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Author: kermball

Joined: 3/16/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 7
Traveler Since: 2007

January 23, 2014

I just got an email note that stated 65% of people surveyed said they were in favor of paying local guides, and the costs will be included starting in 2015.  I find that sooo hard to believe. Sometimes they are not that good. Why should I be paying in advance for a service that could be mediocre. Will this make the local guides less effective, as they know they are getting paid, no matter the job they perform? I believe we should be given the option of what we pay. The other question is, how much will this add to the cost of a trip?

Author: jl.anderson

Joined: 3/17/2010
Posts: 66
Trips Taken: 5
Countries Visited:

OAT/GCT: China, Peru, Ecuador, Ukraine, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda; 35+ more countries

Traveler Since: 2007

January 23, 2014

I was one of the people (among many) who received the survey asking about the tipping policies.  However, the survery was sent out AFTER GCT/OAT had already decided to include tipping for local guides in the base trip.  That did not make me feel like my opinion was valued.

My understanding of the way tipping local guides will be handled is that the TL/PD will offer up the tips following the service, that they will have a budget to do so.  What happens if the local guide did a good job but the TL/PD doesn't tip them enough?  What happens to that money?  Food for thought.

 

Author: garyrr

Joined: 8/25/2012
Posts: 117
Trips Taken: 16
Countries Visited:

Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, S Africa, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Peru, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, Ireland, Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia

Traveler Since: 2000

January 23, 2014
I would think that there are many things that the TL pays for that "vary" - he essentially has an expense report to submit - and this would be submitted on that report as other expenses are. There has to be some "trust" between GCT and the TLs. AND - this is not a "new" concept. Many other companies have been doing the "tips included" for years. GCT is not blazing new territory here. Obviously, there are many companies on both sides of this topic - but it works both ways, or everyone would be doing it the same.

Author: rblume8351

Joined: 10/27/2013
Posts: 36
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2007

January 23, 2014

 It will be so nice not to need to always have a kilo of Euro coins in my pocket.  

I think the best way to deal with a bad local guide, or even a marginal guide is to note that on the post trip survey.  That is surely more effective than withholding the small tip.  

 

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 157
Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2005

January 23, 2014

kermball (posted)...I just got an email note that stated 65% of people surveyed said they were in favor of paying local guides, and the costs will be included starting in 2015.

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I just got a email (from OAT) too, it said " Of the travelers we surveyed, 74% told us they'd prefer to have tipping included". And YES I received the survey after GCT/OCT had already made their decision to included the tips too. The key phrase here is "of the travelers we surveyed". I do not know how many travelers were actually surveyed, if the ones surveyed were even picked at random, and/or if enough travelers were surveyed to make the survey statistically accurate to reflect the majority opinion of all GCT/OAT travelers.

The cruise lines are doing the same thing (i.e. automatically adding your tip to shipboard account).  They tell you it is for your convenience; however, the real reason is just to get more money, etc. The facts were that not all cruise ship passengers tipped the recommended amount (if they tipped at all). My guess is that GCT/OAT's actual motive for "the tips are now included" is the same. Also, I'd guess that they just threw some survey together (at the last minute) to attempt to justify a decision for a "pricing policy change" that they already made based on "the bottom line".

In case you wondered, I voted NO (i.e. not to include tips). Regardless GCT/OAT has the perfect right to change their tour pricing structure anytime they want too.

Author: tpreminger

Joined: 5/14/2011
Posts: 46
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 1999

January 24, 2014

 

For those who posted that they knew the decision to include tips in the cost of the trip was made in advance of the survery, how?  If true then GCT/OAT has certainly rounded a corner into a downhill slide.

Tipping is an infection , we Americans, have spread around the globe. I have no problem giving someone who does me a service a few extra dollars as a Thank You.  I do object to being REQUIRED to tip (a) in advance and (b) for what is often poor service.  With few expections I've found local guides to be very poor. Sticking to a memorized script and unable to answer questions travelers pose that may be more indepth or detailed than they can handle. Then , of course, are the local guides who drone on and on paying no attention to the discomfort of seniors STANDING on cobblestone streets in a downpour.

Companies should pay their employees a living wage, it's as simple as that.

Yes, large cruise lines are adding tips in advance. However, you can refuse though few do.

