Wyndham Rolls Out Mobile Hotel Tipping: Yay Or Nay?

Wyndham Rolls Out Mobile Hotel Tipping: Yay Or Nay?

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Tipping at hotels can be complicated for those who don’t carry a lot of cash. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest hotel franchising company, has a solution… but will guests like this?

Wyndham’s new mobile tipping option for hotel employees

Wyndham is rolling out a new mobile tipping solution for its franchise properties in the United States and Canada, making it one of the first major hotel groups to do so. The service is developed and managed by Béné, and enables guests to tip hotel employees digitally via their preferred payment method using their mobile device.

How does this work?

  • Once a hotel opts into this feature and is set up on the Béné platform, guests can ask an employee for a QR code that they can scan, which is unique to each hotel employee
  • When they follow the QR code, they can use their mobile device to decide how much they’d like to tip
  • Guests then have the option to tip via multiple payment options without having to download anything; payment options include credit card, Apple Pay, and Google Pay
  • Platform costs are covered by guests via a small transaction fee
  • The tips will be deposited daily either directly into the employee’s bank account, or in the property’s account to be distributed with regular payroll

Here’s what Scott Strickland, Wyndham’s Chief Information Officer, had to say about this new technology:

“The pandemic dramatically accelerated guest demand for digital payment solutions and that trend will only continue in the coming years. Having previously empowered our franchisees to accept digital, contactless payment for stays at their hotels, the next logical step was to find a solution that allows guests to recognize housekeepers, wait staff and other frontline team members in a similar fashion. This platform does exactly that and at virtually no cost to franchisees.”

“The beauty of this solution is its simplicity and how easy it is for our franchisees to allow their guests to make the switch from cash to digital. There’s no app to download and no software to install. It’s entirely web-based, which means so long as guests have a phone and an internet connection, they’re able to tip and show their appreciation.”

Wyndham has a new mobile tipping option

Is mobile tipping at hotels good or bad news?

When we discuss tipping at hotels, the conversation invariably shifts to the general tipping culture in the United States, and how much people hate it. I get it, and admittedly people take very different approaches here. While everyone knows they’re supposed to tip in a hotel restaurant or bar, or when someone helps with your bags, topics like tipping housekeeping are more controversial.

So, where does that leave us with this initiative from Wyndham? I’m more conflicted about this than I was expecting to be.

On the one hand, this solves a real problem that exists — a lot of people want to tip but don’t have cash. So in that sense I think this is a positive development.

On the other hand, I feel like the implementation of this will feel kind of awkward, like it will make a lot of interactions feel more transactional, and that this will cause hotel owners to increasingly shift labor costs to guests through tipping:

  • How will it be communicated to guests that mobile tipping is possible? Will this be proactively mentioned (“it was my pleasure assisting you, and if you’d like to tip digitally, I can give you a QR code through which you can do so), or only if a guest asks?
  • Will there be QR codes in guest rooms for the housekeeper who serviced the room, recommending a tip?
  • Where will the line be drawn as to which employees have QR codes? Front desk agents? The general manager?
  • We’ve heard hotel owners say that the solution to labor shortages in the hospitality industry isn’t to increase wages, but rather for guests to tip more, and I can’t help but think that the two things might be connected here

I’m curious to see how this unfolds…

I’m worried about the long-term impacts of this initiative

Bottom line

Wyndham is rolling out mobile tipping at its properties in the United States and Canada. Hotel employees will be given QR codes that they can share with guests who want to tip, but don’t have cash. This no doubt solves a problem in the market, but I just can’t help but wonder what the long-term implications of this are for the industry overall.

What do you make of hotels adding mobile tipping? Is it annoying, helpful, or both?

Conversations (14)
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  1. Anna Guest

    I like this idea. I never carry cash, and the article says that tips go to the maid that cleaned my room. I am a yes on this one.

  2. SullyofDoha Guest

    Tipping by mobile app? HARD NO!

