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TripAdvisor Reveals Annual Tipping Survey Results
Three out of ten Brits tipping less on holiday due to state of economy and Brits still least informed of tipping practices abroad

29 May, 2013 - TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel website, reveals the results of its annual European tipping survey.  

The study of nearly 7,000 travellers* reveals that Brits are still tipping less due to the continued weak economy. In addition, British travellers remain unsure of what is expected when tipping abroad as we remain Europe’s least informed on tipping practices.

“With continued uncertainty over the economy, it’s not just the big travel decisions such as ‘Do I go on holiday?’ or ‘Where to go?’ that are affected,” commented Angus Struthers, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “Being cost conscious applies to all levels of a holiday, including tipping – the often relied upon source of income for many in the service industry.”

Tips take a dip for third year in a row

For the third consecutive year, one in three Brits said they’re tipping less on holiday due to financial concerns:

  • 31% of Brits said they’re giving smaller tips or have stopped tipping entirely on holiday due to the economy.  However, the situation appears to be improving having reduced from 33% in 2012 and 35% in 2011

  • The effect of the economy is affecting Italian and Spanish travellers considerably more, with 59% and 54% respectively of respondents from these markets stating that they tip less or don’t tip any more when on holiday.

  • German travellers tipping habits are the least affected in Europe by the economy, with 21% tipping less or not at all and are the nation surveyed most likely to always give a tip (10%).

UK least clued up on tipping

Brits are trailing behind the rest of Europe on tipping knowledge as UK travellers are revealed as Europe’s most confused tippers for the third year running – and it’s getting worse:

  • Just 19% of Brits (down from 46% last year) always know what is expected tipping-wise in other countries and therefore not surprisingly are the nation most likely to adopt a general tipping rule, with the most common amount being 10% of the total bill being applied by one in three (32%).

  • Other European travellers put the UK to shame: on average, 30% of European respondents claim they know what they’re expected to tip abroad, with Germans still  claiming the crown of most informed – 74% said they always know the rules

The tipping point: Friendliness

Friendliness of service is the ultimate deciding factor when tipping in a restaurant for Brits:

  • 62% of Brits claim that friendliness of service is of the highest importance when tipping a waiter along with 58% of other European travellers

  • For 15% of Russians, tipping a waiter depends on attractiveness of staff while 4% of Brits claim to base their tips on how easy on the eye a waiter is


Trials and tribulations of tipping

Confusion around tipping comes with consequences:

  • Only 2% of Brits (the second lowest behind Germans (1%)) claim never to tip when on holiday

  • 7% of Brits say they’ve had a holiday ruined by a tipping experience

  • 14% of Brits say they’ve been confronted by a waiter about a tip

  • Over a quarter (28%) of Brits feel tipping should be abolished and included in the bill

  • 10% of Brits say tipping on holiday makes them anxious, compared to 8% of all Europeans surveyed

  • 20% of Brits say the US tipping culture puts them off travelling to the country, while just 10% of all Europeans surveyed agree

“The tipping culture can be cause for anxiety, and where other nations claim to know what’s expected in different countries, for Brits the general solution seems to be to tip nearly all the time and apply a general 10% of the total bill rule.” concluded TripAdvisor’s Angus Struthers.