LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — While American tipping culture may ‘tip’ some off, international tipping expectations are leaving some Las Vegas service employees contemplating the value of working during the very pricey Formula One racing week.
The internationally recognized sport is expected to drive thousands from its worldwide fan base to Las Vegas in mid-November. There are 105,000 seats across nearly 4 miles of public roads that are transforming into the racing circuit.
These ticket holders may be traveling from parts of the world where a tip doesn’t mean ‘thank you for good service.’ This was Rideshare Driver Jessica McVey’s tipping point when deciding whether to work during the three-day racing event.
“Even with the local crowds, I get just one dollar or I get no tip at all,” McVey said while waiting for her next ride near Harry Reid International Airport Monday morning, referencing a summer of road construction that’s made her routes multiply in duration. “They still just don’t tip because they expect speedy service. There’s not very much we can actually do.”
She’s now joined a growing number of rideshare drivers opting out of potential racing revenue by not working during the three-day event. It may be the case across multiple services: those in a cab’s back seat, at a dining table, or at a hotel door will choose not to tip, and workers will choose not to come in.
UNLV Marketing Professor Marla Royne Stafford points to tipping traditions around the world, where the common 20 percent seen in the U.S. could be as low as 5 percent in other places, if not considered unnecessary altogether.
“A tip is almost an insult to some people. In some places, it might be that a tip is considered a bonus,” Stafford said during a virtual interview Monday afternoon. “Very often, tipping is not even expected in Europe.”
But, in the service-oriented jungle that is the Las Vegas Strip, the question is should American expectations be met? The professor believes the answer is “awareness.”
“We can’t say they’re not aware,” Stafford said. “We don’t know if they’re aware or not. But, if they have not made themselves aware of it [and] nobody’s told them, they may just not know what to do. Not everybody might get the tip that they expect.”
Some services are anticipating this lack of tips.
For example, a taxi ride starting or ending most anywhere between the airport and the resort corridor will have an extra $15 surcharge billed from Wednesday, Nov. 15 to Tuesday, Nov. 21.
The Taxicab Authority Board approved the temporary “pilot program” to “to encourage full workforce participation by permitted taxicab drivers to provide adequate services to the traveling public during the period surrounding the Las Vegas Formula 1 Grand Prix.”
Public roads within the F1 circuit will be closed to the public starting at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 16 until 2 a.m. the following day each day until Saturday, November 18.