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Payment Guide for the Hospitality Industry

Last editedApr 20222 min read

Great customer service sits at the heart of the hospitality industry, and this extends to providing a convenient checkout and payment experience. Customers should be able to reserve, check in, and pay for rooms efficiently. Today’s hospitality payment technology can help, so here’s how to get started with comparing the payment processing options.

How does payment processing work?

Payment processors provide the framework for hospitality businesses to take payments from their guests. While some customers still pay in cash, many prefer to pay for hotel rooms using cards, bank transfer, or even apps like PayPal. To facilitate these payments, hotels and B&Bs must use a third-party payment gateway. This gateway collects the customer’s payment details, communicates with the bank or card provider for authorization, and then sends the information back to the hotel for approval.

A good payment system for hospitality businesses should integrate easily with your booking system. This will allow you to pre-authorize cards for room deposits and incidentals, while voiding transactions and issuing refunds due to cancellation.

You can keep your business ahead of the curve by following the latest trends in hospitality payment technology.

1. Contactless payments

There’s no doubt that the travel industry has changed in the post-2020 landscape. While hygiene and cleanliness has always been important to guests, they also now prefer a contact-free check-in and payments process.

2. Enhanced security

With more customers making payments at a distance, they rely on hotels treating banking details with care. Tokenization replaces bank card numbers with random tokens, while two-step authentication creates an added barrier against fraud.

3. Omnichannel payments

Customers access their booking using an array of different devices. Make sure your payments infrastructure is easily accessible across multiple devices. Ideally, a customer can pick up a smartphone, tablet, or laptop and continue with their checkout process.

Using automation inhospitality industry payments

Automation also plays a role in the best systems. Your guests should not only be able to pay using a card, but should also be able to choose from a selection of alternative payments including in-text links and automated direct debits. A customer can pre authorize payments and then leave the rest up to the hotel when payment becomes due. An automatic pull-based direct debit system is also a great choice for any businesses that take recurring payments. GoCardless can help streamline accounting and payment processes; rather than requiring your clients to send money for each booking, they can authorize automatic collection instead. As with other industries, automation in hospitality industry systems is becoming increasingly prevalent.

How to choose a hospitality industry payment processor

From automated payments to tokenization, today’s hospitality payment technology makes life easier and more secure. As you start to compare options, you should keep these trends in mind to find the right fit. At minimum, businesses must choose between:

  1. An all-in-one payment processor

  2. A separate payment gateway and merchant account

Both should ideally integrate with your booking management system to keep all your client details in a single, easily manageable database. This should also be cloud-based so that you and your guests can access it from anywhere.

In terms of methods, payment processing solutions will be able to handle major credit cards. However, you should also consider the shift to banking apps and digital wallets. Will your payment portal be able to handle Apple Pay? Will you accept cryptocurrency or other alternative payments? Think about your base clientele and their preferences. Multicurrency processing is vital for the hospitality industry, as is omnichannel payment processing and tight cybersecurity features.

The best system will serve all these needs to make the check-in and payment process as simple, streamlined, and efficient as possible.

We can help

GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 70,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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