NZ Hotel 10% gratuity???

Nov 16th, 2004, 06:16 PM
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NZ Hotel 10% gratuity???

While booking at a couple of the hotels at NZ, I noticed a phrase "gratuity not included". One (could it be a B&B? I forgot - sorry I have looked into too many options) goes even as far as a suggested 10% gratuity at check out.

So what is the general tipping practices at hotels? (apart from tipping bell boys.)

katkat is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 06:30 PM
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Hi Kat,
I am a New Zealander and have never tipped at any hotel or b&b in New Zealand.
We have a legal Minimum Wage which ensures all employees are paid a fair wage so tipping is not essential to survival.

Most NZers aren't in the habit of tipping but I guess overseas travellers are so used to it that it is second nature to tip.

Don't bother about it, I only tip when visiting the USA or countries where tipping is part of the employees wages.

Christa is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 07:00 PM
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Christa's absolutely right. I haven't seen that phrase used in NZ hotels and can only assume the ones you've checked are hoping to skim a little extra off unwary visitors - not a good sign, IMO.

You can safely assume that while tips will usually be accepted (after all, how many people knock back free money?) as a rule they're NOT expected. If you feel like adding a small amount (10% max) for service above and beyond the call of duty you may, but you should NOT be made to feel uncomfortable about not tipping. To repeat Christa's point, staff are not reliant on tips to pay the rent. Same goes for Australia.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 07:02 PM
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BTW, bell boys also get paid. I'm talking about Australia here, but I'm sure the same applies in NZ.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 07:38 PM
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Thanks for the info and reassurance.

Actually I stumbled across the phrase just now again - this time it's with Crowne Plaza Christchurch!?

In the "room & rate info" page, it says, quote:


In this case my guess is that they're using a worldwide system and that some countries do add gratuity charges. ?

katkat is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 08:11 PM
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I saw what you are referring to. Could that be a mistake?

FYI - Wotif rates are "tax inclusive."
Jed is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 08:17 PM
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I agree with everyone on this, ignore any reference to gratuity although by all means if the service has exceeded your expectations go ahead and tip the waiter/waitress or the establishment. That said, it needs to be pretty special to warrant a tip.

I used to feel very uncomfortable when in the US trying to determine what would be an appropriate tip for restaurants, bell boys, valet attendants, etc. It's a very confronting environment when you are simply not accustomed to how the system works. Now I just add 15% to everything (20% for exceptional service) and keep a wad of US$1 & US$5 notes handy. As they say, "when in Rome"...! Ultimately, I enjoy my time there so much more. Oh, and budget for it when planning trips there!

I sincerely hope NZ (& AUS) retains its unique identity with regards to tipping.

ghostboy is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 09:19 PM
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The 12.5% TAX mentioned will be GST which is a government tax added to all Goods and Services in New Zealand.

The Gratuities ???
Not too sure why they would even mention that.
Christa is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 09:20 PM
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So do I not even have to tip bell boys? Or taxi drivers?
katkat is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 09:22 PM
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No need to tip the bellboys or drivers at all unless you personally want to.

In cabs, I generally round up the price to the nearest dollar or two rather than hang around for change.
Christa is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 10:55 PM
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you don't have to tip anyone in NZ - not taxis, hotel staff or waiters. Some of the big flash hotels will include a "service charge" line on bills but don't feel like you have to fill them in. I have always thought that that line was for US visitors who can't cope with no tipping (feel rude or something).

But you can if you want. With cash often "keep the change" for taxis etc. but Never tip anyone who does not provide good service.

GST is always included in the price in NZ but I noticed in Aus it wasn't always so. Just watch out for that - but then GST was fairly new when I was there last time.

And remember if you buy anything large you can claim the GST back at customs!!

wilees is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 10:57 PM
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Thanks a lot, everybody!

katkat is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 11:49 PM
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wilees, prices in Australia must by law include GST. A politically-motivated rule - the federal government was nervous about having the newly-introduced tax highlighted on bills and receipts.

In the US I quickly learnt to keep a firm grip on my bags, as the trip from airport to hotel room could be quite ruinous by the time everybody in the food chain pocketed $1 a bag. After a while I got sick of listening to my Scots ancestors spinning in their graves.

And it's not just NZ and Australia either - I've just got back from a few weeks in China. The hard-headed Chinese wouldn't think of tipping. You agree a price (hotel, taxi, restaurant, whatever) and that's what you pay, not a jiao more.

