For most hotel staff, tipping is one of the best ways to supplement what is often a minimum wage income. However, if the guests aren’t tipping their valets and cleaners directly and instead placing their money in a virtual or physical tip jar, it can be hard to divide tips fairly.
If you own a hotel, you want to encourage your guests to tip, but you should also ensure that your tipping policies keep it fair for all your employees.
Here’s how to do both.
Make Tip Jars Accessible and Fun
The first thing you should do, assuming that your hotel staff is doing a good enough job to warrant tips from the customers, is to make tip jars accessible. No one wants to see an empty jar with the word ‘tips’ scrawled across it tucked away inside the back of the lobby. Instead, make sure your tip jar is front and center.
Make customers feel tipsy with a colorful jar that draws attention to itself. Having a clear tip jar can also be very interesting as well, because if your customers can see that others have tossed a few dollar bills in the jar, then they will feel inclined to do so themselves.
If your business decides to use virtual tip jars, put app links or QR codes to access the tip jar everywhere and make the entire process as easy as possible. The less friction that you put into the process of tipping, the more likely your customers will feel inclined to do it whenever your hotel staff does a good job.
Now, once you have a fair set of tips, here’s how to keep it fair between your employees.
Have a Tip Pool
Take all the tips you have gained from all your sources around your hotel and then add them all together. Once that is done, place the total and divide it equally among all your employees. It will be kept fair and will also ensure that your tips are benefiting everyone, including those employees who aren’t interacting directly with the customers.
This is the easiest method to share tips, and some would argue that it is the fairest as well. If you have a large staff and multiple tip jars, you can even divide them all up.
For example, the kitchen tip jar could be for bartenders, cooks, kitchen employees, and waitstaff. While a tip jar in the lobby could be for all the front desk workers and staff, and the online tip jar could just be for the cleaning services.
This can work if you have customers who are generous tippers and the total for each tip jar is about the same, but it can backfire if one section of the staff gets paid more than the other.
Use Tip Sharing
Tip sharing and Tip pooling are not the same thing, but are instead two different ways to manage tips. Tip sharing is voluntary and involves having a percentage of the collected tips and splitting that between the employees without a salary.
So your workers collect their tips and then distribute a percentage of those tips to all the other employees who helped them out without getting any tips.
However, to do tip sharing, you need to follow these rules as an employer.
You need to pay tipped employees at least $2.13 an hour and the federal minimum wage, and no employer can claim a tip credit above $5.12. Plus the employees must know about it before the program starts.
Additionally, you may need to check any local laws for how to tip sharing can work in a hotel because depending on your location some people can be excluded from the tip share pool or can only take a certain amount of tips
Splitting Tips Based On Hours Worked
Some hotels will split tips based on the number of hours worked by each employee, which makes it fair for everyone regardless of how long their shift was. To do this, add up the total number of tips and then divide that figure by the number of hours worked. Then take that number and divide it by the number of hours each server worked.
It’s a lot of math, but it can be fair and can also help out if your hotel has staff that is all working at different times. That way someone who worked an 8-hour shift won’t feel cheated because they have the same tip as someone who worked a 3-hour shift.
Learn How Important Tips Are
Especially in the U.S, tipping is often one of the ways that your employees supplement their minimum wage income and how they survive. Before you create a tipping structure, put yourself in the shoes of your employees and see how important tips are going to be to them. Additionally, talk to your employees and figure out what they think is fair. After all, tips are going to be for their benefit, not yours.
Then you can get started on building a fair tipping system while also ensuring that your employees will be happy with the extra cash they will be pocketing, and you might even put some extra effort into encouraging your customers to tip their employees for a job well done.
There’s not really an answer to what type of tipping is better or the fairest for your employees, and you probably won’t make every hotel employee happy.
Still, as long as you collect the data on how often and for how much your customers are tipping, as well as how much of those tips will go into the pockets of your different employees, then you can have some idea about what tipping method will be the fairest for the people who are working for you. Then you can ensure their well-being and even help them work harder in order to get more tips!