Portland Walking Tours

FAQ: Should we tip our guide?

April 10th, 2013

Our guests often ask, “Is it appropriate to tip our tour guide? Don’t they get a salary?”

The answer is, yes, it is customary (although never mandatory) to tip a guide who has given you good service, just as it is customary to tip other hard-working professionals in service industries, such as a hotel concierge, a valet, a waiter, or massage therapist.

This is true even though each one of those individuals very likely draws at least a nominal salary from their company. For better or worse, service industries have evolved in this way. Rather than building the gratuity into the base price, we keep the base price low while enabling the direct recipient (the customer) to reward good service when it happens, typically with a gratuity of 10-20%.

On the other hand, it is unprofessional to say the least, and unethical at worst, for a guide (or waiter, or any service providing individual) to request tips outright, or insinuate any wrongdoing on your part if you choose not to tip.

Our advice to you if this happens: politely decline and walk away. And look for tour companies who leave those choices up to you, without pressure.