I’ve got the bug; the travel bug that is. It’s been exactly one year since I last traveled for business. Like many of you, I was accustomed to traveling all the time. Last year, that suddenly came to a halt. As a new mom (two under two years) I welcomed the pause of travel and embraced being home with family. As nice as it would be to believe that the lockdown was positive for everyone, we cannot escape the devastating impact the pandemic has had on travel and hospitality.
I recall my last business trip like it was yesterday. It was February 2020, and I was headed to Redwood City, Calif., to attend Startup Grind Global, the largest independent startup conference for entrepreneurs. The two-day event was packed with 100+ inspirational and educational sessions and some of the most amazing networking opportunities I have ever experienced. Although I was missing my only child like crazy, four-month-old Beau, it was a fabulous event, nonetheless. What I didn’t know at the time was just how well that conference was preparing me for my entrepreneurial venture today.
Fast-forward to 2021, In a few weeks I’ll be taking my first business trip since SGG. In my new role as CEO of youtip — a company I co-founded with long-time friend and youtip COO Doug Miles to provide a Contactless, Cashless and App Free Digital Tipping solution — I am venturing out to visit businesses in Las Vegas, Chicago, and Miami to test the market and see who is ready for youtip. What is even more exciting, is that Las Vegas and Chicago will just be reopening full time as I arrive.
People who know me, know my familiarity with these markets — especially Las Vegas. Having lived and worked in City of Lights over the years, I am eager to see how it has evolved since my last visit. I was disheartened to read about businesses closing and hear that food bank lines were being flooded with hospitality workers trying to feed their families. Thankfully, times are changing, and new opportunities are on the horizon. Pre pandemic, “Lost Wages” was becoming more of a business destination for meetings, events, sports, and entertainment. Post pandemic, the city is pioneering new technologies that will bring business back in a safe and more contactless digital way.
Digital Wallets are being widely adopted and making it possible for travelers to have touch-free experiences, from booking air travel and hotel stays to paying for casino games and getting around town with app-based ride-hailing. The only thing digital wallets are not doing — or should I say not doing well — is enabling people to tip with equal ease. Prior to youtip, there was not a simple and fast way to tip the housekeeper or shuttle driver or concierge other than cash.
Just as Las Vegas continues to pioneer implementing technologies that enhance the customer experience, youtip is positioned to pioneer digital tipping and put more money in the pockets of frontline workers—ultimately enhancing the employee experience.
It’s time for the lights to come on literally and metaphorically. I am eager to experience Las Vegas in today’s post-pandemic era. I am hopeful that when I arrive at the hotel, I will be greeted by staff who welcome me to the property, and happily put my bags on a cart and show me the way to registration. Then, when I ask: “Is there a way I can give you a digital tip for your service (and show them youtip)?” they will respond with these three words: “We Need This!”
How will my travels to Las Vegas, Chicago, and Miami turn out as we seek to introduce contactless, cashless, and app-free digital tipping to these top markets? If I were you, I’d place my bet on youtip.
Sarah Taveprungsenukul is co-founder and CEO of youtip, a company providing digital solutions for the evolving cashless tipping economy. Taveprungsenukul, a 20-year hospitality technology veteran, founded youtip in 2020 to serve as an enterprise system for digital gratuity. Recognizing that the fallout from the pandemic would require serious changes in contactless service technology, Taveprungsenukul set out to develop a cashless, contactless, and “appless” digital tipping service for all business types.