How Hampton Inn & Suites Portland Pearl District Mastered Digital Tipping: Best Practices for Hotel Success

Enabling digital tipping has become crucial for businesses to enhance customer satisfaction and reward exceptional service. However, ensuring the success of such a program requires careful planning and strategic implementation. We asked one of our top performing properties, Hampton Inn & Suites Portland Pearl District, to share their secrets to creating a successful digital tipping program.

Spearheaded by their General Manager, Brenda Kramer, the hotel successfully implemented Grazzy, with the primary objective of increasing earnings for their hard working housekeeping staff and enabling guests to leave digital gratuity. Since implementing Grazzy, staff members have seen an average effective wage increase of $1/hour, with top performers realizing a $2/hour increase. Overall, digital tips across the property have steadily increased an average of 40% month over month.

Let’s explore how Hampton Inn & Suites Portland Pearl District maximizes their digital tipping program and how other properties might adopt similar practices.

Five best practices for a successful digital tipping program

1. Educate team members

Brenda recognized that effective communication and transparency were crucial to gain employee buy-in for the digital tipping program. She proactively informed her team about Grazzy, explaining its benefits and relevance to the team. “We needed to assure our team that this program was designed to benefit them and their earnings,” Brenda said. By providing context and illustrating how cash tips had declined over the years, Brenda motivated her housekeeping team to embrace digital tipping. This practice allowed them to understand the rationale behind the program and fostered trust and enthusiasm among employees.

Grazzy was designed to benefit hourly workers. The program relies on their willingness to use Grazzy. Take the time to educate your team on what Grazzy is and why it should matter to them.

2. Celebrate milestone moments

On the first day that Grazzy was launched, Hampton Inn & Suites Portland Pearl District immediately celebrated the very first tip received, boosting enthusiasm among the staff. After only one week of leveraging Grazzy, the Housekeeping team earned $140+ in digital tips! On an ongoing basis, they acknowledge employees who receive the large tips, recognizing a job well done and fostering motivation. And there have been many opportunities to do so, with multiple $50 tips being left for housekeeping staff members. “Celebrating these milestones not only encourages the program’s use, but also builds a strong sense of teamwork. The whole team gets excited to cheer each other on,” Brenda emphasized.

Set the tone from the start. Celebrating milestone moments creates a sense of camaraderie among the team members and instills an emotional investment in the program.

3. Adopt digital tipping into your culture, property-wide

Brenda knew that integrating digital tipping into the hotel’s culture was essential for its widespread adoption. To achieve this, each teammate received ample digital tipping collateral, and additional business cards are ordered in advance of the team running out. The front desk team was also well-educated about the program. During guest checkout, if guests have inquiries about tipping, the front desk team is equipped with digital tipping collateral to present to the guest.
Digital tipping doesn’t start and end with Housekeeping. Enable all of your employees to be well-informed advocates of the program with education, digital tipping collateral, and talk tracks.

4. Strategic placement of digital tipping enablement

You can’t enable tipping without tipping enablement. One of the keys to the program’s success at Hampton Inn & Suites is strategic QR code placement. The housekeeping team leaves behind a business card after every cleaning. The card includes their name and a QR code that, once scanned, leads to a team directory. This ensures that the right team member receives their well-deserved tip. The team strategically places these next to the remote, as most guests reach for the remote during their stay.

No one knows your property better than you do. Tap into tippable moments by placing digital tipping enablement where guests are most likely to see it and in areas where they are most likely to need it.

5. Encourage ownership

Brenda fosters a sense of ownership and accountability amongst her team. At launch, she reminded employees to use the first name that they use for payroll purposes on their business cards, ensuring that guests are able to find and tip the proper Housekeeper on the team directory. In addition, occasional reminders are sent to the team to leave their cards in the rooms. Brenda explained, “if I notice that a particular team member isn’t receiving tips, I will give them a gentle reminder to leave their card behind after they clean a room. I remind them that this program is set in place to benefit them.”

The reality is that general managers can’t be everywhere at once. Encourage your team to adopt a sense of ownership and pride over the program. This ensures that the program is not only maintained, but maximized, on a daily basis.

In conclusion, the success of Hampton Inn & Suites’ digital tipping program serves as a testament to the power of thoughtful implementation, General Manager support, and employee engagement. By adopting these best practices – educating team members, celebrating milestone moments, property-wide adoption, strategic QR code placement, and encouraging ownership – hotels can create a flourishing digital tipping program that elevates guest experiences and rewards hardworking staff.

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