Digital Tipping: The Way to Show Hotel Heroes You Care

Digital Tipping: The Way to Show Hotel Heroes You Care
Lindsey Fine
November 16, 2023

What do you carry in your wallet?

Most likely, not cash.

Whether we like it or not, we're moving to a completely cashless world. People are carrying way less cash than ever before.

Research from the Pew Research Center found that 41% of Americans say none of their purchases in a typical week are paid for using cash. This is up from 29% in 2018. Because of this, hoteliers face a problem since the hospitality industry relies on tips.1

A survey done by Forbes found that only 24% of Americans tipped for hotel services, and 22% felt they needed to tip.2

This is one of the many reasons Hotel Managers need help attracting and retaining talent. While we can’t pinpoint the exact reason guests aren’t tipping, we do know where there’s a missing connection.

If we’re carrying less cash and more prone to using our devices — why aren’t we making it easier for our guests to tip?

With the rise of digital tipping, it’s time to meet guests where they are.

Let’s change the narrative and recognize the hard and crucial work hotel staff do to provide guests with a great experience.

Shiny understands that motivated employees lead to satisfied guests. Offering digital tipping can help raise take-home pay and reduce turnover.

Let’s discuss why this matters today and how hoteliers should address it.

What Is Digital Tipping?

Digital tipping is the process of collecting tips via a mobile device. The transaction can be done through electronic payment methods like credit, debit cards, or digital wallets such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. 

With fewer guests carrying cash, offering a digital tipping option rewards your staff for their hard work and enhances the guest experience. Let’s get into how exactly digital tipping works and why it’s incredibly beneficial for your staff and guests.

How Does Digital Tipping Work?

While there are a few different ways to do this, here’s what to expect from Shiny’s digital tipping platform. 

  • Guests can tip with their preferred payment method — whether that be a credit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.
  • The transaction is secure and PCI-compliant. 
  • There is no need to download an app. A custom QR code processes the tips.
  • Multiple tips can be left in a single transaction. (Housekeeping, Valet, Front Desk)
  • Guests can leave a review in the process and let the staff know about their experience. 

Our platform was created with your staff and guests in mind. Shiny’s digital tipping ensures everyone has an easy, quick, and reliable method to provide tips and leave reviews without the hassle.

What Are the Benefits of Offering Digital Tipping?

Motivated employees lead to satisfied guests. Digital tipping offers several benefits to hoteliers, their associates and guests. Here are the four main benefits of offering digital tipping:

  1. Convenience: A convenient way to express appreciation without needing cash. This makes the process quick and hassle-free. 
    Bonus: Nearly 65% of people tip at least 11% more when they tip digitally versus with cash.
  2. Real-time Feedback: Guests can provide feedback along with their tips. This quick feedback loop helps guests express their experiences, recognizing excellent service immediately. 
  3. Boosted Staff Morale: When hotel employees get digital tips, they feel happier and more satisfied with their jobs. This encourages them to continue to deliver excellent service.
  4. Efficient and Fair Distribution: Digital tipping systems can automatically divide tips among staff members, making sure everyone, even working behind-the-scenes employees, gets a fair portion. It also ensures that the right tips get distributed to the right individuals.
“Digital tipping is an easy way for our guests to thank our room attendants and for our associates to feel connected and more valued, decreasing our turnover.” - Hyatt GM.

Hospitality in a Post-Pandemic Era 

The pandemic put the hospitality industry to the test.

Many properties closed. Many furloughed or laid off employees to cut costs. Everyone stayed home. No one traveled for business — or pleasure.

Proving to be incredibly resilient, the industry has made quite the comeback. Hotels are fully booked. In some cases, rates are twice what they were before the pandemic. Leisure travel is dominating, while business travel is catching up.  

A survey of hoteliers conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) found that 82% are facing staff shortages. 26% of them are so severe it’s affected their operating ability.3

Of those surveyed, 40% said their most critical staffing need is housekeeping. 

They’re overworked. They’re burnt out. The last few years have been the most challenging for them. 

For context, here are a few things to know about the job of a housekeeper: 

  • According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a housekeeper as of Nov. 2023 is $15 per hour or $32,000 per year.4
  • They’re on their feet all day — and sometimes overnight. 
  • They clean anywhere from 10-20 rooms per shift. 
  • Their schedule often depends on the occupancy level and whether guests want their rooms cleaned.

A hotel housekeeper in San Francisco weighed in on what’s changed over the past few years. 

“When I began working at the hotel, guests would leave tips, but now most people don’t leave anything. 

During my first years as a housekeeper, I could expect to make $1,500 to $2,000 a year in tips. It slowly got lower to maybe $200 or $300 a year. This is my lowest year yet, and I’m getting almost nothing.” 

A study by Bankrate supports this claim with a year-over-year decline of tipping hotel housekeepers.5

Hotel housekeepers are the unsung heroes. They’re working around the clock and often behind the scenes. As we’ve seen, their work often goes unnoticed and unrecognized. 

As a hotel manager, we’re sure you know just how crucial housekeepers are. It’s time we make a stronger stance on making sure they feel more recognized. 

“Employees have always been important in the hotel industry due to the layered nature of hotels — ownership, operations, properties — but managers simply cannot ignore just how important employees are going forward.” - Yotel CEO Hubert Viriot.

Embracing a Cashless and Empathetic Future

With the rise of digital tipping and the struggles with attracting and retaining top talent, it’s important to adapt accordingly. 

You know how challenging times were during the pandemic, and how rewarding they’re looking now. Keeping your guests and employees top of mind throughout ensures a happier environment all around. 

One where guests become advocates for your hotel, and where your employees are happy with their jobs. 

Digital tipping is here to stay, and Shiny is dedicated to helping you embrace it. 

Learn how other hotels are partnering with Shiny on this incredibly important initiative and seeing a 50% reduction in turnover as a result.


  1. Pew Research Center 
  2. Forbes, 2023 U.S. Digital Tipping Culture Survey
  3. AHLA Survey 
  4. ZipRecruiter 
  5. Bankrate Study