Independent hotels are too often faced with challenges that larger chains can avoid or more easily manage, due to their size, available resources, and infrastructure. Payment processing is one of those challenges, despite being a key piece in the success of operating a hotel.
As technology continues to evolve and offer better solutions for all hoteliers, there are still some major pain points to be aware of, and a few possible ways to handle or address them.
1. Customer Expectations
Access to technology and a mobile world has altered customer expectations in significant ways. They are looking for quick and seamless interactions and it’s important for hoteliers to be able to deliver to those expectations — especially when it comes to payment processing — but that is not yet the case. Statista reports that although 51% of guests want mobile payment options at hotels, only 28% of hotels offer mobile payment.
Whether it’s offering multiple payment methods or the ability to transact on a mobile device, guests are becoming more loyal to the hotels that offer them the most convenience and seamless omnichannel experiences.
2. Chargebacks and Fraud
Although the widespread use of chip and pin technology has helped to decrease the number of physical payment terminal comprises, many hotels are still largely paper-based, accepting credit card authorization forms via fax or over email. Manually recording and housing credit card numbers greatly increases the chance of fraud and related chargebacks, and in an ideal future, hotels will never have to do this again.
Implementing solutions that allow properties to accept multiple payment methods, such as eWallet accounts or even Venmo, can help reduce the risk of hoteliers, while also benefitting guests with alternative payment options. It’s also a good idea to create a chargeback management plan, which would clearly outline a cancellation and refund policy, as well as documentation required for every transaction in order to maintain a sufficient paper trail.
3. Compliance Requirements
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is the global security standard adopted by payment card brands for all merchants who process, store, or transmit cardholder data or authentication data, in order to reduce the risk of cardholders having their data breached or compromised.
The PCI Security Council has outlined 12 steps required to ensure compliance, protect your guest’s data, and avoid penalties in the event of a security breach, and as of January 1, 2019, all merchants must process credit card validations in line with (at least) PCI DSS version 3.2.1.
Complying with all of these requirements can be overwhelming for independent hoteliers, who many not have the resources or infrastructure in place to ensure all 12 PCI steps are being met. However, working directly with a payment processing company can help implement these requirements or manage them directly on their end, relieving the pressure off of hotel management.
4. Payment Integrations
Many small hotels tend to run their property with multiple systems or platforms pieced together, not realizing the efficiency and financial gains they may achieve with the investment in one integrated property management system (PMS). A unified PMS payment solution can help take the complexity out of accepting payments by managing security compliance, significantly reducing payment processing fees and automating previously manual processes.
5. Payment Reconciliations
For small, independent hotels who may not have accounting departments or sophisticated systems in place, reconciling and matching daily batch payment transactions can be a manual nightmare. Of course, any manual work leaves room for human error, and resolving payment discrepancies can take a lot of time that could be much better used interacting with guests.
As mentioned above, integrating payments with a PMS tool can take away the headache and effort required for reconciliations, saving hoteliers time and money.
These are just a few common challenges that independent hotels may face in regards to payment processing, but with a few process changes or payment-related investments, there are many ways these smaller hotels can compete with the larger chains, drive direct bookings, and increase guest satisfaction.
Whether you’re looking to take the complexity out of payment processing, speed up your reconciliations, or increase your hotel’s security, you can do it all with our platform. Contact our team today to learn more about the RoomKeyPMS Payments solution.
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