Tipping Etiquette for the Executive Protection Agent

Bodyguard Blogs new ongoing feature on Etiquette & Protocol.  Like any other profession, image is important in our business and first impressions are lasting ones.  Knowing how to shoot is great, but if you can not get a second interview with an employer, all those great skills might go to waste.  To assist, we’ve enlisted the services of writer and etiquette coach, Susanne Dancer.

Q: The client has put me in charge of tipping (I get reimbursed of course) but what are some good baseline amounts and who exactly get’s tipped at a hotel? (bellman, front desk, valet?) – Alex M.  Executive Protection Agent, Virginia

A: If you are tasked with tipping remember perception is important.  Try not to have your client perceived as stingy, but do not be excessive with someone else’s money either.  Tipping does vary around the world and in some counties like Australia it is not considered  common practice.  However with that said, it is always greatly appreciated by the staff concerned, be it a hotel, restaurant or your car service driver.  Always carry small notes with you as not to ask for change.  The currency of the country you are in is desired, however most places around the globe welcome US dollars (however recent economics might change that.)

In general the following is a good guide:

Drivers

Courtesy Shuttle Driver — $1-$2 per person, or $4-$5 per party

Taxi or Limousine Driver — 15-20% of the total fare

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Checking In

Porter/Doorman — $1-$2 per bag they help you with (more if it is excessively heavy). Tipping is not required for just opening a door (a smile and thank you is always appreciated).

Bell Staff — $1-$2 per bag if they bring the bags to your room. If they prepare your room and show you around, tipping $5-$10 should cover everything (including the bags).

In Your Room

Room Service — In most hotels, a gratuity of 12-15% is already included in the price of your order (check the menu). Tipping extra is OK, particularly if the person delivering the order takes extra care to set up your meal. Room service tips are generally “pooled,” or shared between everyone. If you hand something extra to a person who provides you extraordinary service, he or she can keep it.

Maids/Housekeeping Staff — A wide range is acceptable here, depending on the level of extra service and hotel level, but generally from $1-$5 per night. It is best to do your tipping daily, since you might have different people cleaning your room. Whatever you decide to leave, be sure to put the money in a sealed envelope, clearly marked, so there is no confusion as to whom it belongs to.

Maintenance/Service People — For fixing something that was broken, or bringing something that was missing, tipping is not required.

Delivery of Special Items — For a special request (like an extra blanket), $2 for one item, or $1 each for more than one item.

Coming and Going

Doorman — $1-$2 for calling a cab; extra if he covers your client with an umbrella in the rain, or has to actually hail a cab (rather than just signalling one from a cab line). If you wish, tipping a few bucks at the end of your stay (rather than each time) is fine.

Valet Parking — $1-$2 to the attendant retrieving your car. Tipping when they park the car is optional.

Dining Out

Wait Staff — 15-20% of the bill, excluding tax and expensive wine. Many restaurants automatically add a 15% gratuity for parties of six or more, so check the menu. You can add another 5% for exceptional service.

Wine Steward/Sommelier — If they help your client choose a bottle of wine (or choose it for him or her), 10-20% of the wine bill only. Use discretion based on how much service was provided (did he allow your client to taste before selected?) If the wine is very expensive, it’s generally acceptable to cap your tip at a reasonable amount (say, about $20), since you are tipping on the service received. Leave cash or specify on the credit card receipt which portion is for the sommelier.

 

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 above and beyond a tip at the end of your stay is acceptable.  Additionally if you are working with a recognizable (and liked) VIP an autograph in the guest book or a signed photo to the establishment is highly valued.

Additional Websites for reference:

http://hotels.about.com/od/hotelsecrets/a/tipping.htm

http://gouk.about.com/od/ukcurrencymoneymatters/f/Tipping_UK.htm

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g255055-s606/Australia:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html

http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/articles/500117

Susanne Dancer is a former butler and administrator who has trained with the Guild of Professional English Butlers.  Her work in Etiquette has taken her from Brisbane to London with an emphasis on International Protocol.  She is regularly consulted as an expert in her field on subjects such as how to dress appropriately while working with High Net Worth individuals, and the delicate subject of table manners.

Have an etiquette question for Susan?  Ask it HERE.

 

Susanne Dancer

10 thoughts on “Tipping Etiquette for the Executive Protection Agent”

  1. I know I continually harp on this topic but I feel that it is so important to ones success in this field. Etiquette, proper dress, and overall presentation is paramount! An agent can have all the tactical skill in the world but if he/she cannot make a professional appearance and function within realm of the “elite” that agent will not be called upon as often as they could be. I have seen many clients ask that a particular person not be used again due to their lack of proper dress (or worse, inappropriate) and/or poor manners.
    I always say to folks “the belt has to match the shoes”. I use that as a reminder of overall presence and demeanor. I don’t just mean black with black or brown with brown (but please do make sure!) , I am talking about making sure everything is as it should be.
    Thank you Susanne for an excellent article!

  2. STAN NOLLEY I ALWAYS FIND YOUR ARTICLES INFORMATIVE MR SHAW,WHILE I ATTAIN ALL THE INFO I CAN ABOUT THE BUISNESS, I AM JUST BREAKING OFF INTO THE BUISNESS AND WELCOME ALL INFORMATION PRETAINING TO THE PROTECTIVE SPECIALIST/BODYGUARD BUISNESS I THANK YOU FOR ALL THE GREAT ARTICLES AND INFO. THAT YOU POST AND SHARE ON YOUR BLOG I HAVE GAIN CONSIDERATE KNOWLEDGE FROM YOU IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS AND HOPE TO VISIT YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM THERE IN THE TWIN CITIES SOON I HAVE STARTED A SERVICE CALL INTRA-SCOPE PROTECTION /BODYGUARD SERVICE WHICH IS COMING ALONG GREAT IAM COMMENSING TO UTILIZED ALL OF MY LAWENFORCEMENT AND MILITARY AT THIS POINT AND CONTINUE TO RESEARCH EVERYTHING READY AVAIILABLE ON THE NET, THANK YOU ELIJAH FOR SHARING.

  3. Good guidelines for the general traveler, although the amounts referenced seem low from a high end client perspective. If your clients can afford to hire you, they can probably afford the up charges associated with paying to play. We are not trying to break the bank or allowing people to take advantage of our clients but if you want high end service from the staff you can’t tip like the average traveler.

    Both the client’s image and yours are at stake, as you will probably visit that same property again in the future with other clients.

  4. I believe this was an excellent article on “tipping ” a great base to go by. Within my own experience I have found it being true to form in an example regulating modest tips between the standard of expectations of client and or yourself. The professional bodyguard is a representative of client and colleagues on a level of respect that should be shared a mirror image (professionally). Whether a local family diner, country club, or a five star accommodation there is my own (sop) poor service, no service, bad hair day above and beyond outstanding. I take numerous things into consideration. Myself and or client have expectations of service not because a flashy thing’s or financial blessings when this is met it is rewarded and when exceeded no matter the atmosphere or class of people we are taken care of I have seen the waitress we love and want again weather its personality or servitude be off or in another section and have asked for her slammed or not eager to please trust me she could buy more than diaper’s that night then a week later a new waiter hhhm he was new and well wont go there tipped standard. The fancier place another time we dont put ourselves out as more important than the next but I am quite sure if a tissue was needed we would have more than one jump to grab.

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