New survey finds tipping process lacks transparency

According to a new survey conducted by guest management system Canary Technologies, tipping in hotels is less prevalent than in other service industries, partly because of friction in the present tipping process. While tipping in the service industry is an established American custom that accounts for a significant portion of worker wages, the survey found it lacks transparency in the hotel industry.  

The survey found several inconsistencies in reported tipping behavior. Although 79% of hotel guests feel hotel staff should receive tips, only 59% reported leaving one at their most recent (less than 12 months) stay at a hotel. Hotel workers, however, said only 30% of guests eventually tip staff members. In sharp contrast, 99% of recent guests said they tipped at restaurants when they dined out.  

About 70% of housekeepers reported that tips have remained constant or decreased over the last five years. About 60% of guests said they carried less cash than five years ago.   

According to the survey, guests said digital tipping would be a welcome technological solution. If digital tipping was available, more than 70% of guests who did not tip at their most recent stay said they would have tipped.  

Gen-Z makes for the best guests as they clean up after themselves more frequently and thoroughly before checkout and are more likely to tip. About 62.5% of Gen Z guests left a tip during their most recent stay. Boomers, on the other hand, tend to tip more when they do it; 56% of Boomer guests tipped during their most recent stay, but those who tipped left more generous tips than the average.

The survey identified business travelers as better tippers than leisure travelers as they were 15% more likely to tip.   

Roughly 80% of current hotel workers said they were more likely to stay with their current employer if their tips were increased. In addition, 70% of the workers said hotel management teams must encourage tips to staff members. Low pay emerged as the most common reason for exiting the hotel industry.   

The hotel industry continues to face the challenge of increasing employee wages and attracting talent to the industry. According to the survey, wages have increased by 25% since 2019, exceeding the overall wage growth in the U.S.   

However, a recent study by the American Hotel and Lodging Association found that 87% of hotels are still experiencing a shortage of staff members, suggesting that further wage increases may be required to woo more workers into the industry.  

“With no end in sight to the hotel staffing shortage and clear indication from our survey that both hotel guests and workers desire better tipping options, digital tipping is more relevant than ever,” said Bryan Michalis, vice president of marketing at Canary Technologies. “Digital tipping is a powerful tool that hotel management teams can deploy quickly and easily to improve staff retention. It also provides guests with a cashless method to do what they overwhelmingly report that they want — express gratitude to the workers who provide them with outstanding service during their stay.”