  3. dander Guest

    I am spending the week in the city in the top 5 in minimum wage, I think its close to $18.00 an hour. What do I see at hotels, breakfast hosts sitting around on their phone ignoring the paying guests, most hotels not providing daily room service. If you ask for new towels that's all you get. Sorry if you're making almost 40K working as a maid, you don't need my tip.

  4. They Guest

    Hell no. Another platform to breach with your credit card

  5. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    NAY. So tired of Square and all these IPad type payment processors. The cashier at a convenience type store says "It's going to ask you a couple questions first", IE: GIMME A TIP BEFORE I BAG YOUR STUFF NOW!!! I'm over it. Then they hand me a sticky drink or a sloppy bag and they already got tipped. No thanks!

  6. Felix Guest

    Have there been some efforts of people in the U.S. to start hotels and restaurants with a radical new concept: no tips expected and we pay a fair wage.

    Isn‘t this a USP? I feel that you guys value the tipping culture in Europe. Time to copy it!

  7. Urgh Guest

    How about companies pay a proper wage instead of sub contracting their employees pay to guests?

    What next? They pull up my Wyndham account, see another person tips better and cancels my room instead?

    Like this doesn’t solve the real problem at all lol.

    Capitalism really ruins everything

  8. Vending machine Guest

    I was prompted by a vending machine at a Hampton Inn whether I wanted to add a tip recently.

    1. Klaus Guest

      How much did you tip? :)

    2. Eskimo Guest

      This is America, we don't pay livable wages even for machines.

  9. uldguy Diamond

    What? Now besides the tip I need to pay the transaction fee to do so? No way!

    To the hotel managers out there, pay your people a living wage. Your ridiculous resort and city fees should help you do this.

    1. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      I think the salary of workers is not up the Managers, Mayne their schedules. This is because of the big REITS that now own all of the "independent" hotels. Bet that.

  10. AdamH Guest

    Hotel tipping to me doesn’t go to the right people half the time. I am all for making folks feel like they are earning their keep but this doesn’t seem like a solution especially when there are so many hard working folks behind the scenes. The fact that you will have a service fee eating a relatively large percentage of these small transactions seems classic predatory abuse (not necessarily the hotels fault but they are...

    Hotel tipping to me doesn’t go to the right people half the time. I am all for making folks feel like they are earning their keep but this doesn’t seem like a solution especially when there are so many hard working folks behind the scenes. The fact that you will have a service fee eating a relatively large percentage of these small transactions seems classic predatory abuse (not necessarily the hotels fault but they are the one promoting this as a solution). I think if folks wanted to tip there should be a general tip line at check out that is shared among all employees in some equitable way each hotel can determine.

  11. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    Tipping also creates an incentive for employees to break company policies or rules since there are customers who will pay them for things they either may not be entitled to receive or may that aren’t generally allowable. I can see a scenario a well-placed tip to a housekeeper gets a bottle of champagne in a guest room or a tip to the front desk clerk gets an upgrade. Owners and/or managers concerned about revenue should be careful.

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uldguy Diamond

What? Now besides the tip I need to pay the transaction fee to do so? No way! To the hotel managers out there, pay your people a living wage. Your ridiculous resort and city fees should help you do this.

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FNT Delta Diamond Guest

Tipping also creates an incentive for employees to break company policies or rules since there are customers who will pay them for things they either may not be entitled to receive or may that aren’t generally allowable. I can see a scenario a well-placed tip to a housekeeper gets a bottle of champagne in a guest room or a tip to the front desk clerk gets an upgrade. Owners and/or managers concerned about revenue should be careful.

3
Felix Guest

Have there been some efforts of people in the U.S. to start hotels and restaurants with a radical new concept: no tips expected and we pay a fair wage. Isn‘t this a USP? I feel that you guys value the tipping culture in Europe. Time to copy it!

2
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