I Know about the "No Tipping" policy but how strongly is it enforced? I enjoy giving a tip for a job well done so this is a new concept for me and I certainly don't want to put anyone's job in jeopardy. Is it OK to leave a gift for someone who has gone out of their way for you or is thank you really enough?
Couples Resorts has a strict NO TIPPING policy. Gratuities are already included in your room price and are distributed among all employees. Our staff is trained and required not to request, accept or expect tips since non-tipping is an essential part of the all-inclusive experience. Please do not think that you need to tip to get great service.
We sincerely appreciate your desire to reward our employees for their great service but ask that you please refrain from giving them monetary gifts. Acceptance of cash tips could cost staff to lose their jobs.
There are some situations where tipping may apply during your travels or where you may wish to express your gratitude.
• For Montego Bay airport luggage handlers, bus transfer drivers, and all off-site excursions (included and extras) tips are expected. However this does not include our Couples airport lounge staff.
• SPA and salon personnel – tipping is discretionary (not mandatory)
• Photographers are outside contracted services and tipping is at your discretion.
• Weddings: you can tip the minister but the tip is not expected. Wedding coordinators are Couples Resorts employees and tipping is not permitted.
• Couples Resorts supports many local charities, schools, orphanages and hospitals. You may wish to bring some gifts for them but you should declare them at the customs and you should be prepared to pay duties on those items.
• You may choose upon departure to leave some small gifts for staff at the check out desk or in your room; please include a memo stating that this is a gift if you do so.
• Do you want to really help staff members who have particularly impressed you? When departing please fill out our questionnaire where you will find a place to name your favorite employees. We highly regard these nominations when considering staff rewards and promotions.
I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).
No tipping is strongly enforced, however you can give a small gift as long as there is a card attached indicating that it is, indeed, a gift. As well, the most important way to show your appreciation is to make sure you submit all the names of those employees that impressed you in the survey.
I you plan to give gifts to people who go out of their way for you, you better bring a heck of a lot of gifts. Everyone will go out of their way for you at Couples. Actually the best thing you can do for them is write their names on the comment card when you check out. This will help them with promotions and such.
Yes - their job will be in jeopardy. Gifts, not cash, at the end of your stay are welcomes, but I would recommend that you leave it with a note attached in your room or with the front office staff. You should tip for spa services, airport baggage handlers, drivers, golf course caddeys, and during excursions/tours.
We really love the staff and all of the attention to detail. I have heard of some people leaving a note with some notebooks and pens and chocolate and such, but I don't actually know if that is ok. We are going back home in 2 weeks and 2 day (11/26) and if that is appropriate we would love to make little care packages for the people who clean our rooms. They always do such a great job, and we never see them.
Thank you really IS enough. We have, however, brought small chocolates (think fun size m&ms) from home and left them for many of the staff with a label on it saying "thanks from room ___" so that no one is accused of stealing anything. However, we don't do this every time. I think that by being a gracious guest you can say thank you without money. Many times a smile, thank you or even taking the time to converse and get to know the staff is more than enough, esp when compared to the guests who are rude and treat the staff worse than the ground they walk on. I have seen some people try to be sly and tip the staff, but the cash just stays on the counter as if it were on fire. Mentioning them by name in your "exit interview" from the resort will also provide good reviews and in turn raises etc. for them.
Employees can lose their jobs for accepting tips, it's not worth the risk. We have given out gifts to staff and they really appreciate them. However, the gifts must be given with a note stating what the gift is and that they can have, also include your name and room number. The staff are truly amazing!!! Have fun!
You are spot on -- if caught accepting tips their job is at risk. Yes, a sincere acknowledgement and thank you is enough. But also a small gift as a token of recognition seems to be greatly appreciated. They are a very gracious people.
We understand your trepidation. We were really unsure about the no tipping policy before our first trip to Couples and, like you, felt that we wanted to tip to show our gratitude. We now love the no Tipping policy and make sure that we bring a few gifts when we visit. The staff is very thankful for any gifts and are clear...mentioning them in your departure questionaire is very helpful. We've taken to keeping a pad of paper in the room and writing down the names of staff that have gone out of their way so that at the end of the week we can "tip" them by including them on the form. The biggest problem with this system is something that KrisJamie mentioned ... there isn't enough room to mention all of the outstanding employees. Have a great time in paradise and enjoy that all you have to take with you when you leave the room is your key, sunblock (at least for us pasty white Canadians) and the proper clothes for whatever you want to do.