I think the bus driver and porter tips should be included, but local guides left to the discretion of the traveler. There's no doubt that the tip money not spent will wind up in the pocket of the TL, regional supervisor or OAT/GCT.

We all know the cost of everything is going up and up, but service has not kept pace.  OAT/GCT runs the risk of alienating it's most loyal customers if it makes decisions effecting their wallets and then asks for their opinion.

Author: mary jayne halli...

Joined: 9/25/2010
Posts: 51
Trips Taken: 27
Traveler Since: 1989

January 24, 2014

Also got my e-mail and am concerned as it is just another raise to the prices.  Since I have repeated many trips such as 5 times the Christmas market on  the Rhine (we enjoy it), we don't need to take the side trips, even the walk arounds so hate to have to be tipping for things we are not taking advantage of.  I at times also feel that on the river cruises, the 3 guides should be paid by Grand Circle instead of the obligatory 4 to 6 dollars a day as at times, again, not taking some of the side trips, I don';t take advantage of their services then.  However I keep coming back so SOMETHING must be going RIGHT.  However again, I wish the bus driver was paid by the company, etc as this does all add up and we are from a part of the country that we do not have to do a lot of tipping (people do their jobs and are paid by their bosses) except for restaurants, it is something to have to become aware of.   Oh well, we will see how much everything goes up on the 2015 trips .

Author: merleo

Joined: 4/23/2012
Posts: 31
Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 1996

January 24, 2014

I didn't participate nor did I receive the survey but if I did, I would have voted in favor of having OAT/GCT include tipping in the cost of the trip and let the TL handle. It's hard for me to imagine any tip left-overs being pocketed by the TL or staff. Therefore, I will support a fair and reasonable increase by OAT/GCT. IMHO even if 'service' was not up to par, the person should have a nominal tip just for showing up. Fortunately, I've never come across a guide who gave poor service. When I think of the countries I visit and see their living conditions, I hope that the token tip I leave behind helps a little.  

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 157
Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2005

January 24, 2014

tpreminger (posted)...For those who posted that they knew the decision to include tips in the cost of the trip was made in advance of the survey, how? 

I can't speak for anyone else as I do not know when they received their survey; however, in my case I'm sure I received it after the decision had been made. About the same time I received my survey they started posting the first new 2015 GCT/OAT trips on the website were tipping was included. Not too long after that a very knowledgeable GCT/OAT employee telephoned me (on another issue) and acknowledged that the decision had been made earlier than when I received my survey.

 

 

 

Author: judylee

Joined: 8/19/2011
Posts: 14
Trips Taken: 15
Traveler Since: 2000

January 24, 2014

Regarding local tips & the survey I never received such survey, if I had I would have said no!  Tipping is a personal thing, we tip very well for excellant service.  On our last trip to the Greek Isles, Nestor the driver was the best, he played Greek music while we were on the bus and the last day he presented us all with a CD he made for us, even making an envelope for us in which to store it. Naturally he was given a nice tip, he was always there & watched for travelers who need special assistance getting on and off the bus, often this is NOT done.  We also have had great local guides and mediocre ones as well, tipping should be left to ones disgression, we are adults and should handle tipping appropriately.  Commenting after the fact will not help the situation pertaining to a poor driver or local guide.

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 157
Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2005

January 25, 2014

Since gratuities are now included for local guides, drivers, and luggage porters on trips starting in 2015; it is safe to assume a designated amount accessed to the traveler (i.e. increase in the overall tour price to cover the tips) is basically the sum of the designated tip amounts allotted to each person during the trip. I have a couple (clarification) questions on GCT/OAT's implementation of the policy:

1. Will each person automatically get the designated amount, or will someone make an assessment on their performance and possibly adjust it accordingly? If an assessment is made, who will be making it and will they be soliciting any input from the travelers?

2. If a traveler opts out of any activity and/or tour will each person still automatically get their tip amount as if the entire group participated? 

Author: garyrr

Joined: 8/25/2012
Posts: 117
Trips Taken: 16
Countries Visited:

Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, S Africa, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Peru, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, Ireland, Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia

Traveler Since: 2000

January 26, 2014

 It was stated earlier here or on the OAT forum that tipping would be at the TL/PD discretion.

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