Hotel proprietors face constant pressure to keep occupancy rates high on their properties. That means targeting advertisements to the audience that is most likely to book rooms, altering room rates to maximize profit and minimize vacancy levels, and maintaining superior levels of customer service for all hotel guests. Fortunately, a merchant services account can help address all of these issues.
Here are some examples of how credit card processing systems can have a positive effect on guest experiences.
When they’re checking in:
Many customers may wish to pay for their rooms in advance – especially if they know they will be checking out early the following day. Having a merchant services account will let you process credit card payments before the guest goes to his or her room. In addition, if a patron wants to take advantage of some of the in-room amenities (such as the minibar or pay-per-view movies), those charges can easily be applied to the bill via the credit card which was provided for incidentals during check-in.
It’s not uncommon for travelers to call up a hotel and reserve a room. If your property has a merchant services account, you can take the credit card number over the phone as insurance that the customer is able to pay for his or her lodging. In return, you can agree to reserve the room in the customer’s name, thus giving him or her one less thing to worry about.
Some merchant services providers allow you to automate this process by letting customers punch in their credit card number and processing the information using touch tone technology.
The Internet is quickly becoming the medium of choice for travelers who are booking trips for business or pleasure. Your hotel can opt for a merchant account with the capability to take reservations and process credit card payments over the Web. Your guests will appreciate the convenience, and you will welcome the ability to book rooms without needing a human to take care of it.
While they’re at your hotel:
Your guests will be more likely to choose your hotel (or extend their stay) if they know they can dine on-site. And they are more likely to patronize the restaurants and other eateries on your property if they can charge the meals on their credit cards. Also, they may move to the lounge or bar for happy hour or a nightcap if they don’t have to worry about bringing cash with them to pay for their drinks.
Many times, guests want to pamper themselves at a hotel spa or salon, but may not want that appointment charged to their room (especially if they’re traveling on business). Giving spas and salons the ability to process credit card payments increases the likelihood that customers will treat themselves to a facial, massage, or manicure during their stay.
Tips and Customer Service Issues
Accepting credit card payments gives you two distinct customer service advantages over hotels which do not. First, guests can easily add in tips to on-site service providers (such as waiters, bartenders, or massage therapists) when they sign their credit slips. And second, if for some reason the guest has a problem with the service and you feel the need to make it right, you can easily remove or reduce a charge on a customer’s credit card. Fixing a problem promptly is a surefire way to help your guest remember how well he or she was treated.
After they check out:
Credit card payments are automatically deposited into your company account, so you don’t have to waste time shuttling a bunch of cash and checks to the bank. In addition, each transaction is recorded in detail in your database, saving you the effort of matching cash and check transactions with room charges.
Your merchant services account is set up so that you can view all of your credit card transactions easily and sort them into different data sets. Doing this allows you to spot occupancy trends for your specific properties (such as which months see the most guests). In addition, you can also paint a clear picture of what hotel services your guests availed themselves of during their stay (such as restaurant meals, spa services, or pay-per-view movies) and market your hotel’s amenities accordingly.
All credit card transactions are kept in a detailed database which can be used for promotional purposes if you choose. For instance, in an effort to encourage repeat business, you can offer a free night on a future stay for guests who spent several nights on your property. Or if you want to promote certain amenities, you can send out e-coupons good for special discounts (such as 20% off a restaurant tab if they reserve a room at your hotel on the next six months) to former guests.
To find out more about how credit card processing systems can boost your hotel property’s bottom line, contact a merchant services provider today!