Gratuities for a tour guide


Aug 19th, 2015, 08:27 PM
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Gratuities for a tour guide

My DH and I will be traveling with two other couples to France (among other places) but have arranged for a guide pick us up at CDG the afternoon we arrive and drive us to Bayeux in order to spend the next day viewing the area and driving us back into Paris that night.

He has gone out of his way to accommodate our request since we want to see several things and it will not be a traditional tour. ( No other company either out of Paris or Bayeux would) He had extremely high reviews on Trip Advisor and for several years has received nothing but fabulous comments regarding his professionalism so I feel like this trip will go accordingly.

My question is do we pay him gratuity after he set the price of the tour? I think he must own the company since his name is the only one ever mentioned in the reviews of the company. If so, how much would be an appropriate amount? (percentage?)

Thanks so much!
dhlemaistre is offline  
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Aug 20th, 2015, 12:12 AM
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I think your instincts are right on target, dhlemaistre -- you negotiated a price for a specific tour, so a gratuity should NOT be necessary. And if he is the owner, it should definitely NOT be expected.

If, over the course of your time with him, he does things that you truly and sincerely believe to be above and beyond what you would have expected -- and I mean WELL above and beyond -- then you could give a very small amount as a token, presented with a very clear statement of why you are doing it and perhaps a sentence or two to place it in perspective, as in, "we really appreciated that you did X [be as specific as you can] and so would like to treat you to [a nice bottle of wine or whatever]." The amount would NOT be a percentage of your fee, but a small amount that really is just a token of appreciation and nothing more.

The norms governing gratuities are confusing, and have been getting more confusing in recent years, as an increasing number of people offer them where not expected, etc. So let me congratulate your for asking -- it is an important issue! And let me warn you that -- regrettably -- this is a topic that, for some reason, often evokes THE WORST from Fodorites. Please take the comments that follow in stride.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
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Aug 20th, 2015, 04:55 AM
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In that situation I would be much more likely to ask the guide to join you for your meals (or are you already doing this?) than give a token gratuity.
nytraveler is offline  
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Aug 20th, 2015, 05:18 AM
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If you're going to treat him to a meal -- which isn't the worst idea in the world -- make sure to ask him in advance of dining. A lot of tour guides leave customers to dine by themselves, figuring they want some alone time and a break from the guide.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
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Aug 20th, 2015, 08:03 PM
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And some guides might want a break from their tour! ;-)
kja is offline  
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Aug 20th, 2015, 09:44 PM
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I paid for a meal when a guide showed me around in Jerusalem.
This is the type of 'gratuities' one can expect in France : we appreaciate 'pourboires' which means literally 'to drink', not tips.
'Gratuit' means for free in French. And gratuities translate well into 'for free'.
In any case, never think in % in France. Tips/pourboires whatever are not linked to %.
pariswat is offline  
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Aug 20th, 2015, 11:20 PM
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You are paying the price the guide asked you to. If he felt he deserved more, he would have adjusted the price accordingly. Offering a drink or a meal is the best idea.
How do you place a monetary value on "a small token of your appreciation"? I don't think it's possible to do this in a way that would be understood.
The guide might be offended if you offered either too much or too little - how could you know?
manouche is offline  
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Aug 21st, 2015, 12:10 AM
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Give him a 20 euro note. That is four euro per pax.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
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Aug 21st, 2015, 10:00 AM
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I agree with Manouche. I don't tip guides ever unless they are not independent and are working for a firm, so they don't get the full amount. Just sounds weird to me. I'm an independent consultant and set my rates based on what I expect, also, why would someone "tip" me to do what I have a business and set the rates for myself.
Christina is offline  
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Aug 21st, 2015, 10:13 AM
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If he stated a price to pay, no gratuity is necessary. Buy him a drink or lunch if you are happy with his services.
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