India’s tipping intent falls by 10% in 1 year: TripAdvisor

The survey reveals that while 45.7% respondents tip for services often, 42 % ensure that they tip staff for its services always

July 09, 2014 10:24 IST | India Infoline News Service

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site*, announced the results of its tipping survey of more than 2,000 respondents from India on tipping habits, preferences and patterns when holidaying in India and abroad. The survey reveals that while 45.7% respondents tip for services often, 42 % ensure that they tip staff for its services always. Helpfulness of service seems to be the number driver of  tipping in India with the most respondents indicating that it is this factor that motivates them to tip, both at hotels and restaurants, over all else., .Almost58% feel that if the tip is included in the bill then the staff doesn’t deserve additional tips.


Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India said, “India’s tipping intent has  fallen by a sharp margin of 10% from 97% in 2013 to 87% in 2014. This is probably in line with the increasing trend of service charges being included in the bill, which is supported by survey data indicating that almost 60% of respondents would not tip if a service charge was included in the bill.. While Indians do not tip generously when home, their intent goes up when traveling abroad - 30.78% people tip more on foreign holidays.”


Factors governing tipping generosity


It is very interesting to see how tipping generosity is proportionate to the nature and destination of holiday.


Tipping generosity increases on leisure and business holidays: 28.1% people say that they tip more often when on a vacation than in their home towns.  This figure increases, with 14.9% people saying that they tip more when on a business trip as they can get the tips amount reimbursed by his/ her employer

Indians tip more when vacationing abroad: Tipping intent goes up for 30.7% respondents when on foreign holidays. The primary reason of doing so is that 56% respondents feel that the tipping culture is stronger abroad, while 17%  don’t want Indians to be perceived as cheap by not tipping.

Loyalties dictate tipping frequency: Loyalty towards a particular establishment enhances the chances of tipping as 31% people say that they tip more if they are regular customers of the a hotel/ restaurant/ cab service.

Tip on demand: Over 33.4% respondents say that hotel staff have demanded a tip from them for a service, and 29% respondents have tipped the staff despite poor service, only because they felt bad for them.

Helpfulness, politeness and friendliness of the staff encourage generous tipping:


Service Characteristic In a hotel In a restaurant
Helpfulness 22.8 % 26.9 %
Politeness 21.5 % 16.5 %
Friendliness 21.3 % 23.4%

Services most tipped for: Restaurant staff (93.2%) and hotel staff (78.8%) are the most tipped services and flight attendants receive least tips - 1.4%
  • Within the hotel  – Waiters (74.8%), Room service (71.5%) and Bellmen (65.3%) are the most tipped services
  • Impact of economic fluctuation: 58.5% respondents say that macro-economic situations such as inflation, currency fluctuation etc. has not affected their tipping habits
Going the extra mile to learn about tipping cultures
  • Understanding tipping cultures abroad: 35% respondents aren’t sure about what is expected when tipping abroad, yet they invest time and effort in learning about it beforehand
  • Trusted sources of tipping information: To learn about the tipping culture of a foreign location before visiting,  52.8% people speak to their family and friends, 48.8% use Travel reviews, 39.3% use Travel guides and 37.9% use Travel forums
Tipping trends when in India v/s abroad
  • Obligated to tip abroad: For over 33.7% respondents quality of service drives tipping intent in India, and another 38.5% simply apply the 6-10% of bill amount tip rule. The trend reverses when Indians travel abroad as 32.1% apply the flat 6-10% of bill amount tip rule and only 24.3% go by service quality
  • Indians shell out higher amount of tips for same services abroad: 68.6% respondents shell out $1 to $4 for a taxi driver/ valet abroad as against 63% people tipping Rs.10 –Rs.50  for the same services in India
Tipping intent across key Indian cities
  • Mumbai surpasses Chennai in tipping generosity : This year Mumbai emerged as the most generous tipping city with 46% of respondents saying they ‘always’ tip on holiday leaving last year’s most generous city Chennai (41%)behind.
  • Delhi is the poorest with tipping: Only 35% respondents in Delhi tip always. Delhi came out as the most tight-fisted with 38% respondents saying they only tip if the staff goes an extra mile  .Bellman, Housekeeping and Valet are the top 3 services most tipped for in hotels across Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore
  • Most cities would not tip if service charge is included in the bill: Percentages across cities are: Mumbai (66%), Bangalore (66%), Delhi (65%), Hyderabad (53%), Chennai (50%)
  • Respondents from Mumbai (34%) and Bangalore (34%) tip more as compared to those from Delhi(27%) and Kolkata (27%) when traveling abroad
Travel reviews are the most referred source of information when one is looking at enhancing their knowledge on tipping culture abroad:
  • Delhi (45%)
  • Mumbai (48%)
  • Bangalore (53%)

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