|Tom Cruise, Hotel Payment Gateway Systems & The Environment.|
By Chris Knop ~ Avasara
Friday, 21st January 2011
In the movie Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise famously coined the term 'show me the money!'
So what’s that got to do with payment gateway systems? Your hotel should be saying the same thing when evaluating how you currently process credit card transactions. Payment gateways can save as well as make you money. And as for the environment, well we’ll come to that one.
Human error with processing credit card transactions not only inconveniences customers and reduces staff handling time, it has knock on effects to the finance team and even brand image when customer loyalty is dented.
Payment gateway systems reduce manual errors and double handling by staff which improves their productivity. They ensure hotel revenues are captured immediately and effectively, eliminating revenue loss.
After pre-authorizations, auto-top ups are processed by the system during a guest’s stay. This reduces exposure to risk of under-collecting monies owed.
The possibility of fraud is also greatly reduced as there is less handling of credit cards.
Show me the money! Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) can provide your hotel with a new and lucrative revenue stream. In the same manner that banks and money changers earn commission on currency exchange, by processing transactions in the home currency of your guests you will earn commission on the exchange.
If you’re a customer, all you want is for your room check in/check out, restaurant/bar or spa bill to be processed quickly and simply. The last thing you want is to be kept waiting and even worse, for incorrect charges or the need for reversals to occur.
Payment gateways ensure that the system automatically processes and calculates amounts, not the staff member.
DCC provides customers with the convenience of having bills settled in their home currency. They know immediately what the exchange rate will be and can accept it on the spot giving them peace of mind.
With payment gateway systems, the customer gets what they want.
Ask anyone that’s worked in a hotel with a payment gateway system and they will rave about it. They know it saves them time and stress by automating processes such as calculating amounts manually, having to physically leave the customer and walk over to processing terminals, time spent reprocessing manual errors and dealing with irate customers.
With a single swipe, transactions are processed through the PMS or POS directly giving staff more time to focus on serving customers and generating sales. They can also increase desk space. Once needed payment terminals are a thing of the past giving staff more room to move, and customers a clean professional image of your hotel.
What’s more, multiple terminals requiring line rentals are no longer needed. What was that about show me the money?
With improved productivity and handling time, resource costs and allocation improve measurably.
The hotel finance team benefits by having central administration tools for instant viewing of transaction data, reducing time analysing and generating reports. Payment gateway systems integrate with back office accounting packages and provide customizable search functions. From a hotel chain level this also means consolidated rolled up reporting at the group level can be achieved.
With less manual errors time spent by the finance team on processing non-revenue generating tasks improves markedly.
With most installations of a payment gateway system, folios and guest receipts for signing are printed out from the PMS on plain paper. There is no longer a requirement to print separate authorization or final transaction slips generated from bank provided terminals. In fact, these terminals become a thing of the past. This saves trees by eliminating paper usage and running costs associated with terminals. The outcome has a positive impact on your costs and carbon footprint by reducing your energy and paper consumption.
Using a payment gateway system is a sustainable and socially responsible business solution.
What to watch out for in choosing providers
There are various providers to choose from. Your decision should be based on the number of banks they can connect to, as well as their fees.
Generally there are two models. One is you get the system for “free” but you have to pay ongoing transaction fees to the gateway supplier or vendor in addition to bank and financial institution fees. The other more preferable solution is you buy the payment gateway software upfront, but then you have no transaction fees other than that of the bank and financial institutions.
While the latter option might have more upfront cost, you will win over the medium term as you own the system, are not subject to sudden or contracted fee structure changes, and there are no other recurring costs associated with the system.
Avasara is a Hong Kong based consulting firm and systems integrator focused on the hospitality, entertainment and leisure industries. Talk to us about choosing and implementing payment gateway and other systems. Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit us at www.avasara.biz