Tour Tech

How to Maximize Tips on Trips, Tours, Activities and Adventures

Learn how one tour operator increased their tips by 160% using smart tactics and smart tipping technology.
Bella Ward
8 minutes

It used to be that when a customer experienced exceptional service, they added a bit extra to their bill as a means of expressing their gratitude. This act almost exclusively occurred by means of cash passing from one hand to the other.

But today, like everything else under the sun, technology has involved itself in the tipping process under the guise of “convenience, ease and simplicity.” And while not every solution proves itself, TripWorks’ Tipping Solution meets all of these characteristics, and then some.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to use technology to maximize the quantity and quality of tips collected during your Trips, Tours, Activities and Adventures — and how to do so conveniently, easily and simply.

We’re writing this post because we are a technology company — a good one and one that specializes in providing software that assists tour operators with solutions that help them grow – grow bookings, sales, reviews, ROI and the number and amount of tips.

And to do so, significantly.

Given that gratuity averages around 20% of the sales amount for most travel-related experiences, increasing the frequency and size of your tips absolutely has the ability to earn that “significant” designation. And since not many businesses have the opportunity to make an additional 20% on revenues, when you do (as tours operators do) you of course take full advantage.

Increase Tips Conveniently, Easily and Simply

So, let’s talk about how technology, and specifically how TripWorks technology, makes this possible.

Tipping Widget

The TripWorks Tipping Widget supplies what is probably the most common format for digital tipping. Essentially a small bit of tech that allows tour providers to open a guest’s reservation and, with one simple tap, prompt a guest to add gratuity using the credit card on file.

A Tap for Tip, if you will.

Tip amounts are pre-defined by each operator and presented as percentages of the total trip cost. Alternatively, a guest has the option of adding any amount of their choosing and changing the credit card used for the payment.

But here’s the beauty of TripWorks’ widget, and what sets it apart from other solutions: It conveniently goes anywhere with you and is available whenever the “moment” presents itself.

“Using the TripWorks Tipping Widget, our company grew tips 160%.”

~ EC, Balloon Operator

Here’s a Typical Scenario:

  • Bruce and Jackie just finished a wonderful boat tour, along with 10 of their closest friends.
  • They learned about the waterway, were entertained with stories of the river’s history and spent a leisurely 2 hours floating along in the sunshine and warm breeze.
  • It was a lovely day.
  • Photos of their adventure were captured throughout by Jay, their tour guide, on his tablet’s camera.
  • Once back on land, Jay, the tour guide, takes a final round of questions and passes his tablet to Bruce, Jackie and the others to see, select and send themselves photos from the day.
  • Conveniently, after the last photo, a page appears that offers the guests an opportunity to “Leave a Tip” if they are so inclined.

Some will pass the tablet back untapped. But most, still flush with the enjoyment of the day, will gladly tap to tip and do so with appreciation that the process (like the TripWorks Booking process) was so easy and simple.

One TripWorks customer reported that after implementing the Tipping Widget, they saw an 160% increase in tips. That’s a 32% increase in overall revenues.

TripWorks Add-On Capabilities:

Also somewhat new on the “tipping tech” front is the appearance of operators/owners including gratuity as a required “Add-On purchase” to the reservations process.

Add-On purchases are those items that are additional to the primary reservation, but which tie in closely. Examples include picnic lunches for all-day trips, videos/photos of you and your family/friends or ball caps, t-shirts or postcards to memorialize the experience. It’s certainly an off-label use of the feature, but seems to be gaining popularity within the industry, especially for the higher-priced and corporate events.

Essentially, you add a “Gratuity” section to the purchase flow – allowing customers to provide a tip before their experience. Customers can choose from among a predefined selection of tip amounts (percentages) to move forward with their reservation.

Some customers find this process extremely convenient, knowing that they’ve taken care of the gratuity and won’t need cash on hand or an extra step to complete at the end of their excursion.

For those who don’t share the “convenient” sentiment, well, they’d simply bypass the step and be prepared to provide a tip on-site, if they so choose.

While many might see this as an extremely “pro-business” process, others recognize that gratuity is a substantial component of many staff members’ earnings and applaud the “pro-employee” procedure.

Card Readers at Point-of-Sale  

Much like the Tipping Widget, offering a tipping section on a POS reservation is extremely common today, and pretty much expected by consumers.

In essence, a hand-held device or register is used to process a transaction, and when the system is ready to accept a credit card, it takes the opportunity to ask the card holder if they’d like to add gratuity and in what amount.

Again, the “tap to tip” method is applied and just like that, the sale is complete and tip is collected.

TripWorks provides their customers with this ability via our “Sell a Trip” solution accessed via the platform.


At first pass, not many would think that upping the value of your cash tips could be attributed to technology. However, the truth is that technology actually offers a fairly sophisticated and refined means of doing just so.

With a few politely crafted sentences tucked neatly at the end of an email to your guests, technology can gently remind and potentially educate your upcoming guests that tipping is both acceptable and appreciated.

In today’s marketplace, it can often be unclear and confusing as to who, when and what to tip during a vacation or excursion. When an operator offers guidance in this area, it is generally well-received and acted upon.

Of course, while digital options should be offered within emails, and some folks will take advantage of these channels to provide gratuity, others will take note and bring bank notes (cash) on the day of their excursion, believing that cash even more so benefits the recipient, especially around tax considerations.

Convenient, Easy and Simple (with a 20% Boost)

Again, in an industry such as travel and leisure where tipping is standard, technology – and especially TripWorks technology – makes the process incredibly easy and convenient, regardless of the method used to process the reservation.

Walk-up, online, over the phone or point-of-sale — any type of transaction can have tipping capabilities added to them via the TripWorks platform. And when tipping is offered and done in such a seamless and convenient fashion, it happens.

It happens and it happens at greater frequency and at higher dollar amounts, thus the results seen (160% increase) by our example customer. Because the truth is that people both expect and want to tip – especially when their experience is superb.

TripWorks Tipping Widget is the final step in a fully streamlined and efficient process, one that takes you from guest capture to booking to reviews and tips. Delivered in a comprehensive management and booking platform, TripWorks Tipping Widget, and the whole suite of technology forward solutions, are purpose built to help you and your company succeed and grow.

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