How to Upgrade Guest & Staff Experiences: Leveraging Tipping Apps and More

How to Upgrade Guest & Staff Experiences: Leveraging Tipping Apps and More
Lindsey Fine
March 27, 2024

Today’s travelers have sky-high expectations. They want more than a comfortable room. 

They crave seamless, personalized experiences.

The real challenge for your hotel is to capture and hold your guests' attention simultaneously. As options multiply with the swipe of an app, this becomes more difficult. 

Richard Branson says, “The key is to set realistic customer expectations and then not just meet them but exceed them — preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” 

This is especially true in hospitality. The distinction between a good stay and an unforgettable stay lies in the details.  

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • The importance of technology in hospitality
  • Four ways to improve guest satisfaction and staff experience with technology

From personalized experiences to the convenience of keyless entry, and innovative tipping apps, we’re here to help you identify strategies to keep your property ahead of the curve.

Why Is Technology Important for Hotels?

For hotels, tech is no longer a nice to have —  it’s a must-have. Its importance extends well beyond convenience. 

It’s responsible for improving guest satisfaction, streamlining operations, and driving revenue growth.

Think about the last trip you took. How did you book it? Chances are, you booked either from an app or online. 

According to the Trends Global Survey, 80% of global travelers surveyed feel it’s important to be able to book their trips entirely online. It should come as no surprise that Millenials and Gen Z are leading this trend.1

Photo by on Unsplash

The mobile travel booking market is projected to grow at an anticipated value of $612.5 billion by 2031.2

Why? Because guests want convenience and flexibility.

Modern travelers expect that same level of convenience to extend beyond their booking. Today’s travelers want:

  • Personal touches for a stay that feels tailored to their preferences.
  • Digital-first experience with easy access to everything they need right from their devices
  • Contactless solutions and tipping apps that eliminate the need for physical contact and cash.
  • Sustainable and eco-friendly practices that show a commitment to the environment.

How does integrating technology (beyond booking) influence your staff and guest experiences?

Four Ways to Upgrade Guest (and Staff) Experiences with Technology

The right tools simplify operations and create more personalized experiences, changing how your hotel operates and how your guests feel about their stay. 

But, where do you start? Here we outline four ways technology improves your guest and staff experience.

1. Streamline the Check-in and Check-out Process

Imagine this: you’ve arrived at your destination from a grueling red-eye flight, and your body is crying out for rest. All that stands between you and your hotel bed is…an endless line at the check-in counter. 

This scenario is all too familiar.  

It’s a make-or-break moment for many guests’ experiences and a logistical headache for your staff. Here’s where technology can turn this pain point into a highlight for travelers.

Mobile Check-in: Convenience at Your Fingertips

What is mobile check-in? Simply put, it's the option for guests to check in to their hotel room using their device. 

The benefits of mobile check-in include: 

  1. Better Guest and Staff Experience: With mobile check-in, guests can go from landing to lounging in their room without waiting in line. This allows your staff time to focus on other areas of guest service. The keyless entry adds an extra layer of convenience.
  1. Competitive Edge: As the industry rebounds, the competition heats up. Offering mobile check-in is a significant differentiator that sets your property apart.
  2. Fosters Brand Loyalty: Smooth experiences stick in guests’ minds. A hassle-free check-in process contributes to a positive perception of your brand.

Kiosk for Check-in: The Self-Service Revolution

What are check-in kiosks? They’re self-service stations that function exactly like those at an airport. Instead of a boarding pass, guests receive their room keys. Equipped with user-friendly touch screens, they connect to your hotel's property management system. 

The benefits of using kiosks include: 

  1. Enhanced Operational Efficiency: Kiosks streamline the check-in process. This lightens the workload of your staff and minimizes wait times for guests. This process allows your staff to focus on more complex guest needs.
  2. 24/7 Service Availability: Kiosks make it easier for guests to check in late at night or early in the morning. This 24/7 availability improves the guest experience by providing flexibility and convenience at any hour.
  3. Personalized Upselling: Kiosks offer personalized greetings along with upselling opportunities. Presenting these options in an interactive and non-intrusive manner can increase revenue while improving the guest experience.

