I guess I have now seen it all! At the Charleston South Carolina Marriott's concierge lounge there is a large brandy snifter bowl that is being used for tips, and there are paper bills in it!
The concept of rewarding good service is one thing but tips--I don't know. Reminded me of the Billy Joel song about the bar pianoman who works for "bread in my jar." (or something like that). Good service the hallmark of Marriott--maids etc, deserve to be recognized if appropriate, by a grateful guest. Concierge personnel who are there to staff a facility do not in my opinion.
Lounges are places where we come becuase we're loyal to Marriott. Putting out a tip jar is, in my view, a "will work for food" cardboard notice that we often see at intersections, a sign that solicits tips or at least makes someone feel guilty that they have not made the effort to give one.
I am on a mission to discover the tipping point now. In my oipinion the service is the same as the person at the front desk, and I have yet to tip them.
And given IRS rules wonder if the recipient reports those tips?
Anyone else seen this practice and if so, where?
-- Edited by SteppingStones at 02/24/2010 7:42 AM PST
Stepping Stones -- I completely agree that this is tacky at best, but not to the level of a street beggar. I'm surprised that this is new to you. I've been in MR for 10 years, (a fraction of your tenure) Platinum or better for 9, been in my fair share of C-lounges, and find it to be commom probably about half the time. But then I stay at what has been described by someone on this board, as second-tier cities. At the West Desk Moines Marriott for instance, the evening attendant has the jar out, but the breakfast attendant does not. I could name many others where this practice is common if someone starts a thread for such. Since, like you, I feel I'm there out of loyalty, I ignore the tip jar.
The presence of a tip jar isn't off-putting, per se. They are surfacing in Concierge Lounges in Full Service as well as the Breakfast Lounge in Limited Service.
Given the economy, low occupancy and reduced head count, hotels are outsourcing concierge and other functions. It is not unusual that the breakfast attendant or the evening attendant might be a restaurant worker or bartender. Since the CL and breakfast areas of the limited service properties are self-service, leaving a gratuity is discretionary.
If the breakfast attendant at Fairfield Inn offers to make my waffles, and I can enjoy reading my paper; or the Concierge is welcoming and attentive and pours a glass of wine or brews a fresh pot of coffee, a small gratuity is appropriate and expresses my appreciation.
If the Concierge/Front Desk is especially helpful with sightseeing or reservations, I'll express my appreciation by writing a brief note to email@example.com to let Marriott know how an associate made my guest experience more enjoyable.
Now that I think of it I have seen this in a few hotels but not often. I too have never put anything in one as I feel the staff are or should be compensated by the hotel for their service. For that matter I do not tip any of the staff that I consider "fully funded". By that I mean, paid hourly or salary at a competitive wage. That being said, I always tip the waitresses, valets and the two times I've ever let them carry my bags to the room, the bell staff.
When an experience is pleasant enough to make me say "wow that was pretty nice" I make it a point to stop by the front desk in the mornings and talk to the hotel manager. If the entire staff exceeded my expectations, as was the case at the Courtyard Austin South, I make it a point to email customer care and the property manager/management. This seems to have a better ROI than simply leaving a buck in a jar or on the nightstand.
As for tip jars being out of place, I do agree its tacky at best and should be removed from all properties. I agree that certain areas are more prone to have people expecting tips but it seems to be cultural rather than just an issue at the property. Vegas for example, *everyone* had their hand out from the guy that opened the car door, to the valet, to the one holding the hotel door open, etc etc. In places like Columbus OH or the burbs of Chicago, no one has ever so much as motioned for a tip unless they served me food or a drink.