salmon guides do.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 09:27 PM
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Guide and lodge Owner's take

The never ending tip debate, how much to tip and when. I guess as a professional guide since i was 17 years old and now a lodge owner/Guide and 46 years old I look at it like this. There are many different levels of guides/Lodges and services in the fly fishing industry, If your paying a guide $300 for the day for guided fishing only $50-$75 is pretty fair, Buy paying $1000 a day for a top end full lodge,Meals and fishing package, that is not enough as the cooks,Hostesses,Cleaning girls and maintenance staff deserve to be treated fairly also. We have a very simple rule grade the trip and tip according.
A- to A+ = 15-20%
B =10-15 %
c = 7-10%

If the overall trip is less than a c then you should be talking to an owner by now anyway before you let it get this far and so crappy. Dont suffer in silence give someone a chance to fix any problems before they get really bad. As for the fishing it is fishing not catching and on tough days most great guides work much harder and deserve a better tip than a cake walk day of just putting there time in.

I guess in Short a 10-20% overall gratuity is very normal in todays society, considering restaurants get 15-20% regularly for an hour of service.

SO if you stay at a top end lodge,have guided fishing, sleep in a daily cleaned cabin, are served 3 meals daily from a smiling young lady who goes out of her way to make you feel special, What is it worth its worth allot to me when i take a vacation for people to go above and beyond there job duties for a guest.
These people wait on you folks 12-16 hours a day and kiss your feet. And go out of there way to make you have a great time. Yes they get paid a decent salary anyway my staff does, but the benefits suck. but i can assure you that every guide, cleaning girl/Cook or hostess does appreciate a tip and works very hard for it at our facilities. And when the next client shows up and is demanding things and being difficult, it is allot easier to stomach them and keep smiling knowing its not just a job, but guest's truly appreciate your service and you going out of your way for them on there dream trip of a lifetime. I will tell everyone out there and a few of you cheapskates wont like it, but if you can afford to go on a $10-$20K trip for 5-7 days what are you whining about spending another 15% gratuity to be split between guides,cooks cleaning girls and Mechanics at a high end lodge.

I guess i just have 1 question if you go out to a nice restaurant and pay $100 for a nice dinner for you and your wife what do you tip. The right answer is 15-20%. Its normal and expected!

If the service sucks and the food is horrible maybe nothing or 5% thats how i roll.

1 short story that some of you may be able to relate too, many years ago we had a group of texas oilmen come to our lodge the retail trip was $4200 per week pp back then, they negotiated the trip down to $3800pp for the 8 of them, they had a great trip left great reviews on our guest comment sheet when they left graded everything an A, The cheapos left $300 per person gratuity and then got on there private jet that cost $27,000 to fly home.

so $300x8=2400 tip divided by 4 guides, 1 chef, 1 hostess, 1 housekeeper and a dish washer. So each staff member got a $300 tip for 7 days work x 12 hours a day of service or 84 hours of work. I guess what im getting at things are all relative to where you are,what kind of a trip you got and your financial position in life. If a guy only makes 40k a year then a $400-600 tip for a week for a staff of 6-8 to split is substancial, but when many people are making 100k-300k a year taking these trips they spend more money on valet parking at there country clubs and Drinks for the night and don't think twice. I guess it boils down to doing what's right, as good things come to good people who care and show appreciation for others. And don't treat people less fortunate to them like slaves and servants with no gratitude.

If a guest comes to our Wilderness fly in lodge and rates it an A or B for overall trip and doesn't plan on leaving at least a 10% gratuity for the staff total to split , then they should probably just stay home or go somewhere else where this is acceptable. Just my thoughts and opinion.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 01:22 AM
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agreed, good post ^^^^

nuthin left to do but smile, smile, smile!!!

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 09:25 AM
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I feel your pain, but

Especially when you are paying for family it can feel painful to read this expectation. I think I prefer knowing to guessing. One must pay more to get more. There is a pretty good chance you will have a wonderful "catered too" experience, no mater what you tip.
It is a guideline, and may be an expectation of the lodge, but ultimately it is your choice. Having been to a lot of lodges over the last 50+ years, something north of $100/day is now ballpark for a really full service lodge. Your lodge is saying 130. I would factor in that they are maintaining only one room, but that is quite a small element.
Wait, it gets worse: Wait till you are expected by daughters to pay the ticket for their boyfriends!
Have a great trip and don't let the tip piece mess with your head. If I were you I'd be planning for &1500, and touch it up a bit if there was really something special. Maybe give to one standout separate from the main amount.
One last thing: Bringing and giving or, even better, sending a gift to you guide or the lodge has been win win.
Have a great trip shared with the kids,please.

