Meeting Industry Information

Are you tipping enough?

Ever wonder how much you should really be leaving as a gratuity? Below is a quick recap of what is appropriate in today’s terms.

Restaurants:

  • Wait service (sit down): 15-20%, pre-tax
  • Wait service (buffet): 10%, pre-tax
  • Host or Maitre d’: No obligation for greeting you and showing you to your table.
  • $10-$20 for going above and beyond to find you a table on a busy night or on occasion, if you are a regular patron
  • Take Out: No obligation; 10% for extra service (curb delivery) or a large, complicated order
  • Bartender: $1-2 per drink or 15-20% of the tab
  • Tipping jars: No obligation; tip occasionally if your server or barista provides a little something extra or if you are a regular customer.
  • Restroom Attendant: $0.50-$3, depending on the level of service
  • Valet: $2-$5. Tip when the car is returned to you.

Travel:

  • Skycap: $2 first bag, $1 per additional bag
  • Doorman: A smile and a “thanks” when he opens the door, plus $1-$4 for carrying luggage; $1-$2 for hailing cab (add an extra $1 if it’s raining); $1-$4 beyond the call of duty.
  • Bellhop: $2 first bag; $1 per additional bag; $2-3 for each additional service, such as room delivery.
  • Housekeeper: $2-$5 per day, left daily with a note marked “Housekeeping – Thank you”
  • Concierge: No obligation for answering questions. $5-10 for tickets or restaurant reservations; $15 for hard-to-get tickets or reservations (or 10-20% of the ticket price)
  • Taxi Driver: 15-20% of the fare, but minimally $1; $2 for the first bag carried, $1 per additional bag.

Salon/Spa:

  • Manicurist: 15-20%
  • Facial, waxing, massage: 15-20%

For more tipping help here's one tipping app for smartphones and tablets:  Globe Tipping.  And here's a guide to tipping apps.

Apps to help you keep fit on the road

It’s sometimes hard to keep up your usual physical activity while on travel. Whether it be for a board, executive or annual meeting or just your summer vacation, it’s important to stay fit. Here are a couple FREE apps that can help you do just that! Most of the apps listed below do offer an upgrade for a small fee.

  • 7 minute workout includes 12 high intensity bodyweight exercises. 30 seconds per exercise, 10 seconds rest between exercises.  Inspired by the 7 Minute Workout that was originally published in ACSM'S Health & Fitness Journal and then covered by the NYTimes. (which is listed below) Free workout plan gives you a full-body challenge for improved fitness and weight loss. Voice prompted, so you can complete the entire workout without looking at a timer or device.
  • NY Times web version of the 7 Minute Workout
  • Sworkit – Choose Strength, Cardio, Yoga or Stretching. Set your time limit from 5 minutes up to 60, and begin!
  • Daily Cardio – Set for 5, 8 or 10 minute intervals for up to 3x each. This app shows a video of each exercise and talks you through each one. It has a countdown voice to let you know when it’s time to switch exercises.
  • Want to start training for a 5 or 10K? Try the 10K Trainer app. This is a 14-week day by day program to get you to started running. Use it outside or on the hotel treadmill.  Another one to consider is Running.
  • MyFitnessPal – This app allows you to track your food, exercise and goals. You can track on your phone or on the web version.
  • Need some breathing down time? Try hypnosis. This app has several free messages, with others that cost $1.99+.
  • Find yourself with some extra time in a new place? Try the AllTrails app and find a hiking trail or walk near you. This app uses your location to determine the closest trail and you choose easy, moderate or difficult. Reviewers leave lots of comments, including if the trail or hike is pet and kid approved!

How to make healthy eating choices on the road and at your meeting

Eating healthy in everyday life can be a challenge and when on the road and at a meeting, it is a challenge extreme! But preplanning can help.  Make the challenge easier on yourself and incorporate some of these pre-planning ideas :

  • Drink lots of water. It hydrates you, it fills you up and it saves you money. Whether traveling domestically or in another county, save the environment and take a reusable water bottle and refill it all day. Some airports, including Atlanta, have installed special water bottle stations in addition to regular water fountains. Most hotels are starting to do the same thing. If you like filtered water, try a “Brita” style bottle. Staying hydrated is important all the time but especially when you are on the road.
  • Pack healthy snacks such as granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix, apples, bananas, single oatmeal servings, rice cakes and even a healthy sandwich. If it is a day trip or meeting, you can add veggies and hummus, fresh berries, the possibilities are endless,
  • Find the nearest drug store or grocery store and stock up on anything that you forgot. A lot of hotels are incorporating mini fridges in their sleeping rooms. Take advantage of it! Meeting Planners and Chefs are also on board with healthy eating. More and more menu selections are swaying away from heavy dressings and lots of starches. Remember a salad is not good if it is loaded with salad dressing.

Apple’s iTunes and Google Play’s apps store are loaded with healthy apps that can assist you with eating healthy. Below are two apps that can help you make smart and healthy decisions on the road.

Fooducate

Fooducate is great for breaking down the nutrition information on food labels and “scores” the food for the healthiness. You simply scan the barcode of a product or type in its name or kind of food and the app informs you of its total calories, fat, sodium, and other ingredients. Not only can you uncover how healthy an item is but you can detect any hidden allergens.