Mobile check-in and kiosk services offer convenience and efficiency. This shift sets the stage for modern travel experiences and lets you gather data for deeper personalization. This brings us to the next way to improve the guest experience.

2. Personalize the Guest Experience

Personalization is not just a luxury — it’s expected. 

A study by Medallia found that only 23% of hotel guests report experiencing high levels of personalization.3 

This shows a significant gap between expectations and what brands are delivering — and lots of room for improvement. 

Hotels that use guest data to tailor experiences create stronger connections with their guests and improve guest loyalty. 

Here’s how your hotel can capitalize on this: 

  • Provide Targeted Offers Using Guest Data: Take advantage of the wealth of guest data to change the way you talk with your guests. Look at past booking habits, preferences, or special packages that resonate on a personal level.
  • Implement a Guest Messaging Platform: Communication is key to any great relationship. A guest messaging platform can bridge the gap and streamline communication — with a personal touch.
  • Offer In-Room Technology: Elevate the in-room experience by integrating smart technology, offering the ultimate convenience and control at their fingertips.

The gap in expectations and delivering personalized experiences represents a big opportunity for hotels to stand out. 

3. Improve Service Delivery

One of the reasons today’s travelers have high expectations is because of the digital world we live in. As consumers have grown accustomed to one-click shopping and on-demand entertainment, hotels can use technology to deliver that same experience.

Here's how:

  • Use Mobile Apps for Service Requests: This is your digital concierge. Your guests can order room service, request extra towels, and book spa appointments without ever picking up the phone. This reduces response times and increases efficiency as staff can focus on and manage requests with real-time updates. (Bonus: The data collected helps support future personalized services.)
  • Introduce a Digital Tipping Solution: As travelers continue to carry less cash, hotels can provide them with an option to show appreciation through a tipping app, like Shiny. It’s an easy way to impact the guest experience and recognize and reward the staff for their hard work. 
Screenshot of the Shiny digital tipping application on a mobile device
  • Watch Tasks in Real-Time: Track cleaning and repair duties efficiently. Make sure to prepare rooms to the highest standards for incoming guests.

4. Offer Flexible Dining Experiences

Believe it or not, Pizza Hut led the charge with online food ordering back in 1994. They didn’t offer a stand-alone app but integrated the feature into its website. 

2008 was when we began to see the food delivery apps we know and love today. 

Here’s how you can leverage tech for next-gen dining in your hotel: 

  • Adopt Online Ordering Systems: The transition to digital ordering has been monumental. 38% of consumers ordered food via delivery app in March 2020. By March 2021, that number rose to 47%.
  • Implement Contactless Delivery: Provide guests the option for contactless room service, where you deliver orders to their door without interaction. This promotes safety and convenience for both guests and staff.
  • Offer Meal Scheduling: Whether it’s a late-night snack after a long flight or an early breakfast, offer 24/7 dining so guests can schedule meals at their convenience. This level of on-demand service caters to busy schedules and provides a competitive amenity. 

Technology Elevates the Guest and Staff Experience

By embracing innovation, you unlock benefits that create exceptional guest experiences:

  • Seamless Services: From check-in to keyless entry to tipping apps, tech delivers the frictionless convenience modern travelers crave.
  • Personalized Touch: Using data insights, you can tailor every stay with customized offers and amenities.
  • Elevated Efficiency: Automated processes mean staff can spend more time delivering attentive, high-touch service.
  • Sustainable Hospitality: Digital solutions like contactless ordering reduce waste while aligning with eco-conscious guests.

Those willing to go all-in on technology gain a competitive edge. 

Commit to continuous innovation by leveraging tech that redefines the art of guest experience.


  1. Hilton’s Trends Global Survey 
  2. EIN Newsdesk 
  3. Hotel Management: Medallia’s report: Understanding Personalization Efforts in the Hotel and Retail Industries
  4. HotelTechReport; The Rise of Mobile Ordering: From Trend to Core Hospitality Technology