Not all lodging operators are feeling the sting of COVID-19; take Smoky Cabins Vacation Rentals for example. Bookings of its 41 luxury cabins has not slowed since the onset of the pandemic. What has stopped, however, is the leaving of cash tips for housekeepers. Smoky Cabins Owner Cathy Moore set out in search for a cashless, contactless, and “appless” digital tipping solution that would solve this growing problem. What she found was an easy-to-implement, no-cost, QR-code-based solution called youtip.
“COVID-19 has been good for us,” Moore said. “People are comfortably social distancing at our private cabin rentals, and they are enjoying the great outdoors. Although business is booming, tips are scarce. Our cleaning staff really felt the pinch over the 2020 holiday season. Typically, that’s when they receive the biggest cash tips; although gratuities aren’t required, we left a tipping envelope in each cabin as a courtesy. But now tips are nonexistent because people aren’t carrying cash, and unlike hotels, we don’t have the option for guests to add tips to their rooms at check out. I started looking for a solution that would allow our customers to tip housekeepers electronically if they wanted to. There are a few options out there, but youtip stood out.”
youtip (http://www.youtip.money) is faster than cash. It uses technology that already exists in smart phones and does not require users to download an app. People just scan a QR code, enter the tip amount, choose the payment source, and go. youtip routes the funds to the business’s bank account along with transaction reporting and guests have the option to rate service and leave feedback. youtip is PCI compliant and uses the built-in security of Apple Pay and Google Pay.
“When you’re turning cabins as quickly as we are, it takes a lot of hard work,” Moore said. “Some of our units have five bedrooms, all have kitchens, multiple bathrooms, and many have hot tubs. Each requires a thorough deep cleaning and sanitization. Beginning this week, we are placing acrylic stands with digital tipping instructions alongside our Cabin Book at each location. We believe this will this be appreciated by guests who want cashless tipping, and it’s a nice way to reward our staff. I am especially eager to read the comments we get through youtip. The more ways we can capture reviews, the better it will be for everyone.”
Safe and Serene Surroundings
Smoky Cabins Vacation Rentals lie at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park or near the crystal-clear Pigeon River in the town of Townsend, Tenn. The peaceful mountain village attracts travelers looking for outdoor recreational activities such as horseback riding, Little River tubing, biking/hiking/walking, golfing, and shopping.
Townsend is one of the three main entrances to the National Park and the one located near two of the most scenic areas, one being Cades Cove which offers significant history and world class scenery. Cades Cove alone attracts more visits each year than 44 of the 54 National Parks. Cades Cove is the best place to view the wildlife around the 11-mile loop road; it features pioneer's cabins and churches of the era in history. This mountain cove consists of 6,853 acres preserved as a historic area within the national park.
“Vacation rental companies like Smoky Cabins are ideal users of youtip,” said Sarah Taveprungsenukul, youtip co-Founder and CEO. “Not only is it the fastest and easiest way to tip housekeepers without cash, but it is the most affordable program around for operators since we are waiving system subscription fees through the end of 2021 to help the hospitality industry recover as quickly as possible. Companies that just need a simple QR Code program and do not require special branding, customization, or system integration can implement youtip free. There is no better way to reward today’s frontline hospitality workers than to put more cash in their paychecks.
“We are encouraging any vacation rental company looking to offer digital tipping at low to no cost — and add another online review channel to capture guest feedback — to contact us,” she said. “Our goal is to solve two key problems for the service industry: 1) Fewer people are carrying cash, and 2) increased demand for contactless services.”