Navigating Hospitality: what hoteliers need to do to bounce back
01 / 10 / 2021
Arguably there has never been a more important time for hospitality merchants to offer their guests bespoke services. Consumer demands have shifted considerably over the last two years and as a result, industry stakeholders must respond by adopting the latest payments infrastructure and technology available to them.
The hospitality industry is recovering, slowly but surely. Having been among the most severely affected since the beginning of the pandemic, hoteliers are expecting a continued period of growth as we move into 2022, as guests take to the road and air once again, both for leisure and business purposes.
However, hospitality merchants must be abreast of the latest payments infrastructure to ensure their business runs as efficiently as possible, maintains a competitive edge, and provides customers with seamless experiences – all whilst maintaining healthy growth.
The impact of the pandemic
Unforeseen circumstances plunged hoteliers into crisis in 2020. As was the case for many sectors, business came to a halt. Since restrictions have been lifted, new trends and behaviors have accelerated rapidly with consumers becoming more wary about hygiene or wanting to avoid queues.
Examples include increasing use of online check-ins and check-outs during overseas trips.
Indeed, the pandemic also accelerated the use of contactless transactions and hospitality merchants have had to adjust to this change by implementing the latest payments infrastructure.
An integrated payment solution
Hoteliers looking to expand their business should acquire omnichannel payment capabilities by adopting an integrated payment solution. This will provide a great opportunity to drive revenue across all sales channels, as processes become more streamlined and automated. In turn, this enables staff to concentrate more directly on the needs of the guest.
If the customer is able to check in online before arriving at their accommodation, less time is subsequently spent at the reception desk – a welcome benefit for tired travellers!
In an increasingly digitalised world, payment infrastructure should be intuitive enough to recognise returning customers’ details from a previous visit or booking. In addition, guests should be able to pick up and put down their different devices - such as mobiles, laptops, tables - to continue with an ongoing booking or transaction.
This not only means they can skip queues, but it also allows the merchant to tailor visits according to guests’ specific needs or preferences, such as their preferred room service choices or type of room itself.
What is tokenisation and how does it help?
Tokenisation is a tool which helps to protect consumers’ sensitive information such as bank details. Instead of a company or merchant retaining the exact numbers of, for example, an account number following a transaction, a random group of numbers is created as a token, thus protecting the actual information. The token carries no value in itself and thus helps mitigate the risk of fraud and the potential for criminals to unlawfully access the merchant’s system, in turn enhancing security for all stakeholders.
Changes in booking tendencies
Various trends have triggered a change in how guests book their stay, and Covid-19 has merely acted as an accelerator. To reiterate, people are now much more concerned about factors such as health and safety and the option to travel in an eco-friendly manner in the aftermath of the pandemic.
For some time now, an increasingly digitally-savvy generation of internet users have opted to skip online travel agencies (OTAs) and make hotel bookings themselves directly. Naturally, this phenomenon was to the detriment to the middlemen, the OTAs, who saw a decrease in business, leading some businesses to fall into serious financial trouble, the most obvious example being Thomas Cook.
Now more than ever, hospitality merchants must invest in innovative new systems This will help drive revenue and meet the needs of customers, who are inclined to choose the most convenient form of payment when away.
Limiting the need for the customer to think about money from the moment they start their journey will bolster their experience, as will the implementation of widespread, automated payment systems that streamline businesses, decrease touchpoints and give back essential resource for staff to concentrate on making the guest experience as bespoke and memorable as possible.
Find out more about Worldline’s Hospitality solution here:WL Hospitality Suite - Dedicated Payment Solution for Hospitality (worldline.com)