Gratuity for Massage Therapists: How Much to Tip Massage Therapists
A tip is a small amount of money, usually, a small percentage of the products or services being paid, voluntarily given by the customer to a server, valets, hairstylists, and massage therapists. It is not a worldwide thing as tipping is mostly an American thing.
Tipping is a language conveyed by a customer whether the services rendered were satisfactory or not. It is essentially a grade given to the employee.
In an interview with PBS NewsHour Weekend, Michael Lynn, a professor of consumer behavior and marketing at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, listed five basic motives for tipping. He said that some people tip to show off, tip to help the server, tip to get future service, tip out of a sense of duty, and tip to avoid the server’s disapproval and other people. In Lynn’s research, tipping out of a sense of generosity is often a weak motivation.
How Much Do You Tip?
Tipping 15-20% on top of the bill is considered customary but the amount of gratuity the customer gives will depend on the quality of service they received.
In the Philippines, tipping is not required and there is no tipping culture because people employed in the service sector get a service charge. This is basically an additional fee charged by a service establishment on top of a customer’s bill to contribute to a service employee’s wages and is usually anywhere between 10-15% of the total bill.
Employees are then expected to do their jobs without the expectation of any gratuities. Leaving a tip depends on a customer’s discretion. However, Western influence has pervaded the country and more people leave tips to someone who has served them well as their tour guide. Tourists who hired a tour guide commonly tip from Php50 to Php100 per person. In the salon and spa service, customers commonly tip from Php20 to Php100.
Nowadays, tipping can be difficult with the adoption of contactless and digital payment methods.
What If You’re Unhappy with Your Massage?
Maybe the massage was painful or the pressure was either too deep or too light. Customers can provide feedback to the massage therapist themselves or take it to the front desk.
Is There Ever a Time Not to Tip?
Yes, customers can refuse to tip for whatever reason. Some of these reasons could be:
No Tipping Policy – Customers can ask or are notified at the front desk whether an establishment accepts tips or not. Some spa establishments employ a “No Tipping Policy” because massage therapists are paid more than the average corporate spa or a service charge is included.
The Massage Therapist is Self-employed – Their rates could include the service charge and are all-inclusive.
The Massage Experience was Unsatisfactory or Uncomfortable – This could mean the massage was painful, the massage or the massage therapist made the customer feel uncomfortable, or the pressure was either too deep or too light.
Rude Service – This means poor service from the massage therapist themselves. It could be a lack of respect from the massage therapist or poor time management where the massage therapist arrived late or finished too early.
What If You Can’t Afford to Tip?
A private massage that is all-inclusive and expensive does not need tipping. One of the reasons tipping is so pervasive is the below-average income that massage therapists get from their jobs and relies on customer gratuity to pay for their daily expenses.
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