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by the Planet news team
Key findings from the report show that almost every hotel is having to adjust their pricing strategy due to an increase in operational costs. To save money and increase efficiency, the report found that hotels need to connect the payment experience in a more seamless way, and overcome the overly complex platforms, systems and processes that they have in place.
The cost of living crisis is forcing many hoteliers to look at how they can better manage their operations to remain competitive and relevant to their guests
Inflationary pressures are leading to elevated operating costs for hoteliers with the research showing that only 10% of hotels say that they haven’t been affected by the cost of living crisis. Economic uncertainty and rising costs have forced 64% of hotel chains to pass on elevated costs to guests at a time where their expendable income has also been reduced.
As such, hotels are looking at ways that they can lift the burden from guests. Moving to a single payment provider helps hoteliers better manage their operational overheads. It can help boost hotel loyalty programmes as it makes it easier for hotels to have a single point of view of a guest with enriched payments data, which until now has been underutilised in driving loyalty schemes.
The research shows that 84% of hoteliers want to improve guest profile management. A better use of payments data can enhance hotelier understanding of their guests and drive more revenue and loyalty, at a time when bookings cannot be guaranteed and it’s becoming harder to plan ahead.
Discussing the findings, Lennert De Jong, President of Hospitality at Planet, said: “Enhancing the use of data and insights leads to easier reporting and reconciliations. By integrating payments data, hoteliers can reinforce loyalty and boost revenue. This data can be gathered by connecting the payment experience in a more seamless way. There is a future where hoteliers should not have to ask if it’s a guest’s first time staying with them, but many hotels don’t have the ability to recognise a guest, even if they’ve been there 20 or 30 times. Guests should be able to simply double tap their card and be recognised by the hotel, whether they’re staying for the first time or are a regular visitor.”
Simplifying complex tech can make it easier for hotels to integrate their distribution approach
Hotels globally are operating overly complex platforms, systems and processes. On average, a typical hotel chain operates 18 distribution channels (a hotel distribution channel is anywhere — online or offline — that properties can sell rooms to potential guests) and just 60% of hotels adopt a fully integrated approach to distribution. Upgrading and simplifying technology into an integrated system not only saves on costs, but it also helps hotels makes for a better experience for staff and guests.
71% of hoteliers agree that integrating payments and PMS into their distribution approach eases end of day reconciliation reporting with visibility of payments data all in one system.
Lennert added: “There's a myriad of property management systems (PMS) and payments systems, so hoteliers need to partner with the right provider to better connect these fragmented systems. Complexity adds to the difficulty in retaining, training and motivating staff, which is a particular challenge when hotels are facing staff shortages and looking to eliminate unnecessary costs. Upgrading and simplifying technology not only saves money, but it also helps them unleash their talent so their staff can focus on doing what they do best – delivering a top quality guest experience.”
Embedding payments into PMS helps hoteliers to improve the employee and guest experience
62% of hotels now have access to a PMS-integrated payments solution, but there’s a big difference between larger hotel chains where only 33% have access, compared to small hotels with 67%. Using a single payments provider for both e-commerce and on-site hotel solutions is extremely or very important for almost six in ten (59%) of hotel chains.
After a challenging few years, and the knock-on impact of macro-economic instability on growth and talent shortages, hoteliers are united around the time saving benefits an integrated PMS-payments stack delivers them. Seventy six percent say it reduces staff time on manual tasks and reconciliations via integrated software. While 73% believe it saves time for guests at check-in as it simplifies the payments process.
Lennert concluded, “Embedding payments into PMS is at the heart of connected commerce and it improves the employee and guest experience. There’s currently a lot more friction with the payment experience at a hotel compared with Uber or Amazon Go, where credit cards are stored on a customer profile, and this needs to change. With Uber, payment is invisible and happens on the backend, but if you go to an average hotel and make a reservation, a guest needs to show their credit card — at booking, at check in, and often at check out. Increasingly hotels are coming to appreciate the benefits of taking online payments and tokenising credit cards, and the benefits of connecting the payment experience in a more seamless way that makes payments almost invisible.”