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Tipping Chalet Hosts

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Very Happy
sorry @SlipnSlide but I think you've made yourself look a bit silly here
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Most chalet staff earn fek all, €100 per week is not uncommon.
They live three to a room in off-site flats.

A tip is crucial to them.

ski instructors only earn when they are actually teaching.
Typical pay about 15% of what you are paying for their time.
It will have cost them several thousand pounds to achieve the necessary qualification.

A tip is also crucial to them (well most of them).

My question is:
99% of you/us do not hesitate to add 10% (a minimum really) to the bill if you are in a restaurant.
90% will do the same in a taxi.
90% will add a couple of quid when you get your hair cut.

So why would you not tip chalet staff or ski instructors when/if they deliver a good service?

@SlipnSlide, please make your views known at the beginning of the week if you are in a chalet, it would only be fair on both sides...with an attitude like that please tell me why you deserve 1% more than the "contractual" effort from the staff (which of course they should deliver)?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
What @rungsp, said. I also extend that to hotels when you have the same waiter every evening,

and Transfer drivers. They get up at stupid times of the day and night to drive you and your loved ones safely to your destination. Dealing with all the screaming, crying, vomming and "entertaining" questions whilst telling you all about the best spots on the mountain or politely shutting the chuff up whilst you and your loved ones embark on a heated debate about who left the boot bag on the carousel.

They get paid about the same as chalet staff after tax and paying for their accommodation so tips ALSO matter to them.

I always tip my cabbie when in London and always tip my driver on transfers.
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Quote:

Most chalet staff earn fek all, €100 per week is not uncommon.
They live three to a room in off-site flats.

A tip is crucial to them.

Exactly. My son earned £75 a week and shared a room with his girlfriend which had a shower in the corner, barely room to swing a cat, and no catering facilities at all, not even a kettle. That made eating on their day off expensive, as they weren't allowed into the chalet they were hosting unless they were in uniform and on duty. Oh, and they worked about 56 hours a week for their £75.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@SlipnSlide
Quote:

Most of them seem to be young people from reasonably privileged middle class backgrounds, with the luxury of being able to take a gap year before starting university or a career.

Yes, lots of them are on gap years, but it's not exactly a 'luxury' for most of them. Most will spend a large amount of that year earning money to supplement their student loan, since it doesn't even cover accommodation costs. Both my kids grew up and learnt so much on their gap years, and by the time they went to Uni they were both in a much better place to cope with it, and get the most out of it, than so many of the kids that go straight from school.
Apologies, that was a bit off topic!
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I'm sorry but I was bought up in a non-tipping culture. It's largely an alien concept to me. And has this thread demonstrates is a messy confusing business. I hate it.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Just to add to the facts. Not all chalet/chalet hotel staff are on gap years. As a more mature employee I am constantly amazed by how 'tight' some guests can be. Most staff are working long hours for very little reward. Although they are provided with pretty much all their day to day necessities, tips are a tremendous boost for their morale. I think a MINIMUM of 30 euro per person (min.50 couple),per week should be given. Those who think 5 or 10 euro can keep it, it's an insult!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Old Man Of Lech, that is fairly brain dead....you decided to work there for that salary.....someone gives you an extra tenner and you consider it an insult?
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Thornyhill-SO, it's fairly obvious you are one of life's tightwads. If you think 10 euro is any kind of reasonable 'tip' for 7 days of what is usually very hard work on YOUR behalf, you keep it. You are the kind of guest, most chalet staff would gladly not see again. Go back to your tight self catering hovel about which you will brag about how CHEAP like you the holiday was. back bottom
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An 18-20 year old on minimum wage in UK is earning around £900 per month. Take away the essentials (rent, bills, food) and they are left with what, maybe £400 tops? Doesn't seem like working in a chalet is much worse financially. That is without taking account of all the perks of working in a chalet (lift pass, free rentals, etc).

For people older than 20 the economics change, however as @Thornyhill says it's a person's choice to work in a chalet. If they are happy to work for a low wage in exchange for the perks of working in a chalet (accommodation, lift pass, food etc.) that is their decision. It's between them and their employers how much they are paid.

It seems that one of the reasons for tipping chalet staff is that they are underpaid. I don't really buy this as a suitable reason. I think most people would agree that nurses are underpaid, but we don't tip them even though their job is considerably more important than most.

I also don't agree with the idea that ski instructors need to be tipped because their training costs a lot. A 10 week BASI level 2 course costs around the same as a single year at university. Many people pay a lot for their education and training in other professions yet we don't tip them.

