STUDY: Aussie travellers among the most confused and inconsistent tippers

Foreground focus is on a glass jar labeled

To tip or not to tip? That is the question. Or at least it is for around 50 per cent of Aussies.

New research has revealed Aussies are among the most confused and possibly inconsistent tippers around.

OpenTable’s inaugural travel and tipping report surveyed diners from 22 countries around the world and found that 16 per cent of Australians had admitted to leaving a restaurant without tipping!

And we’re not alone, with two in five diners in Denmark (22 per cent) and Finland (20 per cent) confirming they do not regularly tip as gratuities are often included in Scandinavian restaurants’ bills and hospitality staff wages are relatively high.

As a nation that prides itself on having one of the best award wages for hospitality staff, tipping isn’t a formal part of the Australian culture and is just one of the reasons why diners are left pondering, “to tip or not to tip?”, particularly when travelling internationally.

Half of the Australian population (50 per cent) admits to being confused by tipping when holidaying overseas, with the majority of Australians (51 per cent) saying they would prefer tips to be included in the prices at restaurants. This sentiment is echoed globally with 45 per cent of diners surveyed saying they would also like to see this introduced.

Dollar banknotes and coins, money tips.

The global report also revealed that the size of the tip is a point of contention for Aussies with 21 per cent of Australians considering a gratuity of 9-10 per cent as a standard reward for good service when dining out locally, in their homeland, compared to 17 per cent who would only tip between five and six per cent.

Despite Australian’s novice experience with tipping, the findings revealed things aren’t all bad. When Australians are sure of the protocol, the majority (43 per cent) will leave a tip if gratuities are expected in the country they’re visiting. Only one in five (21 per cent) Australian diners would never leave a tip, whilst 16 per cent would only leave a tip if the waiter showed exemplary service, meaning Aussies sit well below the international average with only 13 per cent vs 28 per cent globally leaving a gratuity no matter the tipping etiquette of the country they’re visiting.

It’s a similar case when dining out in Australia; a fifth (21 per cent) of Australian diners choose to tip between nine and 10 per cent, 17 per cent between five and six per cent, and 16 per cent leaving no tip. The most common places for Australians to tip is at a sit-down restaurant (39 per cent) or at a casual cafe (21 per cent), whilst one in three (39 per cent) wouldn’t consider tipping anyone at all.

To ensure travellers have all the holiday tips and tricks they need to travel this winter, OpenTable and KAYAK have compiled ‘tipping tips’ revealing Australia’s most searched holiday destinations.

  1. London, Great Britain In the UK, it isn’t compulsory to tip and sometimes a service charge is included. If not, British diners generally leave 10 to 15 per cent to show their appreciation.
  2. Denpasar, Indonesia  A gratuity isn’t expected in Indonesia but leaving loose change is welcomed and not considered culturally inappropriate.
  3. Los Angeles, United States In the US, the tips are typically generous. At restaurants, Americans would generally tip a minimum of 15 to 20 per cent and $1 for every drink ordered.
  4. Paris, France In France it’s considered flashy to tip for no good reason. Restaurants tend to add the phrase ‘service compris’ to the end of bills which is the 15 per cent service charge required by French law for taxation purposes.
  5. Singapore There is no obligation to tip in Singapore and some restaurants will add a non-optional service charge.

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