Digital tipping solutions have found their way into hotels worldwide so that housekeepers, bellmen, pool servers, valets and other staff can earn some extra money for a job well done at a time when the credit card is king.
Infor, a supplier of several cloud-based technology software for the hotel industry, has partnered with TipQwik to integrate its mobile tipping platform into the Infor Hospitality Management System (HMS).
Mobile tipping has gained traction with hoteliers over the last few years because they realized a majority of their guests don’t carry cash during their stay.
“Most people have stopped carrying cash because they can complete almost any transaction these days without it, but one of the few exceptions is providing gratuities to hotel team members,” said Matt Tuchband, cofounder, TipQwik. “So, from a guest standpoint, it’s all about providing a convenient, seamless, modern experience so guests can maximize their time enjoying the hotel and its surroundings—or maximizing their productivity in the case of a business traveler. Scrambling to find cash at the end of a hotel stay can be frustrating, especially for someone who genuinely embraces the act of tipping to show their appreciation for great service.”
For hoteliers, digital tipping helps with employee retention and compensation—two of the biggest challenges they face today.
“The cost of finding, hiring and training candidates can be tens of thousands of dollars per year for the average hotel when you consider the HR, training and quality control resources to get them up to speed, only to have them quit and start the cycle all over again,” Tuchband noted.
“From a compensation standpoint, digital tipping is a great way to boost employee compensation that doesn’t force the hotelier to raise room rates to offset the additional costs.”
According to David Purcell, VP, product management, Infor, TipQwik was the right partner for tipping integration into its platform “due to its ability of developing our existing APIs, and the company’s willingness to enhance the integration that allows guests to leave gratuities that get posted directly to the guest account.”
Hotel guests can access the tipping function via the HMS Mobile Guest Experience, which also enables them to interact with the hotel to make dinner reservations, book spa appointments and make other requests.
“The integration includes the POS system, which allows TipQwik to communicate with the guest folio and add tips as additional room charges,” said Tuchband. “On the back end, the hoteliers are given administrative access to the TipQwik online portal for their specific property, where they have a dashboard that shows them all of their recent tipping activity, total tip volume for the specified time period, total number of tips and average tip amount. They also have a settings feature to modify certain aesthetic attributes on the guest tipping home screen, such as a background picture of the property or brand logo.”
Guests who wish to tip a member of the hotel’s staff click the “Add Tip” button on the screen of the Infor guest experience app and then choose the department and tip amount.
“Eligible departments can be customized to the hotel’s amenities to include housekeeping, valet, concierge, front desk, bell services, transportation, pool & recreation and so on,” said Tuchband. “Guest tips are aggregated throughout the stay and then charged to the folio at checkout. We encourage tasteful signage in common areas notifying guests that digital tipping is available.”
He noted employees have access to the TipQwik portal just like hotel managers do, “but their view is limited to tipping activity specific to them,” adding, “Employees can see how many tips they’ve received, the average tip amount and how much they can expect to have deposited in their account at the next distribution. This way, employees have full transparency to their own personal tipping activity to ensure they receive all of the tips to which they are entitled.”
Tips can be distributed to employees in two ways: electronically depositing the funds in to their bank accounts daily, or the money can be included in their paychecks during each pay period using a customized payroll import.
“Bank transaction fees tend to be the biggest factor in this decision,” said Tuchband. “For hotels with high tipping volume, it may make sense to distribute tips daily, but for lower volume hotels, it may be more prudent to limit the fees and distribute less frequently or through payroll.”