Clean Plates

Clean eating is no problem with this app! It  helps you browse nearby restaurants by filtering options by cuisine, price, or diet (gluten-free, vegan, raw, and more). Each result is rated according to Clean Plates' strict review criteria, such as hormone-free and grass-fed meat, local ingredients, organic produce, gluten-free options, and naturally sweetened desserts. Plus, the restaurant receives a rating ranging from "Clean Plates Seal" (the highest rating), "Clean" (mostly healthy options), or "Good" (some healthy options, but order carefully), so you'll know exactly what to expect when you go. Available in New York City, Los Angeles, and Austin, it will expand to cover more cities soon.

In summary:

  1. Drink lots of water
  2. Preplan snacks
  3. Check out menus before going to restaurants
  4. Eat your fruits and veggies
  5. Watch sugar and salt intake
  6. And last but not least, have a treat each day, just don’t overindulge!

Tips for Low Cost Summer Travel

  • Buy your plane tickets at the right time. While many theories exist around booking specifically on a Tuesday to save money, the reality is there is no consistent truth to exactly which days are least expensive when you fly.  Most of the time it is less expensive to leave on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday, though this isn’t always the case. Your best strategy is to get a quick visual of prices for a whole month to see what days are in your budget for your specific route.  Websites like AirfareWatchdog, Skyscanner and Yapta help you study airline ticket prices, tracking them to highlight trends and attempt to predict sales.
  • Use discount travel websites to book your tickets.  In your search for affordable airfare, make sure to use discount travel sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, Hotwire, Jetradar, and Google Flights. These websites offer some of the lowest airline prices on the market without requiring a lot of research. Some travel websites also offer rewards programs so that customers can accumulate certain perks based on purchase history.  Even after you buy a ticket, you still have a chance to save. If you go to My.yapta.com/airline-refunds, you can sign up to receive free notifications if your ticket price drops.
  • Always ask for a discount. Are you a member of an organization? When booking your hotel stay, see what types of organizations earn a discount at the establishment. For example, AAA members get discounts at more than 100,000  businesses. Are you a senior citizen? Always ask if there is a senior citizen discount to see what kinds of savings you can earn. Some places offer student discounts, military discounts, and family discounts as well.
  • Use discount apps and websites to cut costs. When you know what you want to do but you’re open-minded about where you might do it, discount app and website Groupon and LivingSocial can help you save money at every turn. The Indian restaurant next to your hotel might not be offering any savings, but you might find a two-for-one deal at a similar eatery on the other side of the city. Groupon’s mobile app makes location-based searches so simple that you can find your next meal even while you’re on the move.
  • Bundle your lodging reservation with other travel purchases. You’re likely to get a better discount when you book your airfare and lodging through the same website. Expedia advertises possible savings of over five hundred dollars when booking a flight and hotel at the same time with their website. Additionally, the more you spend through these websites, the more rewards you can accumulate toward future savings. Travelocity guarantees the lowest possible price and promises a refund of the difference if you find a lower price elsewhere.
  • Consider unusual lodging.  Sites like AirBnB, VRBO and HomeAway is transforming the way travelers find lodging all over the world. With these sites, you can choose from a variety of accommodations, from sleeping on a sofa to renting an entire house.
  • Find accommodations that include a kitchen. Hotels often include a small refrigerator in each room in the hopes that you’ll experience a desperate moment of hunger or thirst and dive into a $2 can of soda. If you want to avoid this money sinkhole, ask the front desk to empty the mini-fridge when you check in. You can use the extra space to store healthier eats acquired from an area grocery store
  • Purchase gift cards. In addition to coupons, consider the money-saving website Restaurant.com and Raise.com. Search restaurants in the area you will be travelling to and check customer reviews to inform your choices. Buy discounted gift cards – in advance – for the restaurants you want to visit, and save up to 50% on every single meal for the entirety of your vacation. Just remember to be nice by tipping based on the real cost of your meal.

How to make the most of the city you’re in

The summer conference is around the corner and you’re excited about the content as much as the city it’s in, but how do you get to take in some of the sights and sounds without skipping any of the crucial sessions your employer has sent you to attend? Here are a few ideas for short detours during breaks:

  • Explore the immediate surroundings. Talk to your hotel concierge when you arrive and ask for suggestions on shopping and local interests. Perhaps there’s a nearby art gallery or museum where you can experience the work of local artists – and come away with a unique item or two for your home. Many such places are accustomed to shipping items so you don’t have to worry about packing them in your luggage. It’s always appreciated when you can support the local businesses.
  • Hotel food is wonderful, but sometimes you’re ready for a break and want to sample the local restaurants. Some places offer specialty dishes unique to the area. In a community near the coast? Then you must try the seafood. Out in the wide west? Expect to bite into a big steak. Sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor can let you know what you shouldn’t miss, as well as find your favorite cuisine reviewed by your peers that is nearby.
  • Take advantage of any excursions planned during your conference. A visit to Churchill Downs? Absolutely! A picnic at the ball park? You bet! It’s a great way to get some fresh air and experience some of the local culture.

For a larger adventure, plan for your family and/or friends to join you at the end of the conference and take a few extra days for a real vacation. The local CVB would be more than happy to help you find suitable activities and tickets.

Enjoy your conference … and plan for that free time!