Tipping after a massage in London

Category: Massage
Last updated on: 16/07/2018
Tipping your masseuse in UK

Tipping is a bit like marmite isn't it? You either embrace the concept and tip with a smile whenever you get an opportunity to show your appreciation ... or ... you find yourself begrudgingly adding the lowest tip you can possibly leave simply to avoid a scene.

But whether you like tipping or not, at least restaurants and bars give a little guidance by adding a line to your bill to indicate what they believe is an appropriate tip. When it comes to a massage in the comfort of your own home or hotel room, you are left to your own decisions. Is it customary to give your masseuse a tip in the same way that you may reward an attentive waiter with one?

As you will see below, opinions are divided and change depending on the location and circumstances, but one thing is certain: your massage should be a completely happy and relaxing experience from start to finish, without any pressure to tip. Tipping customs or expectations should not spoil the enjoyment of your treatment in any way.


Tipping etiquette in the UK

In America, tipping is like death and taxes: you cannot avoid them.

In fact it is so certain that providers of massage services in the States may even include the tip into the basic advertised price of treatments. The case for doing so is that there is no question about whether you will tip or not - you will (and American customers generally accept that is indeed the norm). The only question therefore remaining is what amount. By the provider adding a preset tip percentage to the cost of your massage you have transparency and certainty up front, so should not feel any stress or worry about selecting the appropriate amount. That’s simply because there is nothing left for you to decide about. The tip is pre-set and automatically added to the price charged. It is mandatory and you pay it even before you have met your therapist, let alone experienced the service.

Europe, and in particular the UK, is a little different when it comes to tipping. (Unfortunately death and taxes are just as certain over here as they are in the States.)


Is tipping mandatory in London, UK?

Google says tipping is:

“giving someone a sum of money as a reward for a service.”

We feel a more appropriate definition for a typical Brit would be:

“giving someone a sum of money as a reward for a better than expected service.”

Tipping is generally not mandatory in London and at The Massage Rooms tipping your therapist is completely voluntary.

The massage therapists who work with us are totally at ease with this approach and embrace it. They do not arrive at your home or hotel expecting to receive a tip. If you do give them tip at the end of your session, your therapist will see this as a lovely and unexpected bonus and accept it with a smile. Just as your better than expected service should have felt like a lovely bonus to you.


So how much to tip in London?

Tip amounts are commonly recommended as a percentage add-on to the underlying price of the service. This method is quite arbitrary and the most common suggestions range from about 10 to 20 percent of your massage cost. For a 90-minute massage costing £75 that means the recommended tip would be £7.50 to £15.

We do not think that percentage based tipping matches the underlying spirit of giving an extra reward that you feel comfortable with. It's still to close to something that feels prescribed or mandatory! We believe the customer should set the value of the tip at whatever level they feel is appropriate. The tip amount should be less connected with the underlying service cost and more related to what the customer feels happy with.

The biggest tips any of our therapists have received (that we are aware of!) was from an Middle Eastern gentleman who booked a hotel room massage at a 5-star hotel in Knightsbridge, and he actually gave the same huge tip every day for several days.

When it comes to tipping, there is just one rule: Give what you feel happy giving.

Some ideas for tipping include:

- Rounding up the price of the massage to the nearest £5 or £10. As well as offering a small tip this approach saves your therapist needing to find change.

- Use our online booking discount code and then give the money you saved to your masseuse if you feel she deserves it.

- Leave some kind and positive online feedback for your therapist. Tipping need not be monetary!

- Book the same masseuse again for your next treatment to show your appreciation.

- Smile gratefully and thank your therapist for a wonderful massage. Showing genuine gratitude with a smile and happy eyes will go a long way with many therapists who are often naturally empathetic individuals.


These are all equally valid ways to show your gratefulness for a job well done and you should feel comfortable using one or more of them to additionally reward your therapist if you feel it is deserved.

Looking at some of our most popular massage styles, there are some that are best received over a course of treatments, like foot reflexology and slimming massage. A great idea is to give your masseuse a tip at the end of your course of treatments to show them real appreciation for not just doing the massages but seeing them all through with you to until the benefits have become noticeable.

A key aim of massage therapy is to make you feel more relaxed and less stressed. Tipping should make you feel even happier, not stressed. As stated in our FAQs, the only pressure our therapists want you to feel is the relaxing one you will get from their hands during your massage.


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