That all said, I'm not against tipping. However it should be based on receiving good service, rather than simply expected.
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@boarder2020, an 18-20 year old on minimum wage generally has access to a kitchen to cook in and cheap supermarkets to shop in. £75 goes an awful lot further in the UK than it does in a ski resort, especially if you have no access to facilities on your day off.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
How does the saying go, pay peanuts and you get monkeys? I'm not keen on tipping monkeys who have chosen these jobs not to survive but to fund an expensive habit. But then I'm not very keen on the chalet holiday model - ever since working for one (when I just hoped for civilised behaviour from clients, not tips).
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Hurtle, I too have gone off the chalet holiday model. Underpaid staff who might or might not want to look after guests - and who often needed ingratiating behaviour to even get what the guests had paid for. Like breakfast. The best staff were very good; the worst appalling. I was also unimpressed but TOs saying that chalet hosts were not guests' servants - when the whole point of a chalet holiday was that you did have paid individuals - ie servants - so that the guests were not self-catering.

In recent years I have enjoyed self-catering on the EOSB model. Other than that, I now stay in hotels, where, generally, the staff want to do their job well, don't have massive hangovers when serving breakfast, produce meals to a consistently high quality, and don't have a day off.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Old Man Of Lech, with an attitude problem like that, no wonder you get such rubbish tips.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@achilles, indeed. Self-catering is my preference, closely followed by b&b, and that is not, as implied above, on the grounds of cost, it is a genuine preference.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
leggyblonde wrote:
@Old Man Of Lech, with an attitude problem like that, no wonder you get such rubbish tips.
Quite!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The second that anyone who expects a tip starts "educating" me about my obligation to tip or expected amounts is the moment I start scaling down the amount I am prepared to tip as some US waitstaff have found. Pre calculating a recommended tip and putting it on the bill "for my convenience" almost ensures they won't get that amount.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Hurtle. I've also worked as a chalet host, and I agree that nice guests are better than any tip. I think that chalet wages have gone down in real terms over the last 20 years or so though, as they have stayed static during that time. I also have the impression that guest expectations have increased during that time. Living on 75 euro a week in a ski resort is pretty difficult.

@achilles. Generally, i.e. excluding the super high end chalets, the chalet model is not attempting to provide a hotel level of service. A hotel will generally have reception cover from early morning to late evening, will offer meals within a wide time window, and will offer a choice at meals. A chalet is cheaper, but the staff are on duty for a more limited time, e.g. 7am-11am, 5pm-10pm. Chalet hosts generally have other non-guest facing tasks to do outside of those times, too. Some people don't get this. Anyone who wants to have breakfast at 10am, pick 4 different meals for their family at dinner and require "service" in the middle of the day chalet host off-duty period is better off booking a hotel. I didn't get too much of this, but there was the occasional guest who thought that we just sat around waiting for them to want us for something and asked with some incredulity if we ever went skiing...

I am also not very keen on the chalet model, from seeing both sides of it. I know how much work it is to do it well, and I do think that those that do it well are underpaid for it. The first two chalet holidays I went on the staff were great, and got a good tip. The second two they were really awful, and got no tip. But really, I want to avoid going on holiday with awful chalet hosts, and that just seems to be the luck of the drawer most of the time. So now I also try always to self-cater (also my preference) or stay in a hotel.
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Tipping is simple - it is a reward for good service and the amount given should be subjective - based on your own perceived view of value.

Everyone has different views on what is good and bad service. You may have someone providing what they believe is good service - to a "client" who does not agreed with said level and is below what they are expecting / used to and so may not tip. So it is never something that will always work for all.

I think the culture of expecting tips is wrong - bottom line, if someone wants to tip - they will, if they don't wish to, so what?!?! As someone who worked for years in various tipping orientated service roles, if I received a tip "happy days", if not, I still provided to the person who hadn't tipped the same level of service I would to others. I chose to do those jobs based on the benefits I was getting from my employer (wages, perks etc). I never chose a job based on the receiving of tips. For those doing ski seasons, I am pretty sure they don't calculate the tips to factoring in whether they will choose to do a season or not - they are just an added bonus.

My recent MW chalet hotel experience -

1. Barman - superb chap, always took time out to focus on my wife and I, offered us knowledge, sold us beers at "happy hour rates" to stack up, ordered pizza for us on the hotel staff days off etc. Really nice bloke that I spent hours chatting to every evening. Hence tipped 10% of my end of week bar bill to the man in cash (NOT a small amount!)

2. Room maid - never met the lady, me and my wife are very tidy anyway, room never needed cleaning, but she smartened up towels etc and did what she could. Tipped her EUR40 (EUR 20pp) at end of week - which seems about the going rate based on searches I did. If she had done nothing, then probably wouldn't have bothered.

3. Restaurant staff - no character - no help, just taking orders, serving food and dropping wine on tables. They didn't add anything to the experience / joy of the holiday etc, in fact at times you felt like they were trying to rush you so they could vanish. Hence I didn't tip any of them.

Does point 3, make me a tightwad when point 1 was well tipped?!?! As per my view - tipping is very personal and it is a persons right to decide what they do and don't tip. Simples.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Old Man Of Lech wrote:
Thornyhill-SO, it's fairly obvious you are one of life's tightwads.



back bottom


I have never met him but would bet a chunk of money on him not being a tightwad, more likely the opposite.

You might be right on the other point.