I too would prefer to keep it that way. I see no reason to relieve employers of their responsibility to pay their staff a living wage.

katkat, if anyone asks for a tip Down Under just tell them to get stuffed (OK, don't take that too literally, but you get my point).
Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:22 AM
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Hi there Kat

I was shocked when I first read your post. Gartuities are NOT a standard part of the hospitality service here.

As has been noted all employees earn at least a minimum wage (and then some if the qualify for additional govt assistance). Do not pay an "included" gratuity.

If one qppears on the bottom of your hotel bill, deduct it and pay the bill sans gratuity.

I have seen this expression elsewhere such as in the UK where sadly the tip is automatic but never in New Zealand.

BTW even though the gratuity is added to your bill in the UK if you have bad service, again remove it from the bill you pay. They cannot argue with you. (Though in one case in a rather well known West End eatery I was sworn at loudly for removing it, the swearing only added to the evidence of dire service in the first place).

If when you are in NZ you do receive what YOU perceive to be exceptional service then a tip of 10% is a good rule of thumb. However when you are here never feel obliged to tip it is just not the Kiwi way.


Kiwi_acct is offline  
Nov 17th, 2004, 01:01 AM
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I LOVE the fact that tipping is not necessary or expected in NZ and OZ. What a wonderful concept! Pay people a decent wage and be done with it.

As an American living overseas I have to remind myself when I'm in the US that "oh yeah, we're back to tipping".

About a year ago we found ourselves in an embarassing situation - we'd just returned to the US from NZ and had no US cash. We were dog tired and the first thing we were faced with was a guy grabbing our luggage, putting it on an elevator and sticking out his hand.

We usually carry a small amount of local currency for each country we might visit, but we were caught empty handed that time.

I find it interesting that workers in the service industry in places like OZ, NZ and parts of Europe are more service oriented than in the US, and they're not doing it for tips! They really seem to like their jobs!

Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 17th, 2004, 03:52 PM
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>>I find it interesting that workers in the service industry in places like OZ, NZ and parts of Europe are more service oriented than in the US, and they're not doing it for tips! They really seem to like their jobs! <<

Well, mostly. We ate at one place in Wellington where we had sullen, indifferent service throughout the meal.

When we were ready to leave, we asked our waitress for a to-go box, and she disappeared. 10 minutes later, we were still sitting there boxless. Dh found the manager, complained about the service, and got the box. We were happy to know we didn't have to leave a tip.

Overall, though, we had good service all the other places we went.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Nov 17th, 2004, 05:35 PM
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Lee Ann -

You're right of course, there are always going to be exceptions.
Cranky, sullen service industry workers can be found anywhere in the world.

I do notice upon returning to the states though that service in general has taken a dive, and I always ask myself why we Americans feel compelled to tip regardless of the service we receive. I know, I know, because the workers aren't paid enough, blah, blah, blah, but still...

Sorry Kat - didn't mean to hijack your thread, just had to let off some steam about a subject that makes me crazy.
Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 18th, 2004, 02:54 PM
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I noticed a marked contrast between many US service industry staff and the hospitality and friendliness of the American people at large. While to varying extents this occurs elsewhere, the contrast seemed particularly marked there. But as American and Australian friends told me, it hadn't always been so.

If staff morale is low the customer usually feels it, and low morale results from poor conditions (which covers a multitude of sins, including a bad management culture, low pay, overwork, powerlessness etc).

I suspect that corporate downsizing, which arrived earlier in America than elsewhere, may be the root cause. Some aspects include short-staffing, the casualisation of what used to be permanent jobs and the shoehorning of people into rigid automated processes, as in call centres. Overwork, insecurity, powerlessness - powerful ingredients there.

The bad news is that despite some optimistic predictions of a turnaround, I don't see the situation improving. The pressure on companies to continually cut costs (read staff) is showing no signs of abating. "Globalisation" is pitting the wealthier countries into greater competition with low-cost economies and can only make the situation worse.

I guess that's only a partial explanation (if that). Maybe there are cultural factors at work also, but I have no idea what they could be.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 18th, 2004, 04:30 PM
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Hi katkat
We always like to say big "thank you's" to anyone who gives us exceptional service or does us favours over and above what is normal business practice, however we really hate how some service staff expect tips. IT IS NOT OUR PROBLEM THAT THEY ARE UNDERPAID! So do not feel obliged to tip ANYWHERE if you are made to feel it is expected. It is their porblem not yours! We have never had any hassles from anyone because we did not tip. Nor would we expect to or care!
Lyndie is offline  
Nov 18th, 2004, 04:58 PM
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Well, I'd make an exception in the case of the US on the "do in Rome" principle and because whether we like it or not, that's how the staff are paid.
Neil_Oz is offline  

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