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The possible features of a hotel payment system are endless. They range from security options to types of payment methods, pre-authorizations, multi-currency settlements, compliance, payment splitting and so much more.
While an automated system is key to avoid human error, it also helps provide a better first impression at your hotel because your front desk staff can focus on providing the best possible guest experience upon arrival instead of having to deal with the sensitive topic of money as soon as the guest arrives.
In this article, we’ll help you understand what features to look for when choosing an automated payment system so that you can make the best possible decision when it comes time to set your hotel up for smooth payments.
What to look for when choosing an automated hotel payment system
Choosing an automated hotel payment system is no easy task, and that’s why we’re here to demystify your search. Keep reading to find out the must-have features and find out why these key functionalities will help set your hotel apart from the competition.
No feature of a hotel payment processing tool is more important than security. This is why you should look for special security features like those offered by Mews Payments.
Mews takes security seriously, allowing you to process electronic transactions with the highest security standards thanks to end-to-end encryption, which stores and processes guest data safely.
Since no raw data is stored in the Mews system, and with 3D secure authentication, the potential for fraud is reduced.
Security features like these allow peace of mind not only for your guests but also for your staff who don’t have to worry about handling payments upfront.
With pre-authorization, there is no longer the awkward moment of when a guest’s card is denied. Pre-screenings can ensure that the guest has the funds available to pay for their hotel stay before they even arrive at your hotel.
In a sector like the hospitality industry where sensitive data is handled on a daily basis, it’s important to make sure your guests and your hotel are protected from potential situations that would compromise your brand’s reputation and your guests’ identity, and this is why security features are paramount.
Diversity of payments
In a global economy, another key feature to look for is being able to offer diversity of payments.
This means being able to offer multi-currency settlements, or the right payment method in the right currency based on the guest’s chosen channel.
This type of customization is fundamental to be able to offer the most personalized guest experience from the time they check in until the time they check out.
The future of payments is going in the direction of online payments that simplify the purchase process, offering Uber-like charges where once payment information is collected, you are automatically charged when you book a ride.
This “tap-and-go” experience creates added value to you and your customer. For your customers it’s easier and quicker, and for you as a hotelier, ease of payments makes the possibility of upselling all the more likely.
It’s important to understand these trends and changes in the way people are handling and diversifying payments so that your hotel can be up-to-speed with the most modern technology and current trends to make this possible.
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Accept PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay
With the future of the hospitality industry going more and more mobile, it’s important to have a system in place to support popular mobile and cloud-based payments.
Google Pay, Apple Pay and PayPal. Google Pay and Apple Pay are smartphone-generated purchase methods, which make checking out in apps and websites easier while also streamlining in-person charges by simply holding up your smartphone to the charge terminal.
Customers can also unlock different cards saved to their different Google accounts, opening up more possibilities for your business. This is why it’s important to have your payment system integrated to accept these popular ways of paying, so as to unlock as many popular functionalities as possible that will stimulate the purchase.
These types of payments are also more secure because they usually require double authentication such as a one time code, Face ID, Touch ID or a passcode. This way, your hotel staff don’t have to handle sensitive data because there is no need to process a physical credit card.
Track payments and update inventory automatically
There are other interesting features to look for in an automated system, such as the ability to have a real-time view of all transactions being carried out at any given moment during the day, and then have your inventory be updated automatically once a transaction is processed.
Reporting that allows you to track transactions and run customized reports enable you to keep on top of your finances, thereby ensuring smoother operational efficiency.
Pay at different times during the guest journey
Another key feature to look for is the ability to offer guests the ability to pay during different phases of the customer journey.
Not all guests are created equal, and giving the flexibility to pay during different periods of the guest journey is paramount to ensure guest satisfaction.
Some guests might prefer to pay once they reserve, directly from the booking engine, while other guests might feel more secure paying at check-in or check-out through a classic countertop terminal (this is especially true of older guests).
With online check-in and check-out, you will also want to have a system that allows you to validate and settle the final bill from the comfort of their own room before check-out.
If your hotel decides to have a check-in kiosk, make sure that the tool allows you to accept payments directly from the kiosk.
Finally, another feature that provides flexibility is the ability to automate payment requests.
In this article, we’ve looked at some of the essential features a hotel payment system must have in order to provide a top-notch experience in every phase of the guest journey.
By having flexible payment options and different kinds of automations, by allowing guests to pay at different phases of their journey and making security a priority, you can ensure that your hotel has a smoother process towards converting one-time website visitors into regular loyal customers.
With a constantly-evolving digital world, it’s important to keep on top of the latest trends in order to ensure that your hotel offers the most state-of-the-art technology across all touchpoints.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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