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To Tip…or not to Tip

Tip on luxury yacht charter -- yes or no?

While the practice of leaving a tip is a common one in the traditional hospitality industry, the concept becomes clouded when it comes to luxury yacht charter vacations.

Should the crew of a yacht expect a gratuity for services performed during a charter? What about smaller vessels, like the family-oriented sailing yachts that dominate the Virgin Islands yacht charter market?  The crews on many of these yachts are owner/operators.  Should an owner/operator who makes money on a charter also expect to receive a tip?  After all, some would argue customers rarely tip the owner of a restaurant, right?

Questions like these highlight the controversy over whether a charter yacht crew should be tipped.  The topic is further skewed by the fact that many charterers come from cultures where tipping is not commonplace.

Many solutions have been suggested by yacht crews and charter brokers.  Some feel a customary tip should be “built in” to the charter rate, but others worry that the addition of a 10-20% bump could price a yacht out of the market.

Industry maven Jana Sheeder, President of SailAway Yacht Charters believes the solution lies in effective communication between the client, the charter broker, and the crew.  “Our brokers are in the best position to explain to clients the customary practice of offering a gratuity to the yacht crew if services meet or exceed expectations,” says Sheeder.  “Rarely do we encounter a situation where a crew does not receive a tip, and we attribute this to the communication process.”

Whether or not a client tips, Sheeder points out that the final decision is beyond debate.  “Ultimately, any gratuity given is at the sole discretion of the charterer. We are in the customer service business and must remember that we, both brokers and yacht crews, are here to meet the customer’s needs.  We are paid for the work we perform – anything extra is just that – extra.”

What do you think?  Should yacht charter crews receive a tip?

This entry was posted in Yacht Charter Posted on

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