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Tipping Concierge?

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Tipping Concierge?

We'll be vacationing in Sedona next week and have used the concierge at our resort to make several tour and restaurant reservations. What is the appropriate tipping scale for these services (we've never used one before - always done this ourselves) and when should we give it to her? She was very helpful and we'd like to show our appreciation.

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Sedona
Sedona
Arizona
Sedona, AZ
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1,490 posts
40 reviews
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1. Re: Tipping Concierge?

Very thoughtful question.... Your concierge is getting a hansome commision from the companies they have booked with. Mind you that commission is 10 to 25% from those companies. Some resorts actaully take monthy fees for guarenteeing referrals to local restaurants and activities. I believe that they should disclose this to you. If they are accepting fees/commissions from these people I think they should disclose this to you. This is important because you may be getting good/accurate reommendattions because if the best tour company in town doesn't pay a 20% you will never hear about them. Just to put this into perspective: If you pay a tour company $200 for a Jeep tour, %20 or $40 goes to the concierge as commission for simply making a phone call. What's sad is that very few concierges in Sedona have lived here for more than a few months and don't know the area. They simply recommend you to the business that pay the biggest commission!!!!!

My recommendation is to ask the concierge if they are getting commissions. If they are taking a commission, don't give them a tip.

I know this issue intimately. I am a permitted outfitter guide and I get no referrals from concierges unles I pay them a commission. The person who pays in the end is you, the visitor!!!!!!

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Sedona
Sedona
Arizona
Santa Fe
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2. Re: Tipping Concierge?

The other response on here is actually incorrect, at least in general it is incorrect about concierges. I personally am a concierge, and we do not, for the most part, recieve any "kickbacks" or comission from any restaurant or outfitter company. 20-40% is a ridiculous number and I do not know how this person who posted the previous response came up with that figure. There is no way that a restaurant would give us anywhere near 20% for every reservations we make. At most, we are invited maybe once a year to try out a new menu, so that if we like the menu and restaurant it will give us more insight into the type of cusine and experince of that specific restaurant.

The previous post seems as it is from a disgruntled business owner who wants to blame the fact that a concierge is not using their company on that they do not give anything to any of them. It is in our profession, unethical to recommend restaurants, businesses, etc based on the fact that they provide us with commission or incentives. Now I am not saying that this never happens as each concierge is and hourly paid bottom of the line employee and also a person who is free to choose who he or she recommends, but as a whole, concierges typically tries to provide the best services we can to our guests at the most reasonable prices regardless of kick backs. I live on my tips, and count on them to help support my measly income of $22,000 a year before taxes. We do not make much, and do not get these so called kick backs from the majority of businesses and do rely on our gratuities most of us work so hard to earn. Hope this provides a little more truthful insight for future trip advisor members.

Sedona, Az
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3. Re: Tipping Concierge?

I am a concierge in Sedona and and have to agree with my fellow conciege we do not recieve any comissions from any restaurants in Sedona. It is a service to our guest to make recomendations. I make these recomendations on my experiances and what my guest have shared with me. I also never get kickbacks from any outfitters either and I do have a few I recommend, many times I learn of their services because they come in and talk to me offer to let me experiance what they have to offer. If I believe it is a good match and this is what the guest wants to do then I make the recomendation. I do recieve a few commision from some of the jeep tour companys but it is shared with the house and it is more like 10% if that. If there are complaints given to me from the guests about their experiance they are no longer recomended . Some of us really have experiance believe it our not. I am from Chicago but traveled here for about 20 years 2 times yearly and have lived here for 6 years. I am an hiker and do much off roading in my personal jeep. I do what I do because I want people to see all that they can while they are here. I not only good at making honest recomendations I will be the one you come to if you are going to that wedding and your husbands shoes need polish (it's in my drawer) or if your dress gets wrinkled while you travel I send it to my favorite dry cleaner. You will be treated as a guest just like you would if you stayed in my own home. Many times I will try to save you money by giving you maps and places that you can explore on your own. No charge. I have recieved tips from guests which is always a suprise nothing is ever expected but if your concierge saves you money and you had a great time because of her (or him) a monetary gift is such a treat to recieve. I am paid the same as the front desk people in case you wanted to know. And to the outfitter who thinks we are making millions you should spend your down time visiting the concierge around town and make sure they know you and what you do.

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Sedona
Sedona
Arizona
Chicago
Chicago
Illinois
Tucson, Arizona
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4. Re: Tipping Concierge?

Thanks for the info. I have always wondered about this.

So, say I stay at a hotel and the concierge makes 2 or 3 reservations for me, would $20 be an OK tip? I'm not talking about a world class hotel.

tucson az
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5. Re: Tipping Concierge?

