Wyndham debuts mobile tipping solution

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has launched a new, portfolio-wide, mobile tipping solution for its U.S. and Canadian franchisees, making it one of the first major hotel companies to do so.

As Scott Strickland, chief information officer, Wyndham, explained to Hotel Business in the September issue, Wyndham partnered with béné to allow guests to tip housekeeping and other staff via their mobile device and a QR code, all at no cost to franchisees, because of a small guest service fee that covers each transaction.

“The housekeeper just puts a tent card with a QR code in the room identifying themselves,” said Josh Dow, VP, hotel technology strategy & services, Wyndham. “If I make a $5 tip, a little service fee gets added to cover the credit card or the ApplePay charges.”

Once the tip is made, it can either be integrated through payroll or put directly on debit cards for the employees. “You just hand out debit cards to your employees, the tips go straight to them,” he said.

Mobile tipping is a boon for employees, according to research conducted by béné, which found that it generates an average increase of $4.50 per house in staff compensation, a 30% increase in monthly staff retention and a 5x increase in tip frequency.

“It is actually a benefit the hotel can sell when they are hiring folks,” said Strickland. “‘We have digital tipping. We have debit cards that are going to get topped up on a daily basis.’”

For Scott LePage, president, Americas, Wyndham, the addition of mobile tipping is a way for the company to show its appreciation for their hard work. “We can tell our housekeepers who are within the Wyndham system that we’re continuing to invest in initiatives and efforts that show them not just the appreciation, but help them with a critical component of their income and making tipping that much easier,” he said.

It is also a benefit to guests. “I do feel there’s a lot of times where a guest doesn’t have cash or may not necessarily be familiar with it,” he said. “And in the newer generation, they’re just more used to electronic transactions. So having that to celebrate for our housekeepers is a big win for the industry, for us as an organization, but more importantly, for the housekeepers so that we can really facilitate that component because it’s an important part of what they do.”

Wyndham’s push for mobile tipping comes amid the company’s broader celebrations supporting International Housekeepers & Environmental Services Week, a global initiative sponsored by The Indoor Environmental Healthcare and Hospitality Association (IHEA), dedicated to recognizing the efforts of housekeepers and custodial staff members.

Held every year during the second full week of September, Wyndham leadership, along with its franchisees, are spending the week celebrating housekeepers at hotels around globe, making in-person visits while giving away an array of awards and prizes, including millions of Wyndham Rewards points.

“At the heart of every great hotel is a great team of housekeepers,” said LePage. “This week is all about celebrating them and all that they do for both guests as well as our industry. While we invite everyone to join us in showing their thanks this week, our greater hope is that through initiatives like mobile tipping, we can empower guests by making it easier for them to show their appreciation with every stay, no matter the time of year.”

Mobile tipping is the latest initiative as part of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts ongoing, multi-year, digital transformation. Over the past three years, the company has significantly invested in new technology to enhance the guest experience while delivering best-in-class resources and enhanced operational efficiencies for its franchisees.

Earlier this year, it launched Road Trip Planner, a tool allowing travelers to seamlessly plot, plan and book their ideal road trip via Wyndham’s mobile app and more recently, debuted RevIQ, a next-generation, cloud-based, mobile-first revenue management system designed to help franchisees optimize their revenue strategies and grow market share.