Toofy Grin
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I hate tip expectation, and will always take my own bags to my room in a hotel etc

I will always tip good service, if they make the meal/week in the chalet better tip them, if not don't. Just turning up for work is not enough.
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@Drew Carey, absolutely agree with all of that. Also this
Quote:

I will always tip good service, if they make the meal/week in the chalet better tip them, if not don't. Just turning up for work is not enough.
And if I do request help with my bags, then of course I will tip.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Layne wrote:
I'm sorry but I was bought up in a non-tipping culture. It's largely an alien concept to me. And has this thread demonstrates is a messy confusing business. I hate it.


Total sympathy here. Though from the UK, tipping is certainly alien. Made worse by all the cross cultural interpretations out there which create a real minefield with no simple catch all. I'm always more than happy to reward good service, but I find the hassle to get it right a real buzzkill.
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@Pynch, +1
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@Pynch, and me
I don't mind tipping generally (although I would prefer a world where pay was higher and a heartfelt thank you was enough) but it's quite stressful getting it right
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leggyblonde & Hurtle--- FYI, Last fully catered chalet I worked in my tip was $700 yes that's DOLLARS for 1 week. On average my tips are about $250 a week this season. My attitude is to provide the best service I can to people who appreciate the amount of work that goe's into providing a memorable vacation. If you think 5-10 euro is a decent tip for a weeks work I pity you.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Across 20 people in a chalet 200 Euro is more than double what their employer is paying them. Seems daft to turn your nose up at that.
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@Old Man Of Lech, I would want to know how many people contribute to your weekly tip and what services you actually provide (and with what kind of attitude) before I would consider your post meaningful. And I don't necessarily think 5-10 Euros is a decent tip, it entirely depends on the service provided. And, FWIW, I would tip someone who obviously 'tries hard': if the results of that effort are unsatisfactory, I would be inclined to complain to the employer, not to punish the employee.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
tend to take the view that the gain for the person getting the tip is more than the 'loss' for the person giving the tip - this is even more the case on a ski holiday which tend to be a bit pricey but and extra €20 per person is in the rounding but makes a difference to the chalet team. i get that some are on a 'Gap Yar' with mummy and daddy always in the background but a few Euros for beer comes in useful for anybody.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I once gave a Chalet girl more than just the tip.....
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just tip the chalet staff for heavens sake. €20 is the price of one round of rubbish lager in most resorts. And don't give me this "tipping is an alien concept" rubbish, you know exactly what tipping is and when it's appropriate, stop being tight.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Dr John, you do what you want. Be happy to let others to do as they wish.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@achilles, I will, and what I want to do is point out not tipping chalet staff is tight.
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I've never liked the attitude that the general public should be expected to make up for employers paying people poor wages by handing out tips no matter what service they receive. I really hate the tipping culture in countries like America.



@Old Man Of Lech, I hope you're politer to your guests than you are on here...
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@HoneyBunny, +1, I started typing but felt he is not interested in opinions.
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I might give a ski bunny a $700 tip.

Nice to see Guvnor.
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@HoneyBunny, in the specific case of chalet staff any increase to wages will be passed directly onto the customers, and you can be certain that that increase will be more than €20 per customer per week, also the staff will be taxed on any increase. The current system is a mutually beneficial arrangement.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
The chalet hosts tend to be on very low wages, so I'm sure even 10 euros per guest would make a big deal to them - put it into other terms it's 2 vin chaud in La Plagne Village.
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As an aside, when I was 18 I went diving, not skiing. I spent 3 months working 11 hours a day, 6 days a week, living in a room nicknamed "the dungeon" with no air conditioning in a Mediterranean summer. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, but I actually lost money paying for training for the first 6 weeks, then for the following 6 weeks earned £50 a week. Less than one pound an hour.

Throughout that season I was frequently responsible for the lives of other people. I was cheerful, helped with all kinds of weird and wonderful requests, put the safety of others before my own, and I received literally zero tips. In a whole season.

Fast forward a year later and I did the same, but in a market with far more Russians, a few Americans, some English, some German and a few other nationalities. My salary (despite being in second season with a lot more experience) was actually lower, £150 a month, but the tips could be quite astonishing, and I certainly very rarely bought a beer in the bar after work. One notorious payday meant I more than doubled my salary for the week, and it gave me enough money to go out for a decent night out and buy a few drinks for the guys who were hauling our gear backwards and forwards, filling tanks, driving boats, but not dealing directly with customers, after I'd paid out a bunch of cash to fix my own gear.

English customers are, quite frankly, the tightest I could find in a resort. For chalet staff working for English TOs, with largely English customers, there must be weeks where everything goes really well and all customers entirely delighted but receive nothing in tips, which the TOs basically bake into how they sell the deal to chalet staff - you'll not get much money from us, but we'll give you somewhere to live and your beer money will come from £100+ a week from the punters. Either accept that, and the cheap TO packages that come with it, and the tipping that comes with it, or pay for a luxury hotel where you'll probably end up tipping anyhow.
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Low cash wages, but free board and lodging and probably lift pass.

I wonder if nixnap tips his dungeon dwellers?
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