If you really want to show your appreciation, take along some gifts, (school supplies), for the schools that the resort sponsors. They are always in need of pencils, erasers, backpacks, folders, compasses, paper, and misc items. We took an extra suitcase on our last trip and filled it with these items. Give it to the front desk. It will be very much appreciated. It is well worth the 20.00 for the extra bag.
Question about this...we just returned from CSA and while it was obvious that you should tip on the Catamaran Cruise since they had a tipping jar and are not couples employees..what about when you go snorkeling? We went several times and noted that there was a Couples WaterSports staff who was your "guide" but then there was also the person who obviously owned the glass boat and operated the motor etc...I would assume that he is not a couples employee and could be tipped as well, is that a correct assumption, as we plan to go back and would like to know
One of the reasons we choose an All Inclusive is for that very reason, EVERYTHING is included. No hidden costs. If you choose to do something not included you know about it in advance. That is one reason I have stayed away from cruise ships. I fear all the hidden costs. It is so nice not to have to "budget" what I am going to spend each day. Or to have to worry about how expensive the meal is going to be once I add the tip and taxes. It really takes the stress out of the vacation. If everyone will respect Couples' policy it will work well for the guests and the employees.
Thank you all very much, you have made it very clear on where the resort realy stands on this issue. We will not attempt to tip anyone with cash as we don't want to get them in trouble. We are totally jacked to be joining the Couples family and we will see you at CSS in LESS THAN 24 HRS.
We always ask for the name of the staff member that is doing a good job. Their eyes always light up when you ask for their name because they know you are commending them for their extra effort. They also know that you might be writing down their name on the exit survey. Talk to the staff and ask them about their lives and tell them that you appreciate them. This goes a long ways too.
We always bring small packages of candy and leave them on the bed each morning and evening with a Thank You note. This time we are also bringing bags of M and M's to hand out - candy is always fun to pass out to staff members and friends by the pool!
Last edited by tracyl; November 10th, 2010 at 12:07 PM.
Having worked my way through college waiting tables and tending bar and now having a daughter who waits tables at a sports bar to help her get through college, I can appreciate tipping as a main source of income for many people. I have a habit of over tipping when we go out when the service is good. This over tipping habit is always pointed out by my lovely wife. I quickly point out that she never had to live off tips and she should be very thankful for that. I have always believed that those who never tip or leave minimal tips, never had to work at a job serving others.
That said, I reluctantly but respectfully honor the no tipping policy of Couples and hope that all people do the same. The staff does not rely on tips for their income. The baggage handlers at the airport, the bus drivers that take you to & from Couples, Curtis (if you fly Timair), cab drivers etc. rely on tips as a supplemental source of their income.
We leave small gifts for the staff. Last year we were at CSA on Easter Monday and left a couple of small baskets of chocolates and a card for the housekeeper & turn down ladies. Hopefully that is acceptable but cash tips are not for many good reasons pointed out here on the board.
Respect... a beautiful word that applies to many things in Jamaica, including the no tipping policy. Respect the policy, it's there for a reason.
I actually have a great time picking out little "gifts" throughout the year to take to our dear friends at CSA. Each day I make up a little gift bag for our housekeeper and throughout the week we deliver candy and chocolates to staff. On our last day we bring gift bags with notes to the front desk for those who have gone above and beyond for us. Looking for the items to put in the gift bags helps with the countdown to our return!
I think it is far better and more respectful to the staff to have tips included in their salary, benefits and raises. It means the staff can be themselves - genuinely friendly, without the underlying issue of getting you to tip them.
Being from the U.K. (The land of No Tipping) - I personally don't enjoy the North American system where folks in service jobs have to wear a fake smile as they sniff and creep around looking for tips - I think its very demeaning for them - similar to begging.
So - well done to Couples Resorts.
Ian and Vanda