Tips driving service in hospitality industry

Frontal view of hotel
A hotel (Photo credit: Qui Nguyen)

Each year visitors come in their tens of thousands to enjoy the island’s sun, sand and sea along with top-notch service. Tyrone Smith (not his real name), room service attendant at a popular resort in St. James, says he treats both Jamaicans and tourists the same way “with respect”. However, Smith says his hotel is a tip-free hotel meaning that they are free to collect tips from the guests in the hotel. “If we get a $1,000 tip from a Jamaican, we tend to look out more for the Jamaican than the tourist who didn’t tip us”, said Smith. He went on to say that they attend to the tourist but prefer to always be ready and waiting for the Jamaican or whoever tips them most. When asked why the attendants or bell boys would prefer money over providing service, Smith explained that their pay was not much, so they depended on tips for the extra money. Their pay ranges from $25,000 to $45,000 every two weeks depending on how long they have been working at the hotel or how experienced they are. 



Topflight hotels can rack up to $116,705 or more in one night for one VIP room with one bed and up to $64,000 for the cheapest room for a night. Smith continues to say that bellboys tend to be biased as they are one of the first contacts with guests and if it seems as if the guest has money, he will more likely assist them. “The supervisors and managers encourage us to treat all guests equally,” Smith emphasized.

A Jamaican man who oftentimes visits hotels shared that when he arrived at a particular hotel (he did not want to disclose the hotel name) the bell boy began to help him with his luggage. When a bus load of tourists pulled up, the bell boy abandoned him, and he had to carry his bag to his room. He spoke to the manager about the behaviour of the bell boy later.

On the other hand, at Dunn’s River Falls a Jamaican visitor said, “as a local, you don’t get a tour guide unless you go out of your way to ask for one”. Tour guides mostly help the tourists to climb the falls and the locals can join the groups that are going up. The falls tend to be slippery at most points and the water pressure can push you away. “They climb the falls in groups, and it could be dangerous, so everyone should get assistance once you’re there,” says the Jamaican.

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