Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Offering Gratuities to Hotel Staff After the Conclusion of the Event

It is great when you have enough money in your budget to offer additional gratuities after a conference to reward those who went above and beyond the call of duty in support of your event. So how does one go about doing that, short of walking around with an envelope full of cash...?

If you wish to present gratuities to staff at a hotel for exemplary service, I would recommend creating a list of those individuals that you want to recognize with cash payments (gratuities). From there, you can start plugging in dollar amounts. Alternately, you decide on a total that you are willing/can afford to pay and start giving it to various people until you run out. The more someone did for you and/or the group, the more they would receive. The whole process is a back and forth kind of affair as you adjust the list of names, the amounts they get, and the total you are disbursing until you reach a final list you are comfortable with.

Typically, the CSM gets the largest amount, followed by banquet captains or other "dedicated" staff at the hotel, depending on their role in supporting the event. I will sometimes include servers or other line staff if they really went "above and beyond" in their service - though, as often as not, a letter to the General Manager acknowledging their work and expressing thanks serves a more valuable role for them. Only in extreme instances do I include bellmen or anyone else who would have received a cash gratuity on the spot for their services. In any case, my list of folks who received gratuities after the fact is rarely more than six to ten people.

Though various service industries often try to set “recommended” gratuity rates, remember that gratuities here are a reward for service “above and beyond”, not just for good service – and there really is no one right amount to give if you are presenting gratuities. Do what feels right (and is within your budget).

When you have your list finalized, you send a check to the hotel for the total amount along with a list spelling out who gets how much of that total. The list and check typically go to the CSM, though sometimes they will go to someone else instead – confirm who should get them before sending.

~ Karl Baur, CMP • Project Director, RDL enterprises