Why payment strategy is so important in the hotel industry
As consumers become increasingly used to a slick purchasing experience for retail and digital goods, it has become an expectation for travel bookings too. The hotel industry however is lagging behind, and it all comes down to payments.
The hotel industry currently manages payments on a ‘property-by-property’ basis, but to keep up with the modern travellers expectations, it’s crucial to move to a centralised payment model. This is the only way that guests can receive a booking confirmation in ‘one click’ and automatically be checked in as they approach the property using stored payment details.
In this article we will examine how changing the payment set up of the hotel can improve the overall customer booking experience.
1 – The booking experience becomes seamless
Seamless payments = increased conversions
Using a centrally managed payment set up can enable guests to store their payment details against their user profile and re-use it every time they want to book or check-in at any one or your properties – anywhere in the world. Confirming a booking, checking in or checking out would be no more than a swipe or finger print their mobile phone. It’s a completely seamless user experience – the need to pay at the reception desk could be completely eliminated.
Making the booking and payment process simple can be the driving force in a customer choosing to hit that ‘pay’ button – with your brand.
The Seamless Travel Experience
Why payments are at the heart
2 – Meet the needs of your target market
Payment convenience = satisfied (foreign) guests.
Travel is a global business – but often hotels think about local guests and forget the importance of appealing to the wider market – and offering the payment methods that your guests have access to.
For example, have you considered how your individual properties cater for the payment needs of guests from high growth travel markets such as China? The rise of eCommerce coupled with the continued growth of middle and upper class Chinese travellers raises a case to offer ‘preferred payment methods’ for tourists from these markets.
Not convinced? UnionPay is by now one of the largest payment schemes. Alipay currently accounts for 44% of global eWallet spend , and younger Chinese shopper’s preference for mobile commerce is likely to accelerate an adoption of mobile wallets and in-app/browser payments from Apple and Google. These consumers are very unlikely to have an international credit card.
A centrally managed payment facility can much quicker adjust to the ever evolving range of most popular payment methods. Offered through your hotel app to your guest’s mobile phone removes the complex integration at property level.
"Consumers using smartphones are now pilots of their own travel experiences, shaping where they want to be and what they want to see with just a swipe or a click."
3 – Guests can buy more services from you
Holiday add-ons = increased revenue
Consumers using smartphones are now pilots of their own travel experiences, shaping where they want to be and what they want to see with just a swipe or a click.
Advising guests on local amenities is something hotels do best, and with the ‘rise of mobile’, hotels can now expand customer relationships beyond the realms of their properties to actually take payments for other services. Selling ground transportation, tours, restaurant deals and museum tickets is something online travel agents do already well via mobile, and there’s no reason why hotels can’t do it too!
As the 'Merchant of Record’, you’ll have complete control of the entire payment journey, from enabling easy booking and check-in to check-out. You can up and cross sell throughout the customer’s stay. As you manage the end to end payment process, reporting and servicing customer queries can also be centralized and unified.
To create a truly seamless travel experience, hotels need to focus on their core payment strategy. They should:
• Optimise their guests payment journey
• Take a ‘mobile-first’ approach
• Choose a payment provider that’s specialised in the travel sector
• Adjust to a centralised payment setup
• And become the ultimate travel companion to your customer and provide more additional services directly, without redirecting to third parties.
1 – Worldpay - Global Payments Report 2016