Hotels and Innovation: A Match Made in Heaven?


Innovation with TipZyp logo

Some say hotels and innovation don’t go together. Nonsense. Here’s why any hotel manager or professional can innovate just as much as any Silicon Valley tech guru.

Some industries have an innovative image. And some don’t, even if they are extremely innovative. Too many people outside the hospitality industry have the wrong idea about it. Specifically, they think it’s not a hotbed of innovation like Silicon Valley. We know this is wrong.

This blog post challenges the myths and shows how hospitality and hotel professionals can and do innovate.

First up, why do people associate tech so closely with innovation compared to other industries? It’s not as though every new phone that comes out is more than incrementally better than the previous version. So what’s going on? Why this image?

The tech industry is purely about generating value by trying new things. Physically. The tech industry pushes the envelope of human progress in a hyper-visible way. You can see new technology. It sits on your desk; a portable monument to human achievement.

And that’s awesome. But what about technology in other industries? There’s a myth that some industries are un-sexy or unsuited to innovation. They have a ‘steady-as-she-goes’ image.

The Source of the Issue

The hospitality industry is burdened with this (inaccurate) image. Perhaps It’s understandable. When the conversations you have reflect one view, it’s incredibly easy to slip into the same mindset.

And then there’s the long history of hotels. Hotels have existed for literally hundreds of years. Most believe – somewhat wrongly – that they haven’t changed much in that time. This gives rise to the belief that they can’t change. If you’re like us, you want to challenge this assumption.

Another reason for the glacial image of hospitality is the size of many hotel organizations. Large organizations are said to be slow to change as pushing new projects can constitute a project in itself. And there’s some truth to this. But there’s no fundamental physical law that stops big organizations innovating, and the NYSE is replete with large companies founded on breakthroughs.  

But this isn’t just a problem. It’s an opportunity.

Hotels Can Innovate

So why are the naysayers wrong? Why doesn’t the image of hotels and hospitality reflect the more innovative reality?

Tech isn’t limited to the technology industry. And what about innovation that goes beyond technology? You don’t need to be a technologist to innovate.

In simplest terms, innovation is trying something new. Usually, that means progress. There’s nothing in there about needing microchips or sleek chrome casing. You don’t even need a physical product. All you need is a new way of providing value to meet a need or want, that’s meaningfully better than the old way.

Come up with a new way to make hotel guests happy and you’re an innovator. Solve the problem of retaining and motivating housekeepers in a new way? Innovator.

The change doesn’t even have to be all that radical. The best solutions are often the simplest ones. Make something people already do even slightly easier and that can have a huge impact, especially if it’s a common activity.

But that’s not to say changes can’t be groundbreaking. If you have a disruptive idea, go for it. As long as it provides more value than the status quo.

Take TipZyp. We’re a prime example of innovation in hospitality. We saw a problem and we decided to fix it.

Creating Value for Hotels

What was the problem? Fewer people carry cash, which means fewer tips for housekeepers. That makes their lives harder. It’s also a challenge for hotels, who must work even harder to keep their staff equally motivated. Hotel managers are running faster just to stay still, and often they don’t know why.

Our solution for hotels? Cashless tipping. We’ve built a system that allows guests to tip housekeepers virtually instantly, even without cash. Hotel guests can fire off an SMS to us, and we’ll ping them a TipCode. The guest writes it down for the housekeeper who picks it up later and can redeem their tip online.

By making tipping easier for hotel guests, we make them happier because it’s easier to achieve their desired result (leaving a tip). But it’s also great for housekeepers, for whom tips are increasingly like gold dust.

But the biggest winners are arguably hotel managers and owners, who get multiple issues resolved. First, guests are happier. Why? Of course, they like to be able to leave a tip if they want to. But they also benefit from the effects of motivated housekeepers; the number one thing guests look for in accommodation is cleanliness.

And then there’s data. If you’re a hotel manager, you’ll know the enormous value of insights into customer satisfaction. Digital tipping – aggregated for anonymity – means insights into guest satisfaction over time. Why are tips a good metric? Because while leaving a five star review or a nice comment costs nothing except one or two moments, a tip literally costs money.

It follows that if someone leaves a tip, they were at least satisfied. The greater the tip, the greater the probability that they were very satisfied. Of course, everyone’s different. Some people are more generous than others. But when you look at the overall trend, individual differences based on the tippers character and income iron out and you can observe the overall trends.

Are tips up or down this month compared to last month? Being able to answer that question easily with objective data is a powerful tool for hotels.

Introducing a service like TipZyp into your hotel constitutes real progress. Any way you can find to improve your service, do it. That’s innovation. Don’t leave Silicon Valley all the fun. You’re an innovator, too.


Attending the Hotel Experience in New York this weekend? We’ll be there! Why not drop by our booth? We’ll also be presenting along with other hospitality innovators at the TECHpitch on Sunday! Head to the HX: TECH Stage for 1pm to catch all five presentations from innovators looking to make waves in hospitality!

Inspired to try TipZyp in your hotel? Head to  

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