Loc

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by locvetter View Post
Especially when you are paying for family it can feel painful to read this expectation. I think I prefer knowing to guessing. One must pay more to get more. There is a pretty good chance you will have a wonderful "catered too" experience, no mater what you tip.
It is a guideline, and may be an expectation of the lodge, but ultimately it is your choice. Having been to a lot of lodges over the last 50+ years, something north of $100/day is now ballpark for a really full service lodge. Your lodge is saying 130. I would factor in that they are maintaining only one room, but that is quite a small element.
Wait, it gets worse: Wait till you are expected by daughters to pay the ticket for their boyfriends!
Have a great trip and don't let the tip piece mess with your head. If I were you I'd be planning for &1500, and touch it up a bit if there was really something special. Maybe give to one standout separate from the main amount.
One last thing: Bringing and giving or, even better, sending a gift to you guide or the lodge has been win win.
Have a great trip shared with the kids,please.
can i date your daughter????
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 03:09 PM
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A sense of value

It is so complicated >
.
Some countries, you do not tip!
.
Some places, you do not tip!
  • We do not tip store clerks for good service? If you buy a digital camera for 2000% + lens, do you contribute 300$ to the salesperson who help you guide you on an important decision?
  • Should we be tipping the fine sponsors here for keeping this open, in addition to recognize and rewarding them with business. Should I add 20% to my payment to Bob for the next fine rod he delivers.
  • Do you tip your butcher for the fine cut or fishmonger for some good haddock? et cetera to ensure you had a great and safe meal.
  • Why not?
Is the frustration tied to a sense of value and openness?an after the fact charge?
  • like airlines with surcharges for fuel, baggage, airports fees, counties with tourist taxes.
  • Maybe you are feeling you are being deceived?.
  • Cannot the price be the price?
Reward or an expectation?
  • It is communicated such that it fills an obligation and you are expecting to do what the employeer is suppose to do - pay the worker a fair wage!
  • Your work hard every day, do you get a 20% (probably tax free tip)? (assumes you are not a CEO or banker).
Social Justice?
  • Maybe it is a sense of value, and you wonder what am I paying for anyway, as a tip. Does this mean the outfitter intentionally does not want to provide a fair working wage? Is this right, the outfitter is exploiting the guides, the cooks, et cetera.
  • This is not intended to be the fighting words it can seem, but in the continuous expectation / norm that a tip has to be provided and the institution relies-communicates and advocates for rewarding the employee for what we do every day - work hard - you question why. I guess, this is why the question keeps coming back.
Oh yes, I was raised to tip, and taught my girls the same. So I tip my guides, my barber and will tip for good service at a restuarant, in countries, where this is an accepted norm. I do some willingly, but as times, I have those feelings expressed above.
.
I said enough
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 04:46 PM
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Aleutiansteel,

I really appreciate your post. I think the reason a tip debate even exists is because the situation is both confusing and frustrating. At least that is what it is for me as an occasional lodge and guide client. I think reading Raspberry-patch's post does an excellent job of explaining that confusion and frustration.

I don't tip my plumber, electrician, or carpenters who built my house, and I very much appreciate the outstanding work they did. I tip my guide who is self-employed and sets his own rates just as I tip the guide who works for a lodge and does not set his own wage, although it could be said he did by accepting the job.

As a lodge owner you could set your rates such that decent - in the relative sense - wages are paid to all your guides and other lodge help so that no one is dependent on tips as part of their income. That way guests feel no pressure to tip anyone, but can choose to do so strictly as an act of appreciation for the service received, and not feel compelled to get out a calculator to review what % is being left for any specific service. And if no tip is left, none of the staff need feel shorted for the effort they put into their work. My finish carpenter will happily work for me again although he received no tip from me for his previous work.

And not everyone who takes a special fishing trip once a year is making $100 - 300K. At 15-20%, tips can be a significant part of the cost of that once a year trip for working class anglers. Again I appreciate that you shared your thoughts with us, and if I am fortunate enough to book a trip to your lodge, I know in advance what unwritten costs are expected.

Sg
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 05:54 PM
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oh yea .. tip a guide who is?

Another confusing > I have had guides who are independent, part of an outfitter and owner-operator of the outfitter. Yeck, 20% to all?

Be honest, I also look at going rates and keep this in mind to, and since I am a repeat customer for some, consider rate changes, et cetera.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 12:03 PM
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Tipping

Again, I didn't start or make the rules on tipping when i started working in the fishing business I was a first mate on the back of a charter boat in the late 70's I made $50 a day and usually got another $50 a day in tips for doing a great job and making the day a special one for the gues'ts , In 1985 when i started guiding in Bristolbay Alaska at a well known flyout lodge this was the norm already set then, I guess it all boils down to one's opinion on the matter and i respect everyones thoughts I was just trying to clear things up a bit from a top lodge and Guides perspective. And as for paying a decent wage All the top lodges that i am aware of pay a very fair wage, but as in many jobs Top service and positive results are rewarded and appreciated. Like i said before there is a big difference of a guide showing up at 8am in a parking smelling like a brewery and a skunk patch taking you for a boat ride and then dropping you off at 4pm to go back to the Super 8 and grab a burger at Micky Dees, vs a truly proffessional Guide and a 5-7 day full service flyfishing high end vacation.
Take Care and have a safe winter fishing wish you all the best.
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