The imminent Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 created significant disruptions for tourism. Many businesses closed, and the hospitality and travel sectors came to a halt. The pandemic had a substantial impact on businesses in this sector where cash was a relatively
common means of payment.
As a way of aiding social distancing, card payments were encouraged, particularly contactless transactions, which reinforced a shift from cash toward digital payments. Consequently, the decline in cash usage continued, with cash accounting for approximately
one-sixth (17%) of all charges in the UK by 2020. In tandem, due to job market constraints and tens of thousands of layoffs, the industry is still struggling to recover from the pandemic's absences, representing a shortfall of around 12%, with a staggering
one in eight job vacancies left unfilled.
Since consumer demand dynamics are continually evolving and outdated systems are trying to keep up, businesses must use digital technology to improve and streamline the passenger experience.
The requirements of the modern travel business
Customer expectations have changed drastically as they emerge from pandemic life. Many see digital services as the 'new normal,' so expect this to be replicated when going abroad. Yet, as hotels try to meet these needs, without the right assets and processes
in place it’s proving a challenge.
If you've been in the travel industry for a while, you're probably getting tired of hearing people complain about how long it takes to get paid by credit card processors. Transaction values in travel are getting higher and systems are getting older. The
manual processing of customers is one of the greatest pain points and hotels find it hard to collect and keep customer information all into one secure database.
In the modern travel industry, businesses can no longer afford to use inefficient and dated payment methods. Sophisticated technology that automates routine payment processes is needed. This will help hotel operators reduce operational costs and allow them
to be more efficient with collecting guest payments. Omnichannel services will help staff to monitor and swiftly issue payments and be comfortably integrated into self-service machines, alleviating pressures for staff from the front desk.
Innovation in payments: the real-time opportunity
As it stands, the travel industry should rethink travel, putting payments first as many other industries have done. The popularity of digital wallets, contactless payments, and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) methods has accelerated. Customers look for a simple,
stress-free experience and don't want to book a room at a hotel which doesn’t accept their preferred payment method or lack a guest checkout option. Without this wide range of choices, hotels will fall victim to their competitors as customers will go elsewhere.
Swapping to an omnichannel end-to-end payment is the competitive advantage hoteliers have been looking for. A unified end-to-end payment process can help manage online booking fees and accommodation deposits. These fees can be collected swiftly, while customer
data is easily tracked on a scale and recorded all in one place.
Multi-currency payment gateway
As a hotel owner, the importance of multi-language payment should not be underestimated. It allows travel businesses to cater to both a local and broader audience, reaching new possible customers across the globe.
Multi-currency payments are also important for any hotel business. This choice can attract customers who are more likely to decide when to buy, especially when it's a currency they are familiar with.
Finally, hotels that integrate Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) features on their website allow the customer to pay in their local currency and save money on exchange rates. Full payment transparency is shown on the terminal at the point of sale (POS),
benefitting the experience of both the customer and the business.
A digital transformation
Implementing an innovative payment method has a multitude of benefits for hotel businesses. The centralised nature of end-to-end payments means transactions can be processed faster. With a rise in late bookings and last-minute cancellations, hotel owners
can easily accept payments and issue refunds.
A centralised system can help with tracking real-time customer data. Complete visibility allows businesses to cater to every customer exclusively, including tailored support and opportunities to give rewards to returning customers. The result? The golden
ticket to customer loyalty and retention.
With unnecessary admin being largely taken care of, businesses can focus on high-priority tasks and ensure more can be done to improve the business. A dependable and trustworthy solution will reflect positively on your team experience that stands out as
seamless and flexible is a feature most customers look for in hotel stays and distinguish one business from the other.
Sophisticated technology that automates routine payment processes is needed. This will help hotel operators reduce operational costs and allow them to be more efficient with collecting guest payments. Omnichannel services will help staff to monitor and swiftly
issue payments where needed. In addition, multi-language and currency software automatically reduces time spent worrying about exchange rates and language barriers. The power of innovative technology can allow payments to be comfortably integrated into self-service
machines, alleviating pressures for staff from the front desk.
Digital payments: an integral part of the customer experience
Payments are the lifeline of any business.
Providing new payment technologies will undoubtedly improve the client experience. However, the benefits are not just customer-facing; incorporating digital payment systems provides more options for businesses to get control over and increase their entire
cash flow and revenue.
This is an opportunity for businesses to retain existing customers and win new ones while providing a smooth commerce process, which has the potential to be a critical competitive asset, particularly as the travel industry seeks for a means to get its businesses
back on track.