In my experience of extensive travel and also knowing some career concierges personally, I have to say that both cases presented are true. Sometimes concierges get commissions for placing reservations, and sometimes they don't. I know nothing about this in Sedona. I am not saying that anyone posting above is not telling the truth. I would think that the situation of commissions is more likely in large cities.

True or not, my practice has nothing to do with whether concierges get commissions. That's not my business, and it would be rude to ask. A concierge is an employee of a hotel, providing a service to guests for the hotel. Tips are appropriate to recognize that service depending on the extent of the service. If someone makes a reservation for me that I might not have made for myself because I did not have the knowledge, I would tip about $5. If someone put together an itinerary for me of tours and arrangements for a day, for example, I might tip $20. And there would be cases where I would simply say "thank you." One example, when a concierge in Las Vegas got me two tickets for $90 each with great seats for Cirque de Soleil Mystere on a sold-out weekend night, which I had not been able to do through my own research, my $20 tip may not have been enough!

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Sedona
Sedona
Arizona
Le Cirque
Le Cirque
1,821 Reviews
Las Vegas, NV
Mystere by Cirque Du Soleil
Mystere by Cirque Du...
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Las Vegas, NV
Omaha NE
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6. Re: Tipping Concierge?

From About .com:

Tipping Guide: Special Services

Concierge -- Tipping varies with the level of service provided. For simple requests like directions or restaurant recommendations, no tipping is required. If the concierge arranges show tickets or restaurant reservations, tip $2-$5. If he goes above and beyond (a table at the hottest restaurant in town), tip $10-$20.

Hotel Staff -- If they set up something special for you (say, for your anniversary), tip at the end of your stay.

From Forbes Travel Guide:

A clean bathtub or quick cab is easier to quantify (and get) than a perfect dinner recommendation from the concierge, or last-minute tickets to the hottest show in town. When thanking a butler or hotel concierge, your options are to tip after each service provided, between $5 and $10 each time, or in a lump sum at the end of a stay. For a two-day stay in which you received particularly good service, anywhere between $50 and $200 would be generous. Which brings us to another lesson: There's lots of room for judgment.

"One should tip according to how valuable one feels the service was, but also according to one's own concept of money," says Steven Ferry, graduate of the vaunted Ivor Spencer International School for Butler Administrators in London, a private butler for 16 years and current chairman of the International Institute of Modern Butlers, based in Clearwater, Fla. In one Pennsylvania hotel, "I've seen a butler carry the bags from elevator to the guest suite and receive a $300 tip," he says.

If that sounds outrageous, remember this: If you're staying in a hotel that hires a butler just to bring your bags to your room, you can probably afford to tip according to the basic guidelines we've assembled. And if you can't, remember that there are other ways to reward people for their help--a note to the general manager, for example, complimenting the service you received.

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Tucson, Arizona
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7. Re: Tipping Concierge?

Tourists beware! SedonaMTB is very accurate with the information on Sedona concierges. I do not know if the commission issue is a big deal in other areas, but it is a large problem in Sedona. In most hotels (not all, but most) the company which pays the most will be recommended. In best case scenarios a company that does not pay commissions is considered to not exist and is not mentioned to tourists. In worst case situations a company that does not pay is bad mouthed. I have heard this happen first hand.

I realize that concierges are not payed well, however there is no reason why small, local companies should be responsible for paying the employees of huge hotel chains. The ones who suffer from this practice in the end are not the business owners, but the tourists.

I have heard concierges say that concierges do not make it common practice to accept money from companies for recommendations, however the concierge site, GoConciege.net states they have the ability to track commissions for concierges. If it is not common it seems strange for this ability to be in place.

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Sedona
Sedona
Arizona
Los Angeles
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for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
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8. Re: Tipping Concierge?

Commissions from jeep tour companies or helicopter or hot air ballooning are probably fairly common - but how many guests use the concierge just for that?

I've never heard of a restaurant giving commissions to concierges for recommendations - usually not even a free drink when they come in for dinner themselves, unless it's a relationship of longstanding.

Sedona, AZ
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9. Re: Tipping Concierge?

For those who don't believe me my information comes from concierges telling me that is what they want in order to refer business to me and other business owners. They even hand you a contract, for example Los Abrigatos. I have about five such contracts telling me that for each referral I must pay them 15%. One contract stated that they would collect payment for my tour and then pay me! In addition Pink Jeeps also pays monthly stipents to hotels in addition to per referral kickbacks. I've seens the checks that concierge friends have shown me. Sorry I have the evidence. It's pretty sad.

Sedona, AZ
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10. Re: Tipping Concierge?

Oh, and about the restaurants. I know at least 10 owners who pay monthly fees, around $200 per month, to hotels in Sedona in order to get referrals. Many of those restaurants have been mentioned on this site and it is no reflection on the quality of those restaurants. You just have to pay to play.

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Sedona
Sedona
Arizona