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Tipping: A Reward for Quality of Service? An Internal Review
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Tips or gratuities in the service industry are often viewed as a mechanism by which a guest exchanges a voluntary sum of money for quality of service. If this assumption is valid, consumers should leave larger tips to elicit better service and provide smaller tips to show dissatisfaction when worse service is provided. There are several published studies that focus on the correlation between the level of service and the tip size. The majority of these studies use the professed opinion of the consumer regarding the preferred tip size as it relates to level of service, friendliness of server, total expense of final bill, etc. This paper, in contrast, reports the results of a field study of the observed behavior of (N=152) valet patrons at a 3.5 star rated casino hotel located in Northern Nevada. The valet service is free, but tips are allowed. Data was collected on patrons with varying characteristics, across multiple time frames and multiple valet servers, allowing us to investigate which of the varying factors, if anything, influences a large or small tip. Our primary finding is that, on average, the typical service enhancement may not affect the actual tip provided, and the contributing variables to an increased tip are not what one would expect.