15% tips for tour guide service?

I am contacting one of the tour guide recommended by Rick. The guide answered me it is common to pay at least 15% tips for the service in the Naples region. Is it true?

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5765 posts

I would not use a guide that told me how much to tip him or her. If I were you, I would find a different guide.

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2403 posts

I agree. Anyone who tells you what their tip should be should be avoided. I would find a different agency. Donna

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3409 posts

Well, of course, the tour guide, ever hopeful, would say 15% as the usual tip. Why not, since you have taken the trouble to ask. Since she is a Rick-recommended guide, why not phone the Rick Steves office and ask them?

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5765 posts

Norma, I've had a different experience in Italy. The best example was when I paid for a tennis lesson in Rome. After the lesson, I asked the woman manager (not the teacher) if it was customary for the player to tip the teacher. The woman was embarrassed beyond words at the awkwardness of the question and pretty much refused to answer me.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3409 posts

Well, Michael, it seems the tour guide in question is not as genteel.

Posted by Sheron
Alta Loma, CA, USA
1199 posts

Margaret, I saw your private message and the guide that you are referring to did not tell me about the 15% tip when I booked my tour with her. We are only using her for a 2-hour tour of the Archaeological Museum so perhaps it's different than an all-day tour which is what you are inquiring about. I have actually booked 2 additional tours in the Naples/Amalfi region (with different guides) and I did have another guide tell me that a tip would be added onto the cost of the tour. I agree that this is a turn-off and I did not like being told that a tip was mandatory so I didn't book a tour with that individual. The guide you are referring to seems very professional and reliable so I would not hesitate to book a tour with her, however if you are uncomfortable with the suggested tip, then I would look elsewhere. I read several reviews on Trip Advisor about her and they were all favorable so I think I would still book with her as she's the only guide that I know of that conducts tours of the Archaeological Museum which you had expressed an interest in seeing in your original post. As for the second part of your question in your message, the rate is definitely comparable to what all the other guides charge, if not less than the other quotes I got. I know it seems like a lot but for a private tour it's pretty average. To keep the cost down, you might look into a group tour. Have a great trip!!

Posted by Margaret
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
15 posts

Thanks everyone. The 15% tips makes me have hesitation. When I query, the person replied it can be 10% if I am fine with it. I book a tour guide recommended by Lonely Planet in Rome, and they didn't ask me any tips (hopefully, it won't happen on the spot). The tour for Naples also suggests different hours tour, like 6 hours, 7, 8 and 9. The person said the 6 hours including lunch, ie, I think it will be less than 6 hours in actual terms. For the Rome tour guide, it is 50 Euro per hour. The one for Naples, it is 57 Euro (reflects 15% tips). I think it is a matter of doing business. If the person tells you before we order it is much better they push you on the spot while you are aboard. In HK, almost every restaurant charges 10% service charge, but we know it beforehand. That is fair. It is a matter of "culture", I hope and I guess. Thanks.

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2403 posts

I guess a "service charge" is one thing but to have someone add a tip to your bill for a tour is unheard of and, in my opinion, rude and bad business. It's up to you if you feel the service you received deserves a tip. I would not sign up with a company who automatically added a tip on top of their fee. This in no way encourages the guide to earn the tip, they are already getting it. It is not a cultural thing, either. It's a company trying to get more money out of you than they advertise. The price is the price. That's all you should "have" to pay. By them "adding" a "tip" to the bill they are increasing what the actual cost of the tour is. What if you don't like the tour or the guide isn't good? Do you get the tip back? I don't think you will. I would avoid any company that operates like this. Donna

Posted by Rosalyn
Berkeley
1007 posts

Since this subject has come up, I thought I'd seize the opportunity to get some advice, too. We will be in Croatia in September, and we've booked a daylong tour with a woman in Split. She works independently. Do we offer to pick up the tab for her lunch? If we're very satisfied with the tour, should we add on something to the agreed price? I confess that even after more trips to Europe than I have a count of, and after reading the advice that comes up regularly here, I still feel uncertain about tipping. Of course, it's made worse by the country-to-country variation. For what it's worth to others who are similarly confused, when we've done guided group day trips in the past, we have tried to watch to see what the other people are doing, then follow suit. However, this one is going to be just us. I'm leaning toward doing both of the above, lunch and a bit added on, 10 euros (?), if the guide is very good. Input would be much appreciated, though I'm prepared to get completely conflicting opinions. (LOL)

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2403 posts

I would buy the lunch for the guide but since she is independent I wouldn't add anything to her fee. She charges what she charges and doesn't have to give any of it to a company. She gets it all, if I'm reading your response correctly. Italy is one of those places where tipping is not necessary but is appreciated. We usually leave a small tip (rounding up the bill) unless the waiter says something to the effect of "the tip is not included in the final bill", meaning he wants a tip. To me this is so rude that it spoils the meal and I end up not tipping in those situations. I also wouldn't go by what others are doing because you may not like the tour while they found it wonderful. If you feel the tour was truly great and deserving of an additional fee then you should tip. I wouldn't tip just because others are or you feel guilty not tipping. That would be like tipping in a restaurant where you got horrible service. Donna