Hotels are struggling to keep their doors open today, and many are unable to rehire full staff. Frontline employees fortunate enough to be working amidst the ongoing pandemic are wearing more hats and putting themselves at risk each day to deliver the highest levels of guest service in hopes of assuring travelers that their hotels are safe.
To recognize these unsung heroes of hospitality, a new digital tipping solution has entered the hospitality scene to provide a contactless, cashless and “appless” enterprise system for digital gratuity with full reporting. Called youtip, the solution is simple and fast for tippers to use, as no app download is required.
“In today’s economy ̶ even before COVID-19 ̶ businesses are choosing to go cash-free, including hotels, with many encouraging credit-card and contactless payments,” said Sarah Taveprungsenukul, youtip co-founder and CEO. “We’ve all been there. We want to tip service staff, such as the valet parking attendant, bellman or hotel housekeeper for jobs well done, but don’t have enough cash on hand to do so. Taking the time to download a gratuity app is inconvenient, especially for travelers who often find themselves in a time crunch to run to the ATM or who want to limit their exposure to handling germ ridden cash. We developed youtip as the easiest digital tipping solution in the market. Tippers simply scan a QR code displayed anywhere that is visible and convenient, such as a valet stand, on the in-room TV or smart speakers with digital displays, or on an employee’s badge/card. They can also click on links sent directly to them via text or email. This digital scan-and-tip system provides a quick and easy experience for guests and gives operators service feedback in seconds.”
youtip is the brainchild of Doug Miles, co-founder and COO, and a 20-year fintech veteran who too frequently found himself without the cash to tip during business travel. Noticing the rapid adoption of QR codes in the U.S. and smartphone cameras now having QR code reading capability, Miles dusted off an old idea to pitch to Taveprungsenukul, his long-time friend in hospitality. The duo also brought tech-solution developer and friend Nicholas Okuley, youtip co-founder and CTO, to the table to help finetune the offering.
“To achieve mass adoption, the solution had to be faster than cash,” Miles said. “youtip utilizes technology that already exists in your phone rather than requiring an app download. You just scan, tip and go. Our system routes the tip to the business’s bank account along with transaction reporting and guest feedback. This appless solution is a ‘first’ in hospitality, and we anticipate that it will change the way tips are transacted for the foreseeable future.”
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"By approaching the software with a focus on flexibility, we are able to not only offer a scalable standalone product, but also one that can be tailored to specific customer needs ̶ whether to express their brand and personality, or seamlessly tie into existing infrastructure thanks to our various partner integrations,” Okuley said.
youtip is PCI compliant and utilizes the built-in security of Apple’s Apple Pay and Google’s G Pay. The company charges a convenience fee on every transaction to the person leaving the tip. QR codes can be leveraged to process both pooled and individual gratuities.
youtip is also ideal for charitable giving/fundraising campaigns. Businesses can use signage with a QR code tied to their charitable organization’s bank account to raise money in the field. Quick digital donations at events and during street fundraising initiatives can be a great way to enhance a fundraising tool kit.
“We are waiving system subscription fees through the end of 2021 to help the hospitality industry recover as quickly as possible,” Taveprungsenukul said, noting that charges may apply for design customizations and third-party integrations, such as PMS, payroll systems and branded mobile applications. “What we are most excited about through this technology launch is that youtip solves two key problems for the service industry: 1) Fewer people are carrying cash, and 2) increased demand for contactless services.”