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  • Andrew Cigna

The Changing Tides in Hospitality: How Digital Gratuities Could Shape the Future of Hotels

Digital tipping

The age-old question of how to tip hotel staff when you don't have cash on hand has become an increasingly important topic in the hospitality industry. During a recent panel at the Toronto Hotel Investment Conference, experts weighed in on whether mandatory tipping should be implemented and the effectiveness of digital tipping.

Ally Wesson, VP of marketing for Toronto-based Realstar Hospitality, expressed her opposition to mandatory tipping but noted that many hotels are testing out mobile tipping apps. She shared that there have been mixed results in different markets, but recognized the need for additional tipping options for travelers who have less and less cash on hand.

More hotels are turning to digital tipping as a solution to staffing shortages, with some chains using QR codes in guestrooms for tipping. Danièle Gadbois of CWT, a business travel management platform, expressed her preference for digital tipping, but emphasized that there must still be a service element in tipping.

Cindy Estis Green, CEO and co-founder of Kalibri Labs, an analytics firm, shared that digital tipping could address challenges in recruiting housekeeping staff, but emphasized that it must remain optional.

According to data from the Angus Reid Institute, 62% of Canadians have reported being asked to tip more, leading to "tipflation" becoming a significant issue. However, hotel workers have had low tipping rates, with only 34% of respondents tipping hotel

housekeepers. The survey found that 42% of respondents believe that hotel housekeepers should receive a tip.

As tipping percentages rise, digital tipping may offer a more efficient solution for both hotel staff and guests. But regardless of the method, experts stress that there must remain a human element to tipping to ensure quality service and hospitality.

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