Micropayments: The Benefits of Cashless Room Key Payments for Small-ticket Purchases

By Bob Carr Chairman & CEO, Heartland Payment Systems | December 12, 2010

Each traveler seeks something unique from his or her hotel experience. For some, the goal is to find a home away from home; for others it's being treated to luxury and indulgence. Regardless of the objective, there are two mainstays of the traveler's expectations: convenience and service.

That combination becomes even sweeter when its delivery increases efficiency in hotel operations. This is the opportunity that presents itself when we examine the integration of cashless small-ticket purchases through key card payments with property management system software - and how it can benefit your guests and your bottom line.

Payments Evolution

Cashless payment is nothing new. The words "put it on my tab" were certainly uttered long before "debit or credit" became a common phrase. Consumers are always looking for safe ways to make purchases that require as little hassle as possible.

Over the past century since the concept of credit began to make its way into the mainstream in the form of proprietary cards, Americans have witnessed a fascinating evolution in how consumers pay for goods and services. In the hospitality industry - where offering convenience to guests is a priority - it only makes sense that cashless technology has made its way into the fiber of the business.

Hoteliers throughout the world have stayed on top of trends in cashless payment for years. From "a la carte" to "all-inclusive" and everything in between, hoteliers are finding that travelers want to keep payment simple when they are away from home.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.