US travellers are not the best tippers
According to a new survey, Italian travellers are the stingiest tippers and Germans the most generous. (Oktay Ortakcioglu/Getty)
The stereotypical image of a US tourist is usually less than flattering: loud, intrusive and unaware, not to mention the apparel.
But a new survey from TripAdvisor, which takes into account responses from 9,000 participants in the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Russia and Brazil, reveals that American tourists might be more gracious than initially viewed. They are, according to the results, the second-best tippers in the world, with 57% of US respondents saying they always leave a tip when on the road.
Surprisingly it was the Germans who came in first place, despite being ranked last month as the “least compassionate in the European Union”. Apparently they tip more frequently than any other of the nine nationalities surveyed, with 69% saying they always leave a gratuity when travelling overseas.
At 23%, Italians came in as the stingiest tippers. France, Spain and the UK all clocked in between 36% and 39%, Brazil had 40% and Russia had 53% .
It is likely out of habit that Americans are generous with tips when travelling abroad, since gratuities – as well as high tipping rates – are the norm in the US. In many states, service industry workers are paid below minimum wage, with much of their earnings expected to come from this discretionary amount. Customers generally leave between 15% and 20% at restaurants, beauty salons/spas and bars, as well as for food delivery, tour guides and taxi drivers.
"Tipping is a cultural norm in the states and US travellers have a tendency to take their customs on the road whether they are on American soil or travelling abroad," said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor.
Only 16% of US respondents believe they are well informed about international tipping etiquette. (Asia in particular has no hard-and-fast rules, yet it is a region that almost always offers service worth tipping.) US practices show they prefer to err by offering too much, rather than too little.
In Germany, as in much of Europe, the service fee is factored into the bill and patrons tend to leave only about 5% to 10% extra at restaurants. Taxi drivers generally do not expect tips. So while Germans likely tip fewer people at home – and less – it is interesting that they tip more frequently than other nationalities when travelling. Perhaps, after all, Germans are more compassionate than their European neighbours think.