How hospitality industry benefits from digitalisation trends
Tips / 15.10.2021
Now you can get more direct bookings, sell 24/7 through automatisation and increase online revenue –yes, all of this is possible. Although the travel and hospitality industries have been hit hard by the pandemic, you can start the next tourist season in better shape by taking advantage of a few innovative digital tools.
It doesn’t matter if you run a small bed-and-breakfast, a spa centre, a chateau or several hotels, digitalisation can help you stand out from the competition and improve your service. The possibilities are numerous: from digital check-in and contactless payments to QR spa bookings and automated parking.
In addition to promoting safety and security, these innovative solutions help personalise the guest experience and increase staff efficiency. Many of them do not require a prior investment, but simultaneously, they save businesses time and money. Here are a few that deserve attention and can even help you increase profits.
Avoid fees from online platforms
In recent years, many hospitality businesses turned to online platforms that give customers a chance to quickly compare vacation offers and book a stay. While this is convenient for the customers, it means they book through an intermediary which takes a commission.
Online platforms can actually take up to 35 percent, so hoteliers lose about a third of their revenue at a time when the tourism industry is already suffering. However, few businesses realise that they can easily eliminate this problem. The intermediary can be avoided if the business uses a reservation system that’s integrated with its website. This can be easily done through companies such as TravelLine and Clock PMS.
TravelLine creates cloud-based hotel management solutions. Its products, like the reservation system TL Booking Engine, optimise the processes and sell automatically around the clock. TravelLine offers everything which guests are looking for during the online booking process and even features that some businesses haven’t imagined.
Another similar option is Clock PMS: A cloud-based platform that offers hotel management software, distribution systems, guest-engagement apps and much more. Additionally, it integrates seamlessly with some of the most interesting hotel applications.
Integration is perhaps the most valuable feature of these cloud solutions because it means that they can be used seamlessly with innovative payment systems like myPOS. Thus, the customer has the options to pay immediately and conveniently – by debit or credit card or with a single click with Apple Pay or Google Pay.
Another great tool that’s worth mentioning is digital kiosks. They can speed up many hospitality processes, including check-in and check-out, offering general information about the region or getting customer feedback. A kiosk is also the ideal option for customers who prefer minimal interaction with staff due to the pandemic. Additionally, these automated solutions cut queues and waiting times.
Sezam24 is an example of a digital check-in kiosk for hotels, hostels and apart-hotels. The platform does not require an upfront investment. It is easy to configure online and it’s ready to use immediately.
With Sezam24, the customer can go through the registration process on a mobile device and then pick up the room’s key card upon arrival. Furthermore, large groups can check-in on several self-service devices at the same time. The kiosk accepts card payments via the myPOS Mini and is suitable for all accommodation businesses in the European Economic Area.
Digital Receptionist Eva is another solution that fully automates the hotel check-in. Eva speaks all the necessary languages and protects staff during the pandemic. Furthermore, it is an excellent option for small hotels that do not have the physical ability to cover night shifts. The digital receptionist also accepts payments through a myPOS terminal.
Everyone wants a convenient, fast and safe way to pay, especially considering Covid-19. With myPOS, you can have a payment option for every client. It doesn’t matter if you choose a physical payment terminal with multi-operator mode or an online payment solution – either way, the funds will be immediately available in your free myPOS account.
Probably the most important option for travel and hospitality industries is MO/TO (Mail Order/Telephone Order), which allows for payment pre-authorisation. MO/TO payments are done by providing card details by email or phone, which lets you accept funds even when you don’t have a POS terminal and the card is on the other side of the world.
There are several advantages of using a myPOS MO/TO virtual payment system:
- Transactions can be tracked in real time and from any location, thanks to the myPOS mobile application.
- Credit card funds can be blocked. In case guests don’t show up, you can deduct a part of the blocked amount to cover the costs.
- No special software, complicated integrations or additional hardware are required.
- MO/TO payments are processed directly from your account for a transaction fee. There are no monthly or hidden costs.
Another innovative feature is sending a Payment Request. This enables you to accept payments remotely no matter if you have an online presence or not, which means that you don’t need to have a website or an online store to send a Payment Request or get paid. The pay link is sent via email, chat app or SMS from your myPOS account.
And because contactless payments are becoming more and more popular among customers, we must also mention the possibility of turning your Android phone into a POS terminal. This is done through the myPOS Glass app, which accepts payments from all types of credit, debit and prepaid Mastercard and Visa cards. Moreover, you can accept payments from digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, and from contactless devices.
All in all, myPOS is a platform that lets you accept payments in any way – remotely or in-person – without subscription fees and binding contracts. You also get access to free banking services and other useful tools.
Another way in which digitalisation helps is by providing quick virtual access to all services that a hospitality business offers. With the TouchMenu system, for example, guests can scan a QR code with their smartphone camera and then access details about restaurants, swimming pools, spas, fitness centres and everything else that a hotel offers.
In this way, they can see interesting offers, meal hours and wine tastings or specific information related to entertainment or pricing. Customers even have the opportunity to order room service and pay directly – without touching a paper menu or making a call.
Such an option not only saves money that’s usually spent on printing or staff, but also provides data on consumer behaviour, which allows for better planning. Of course, in times when most people prefer to keep a safe distance, TouchMenu also ensures the safety of staff and visitors.
Digitalisation gives travel and hospitality businesses yet another way to access goods and services safely and easily, and such an example is the vending machine business, which takes contactless payments. An example is the service of Qantra Technology: A company offering automated parking solutions at large retail outlets and business centres. Their systems, which count and manage vehicle flow, are integrated with the myPOS Mini and myPOS Integra devices, thus enabling electronic payments.
The latest functionality presented by Qantra Technology, in partnership with myPOS, is the ability to pay for parking via a QR code. This happens after customers scan the code from their ticket and the system checks the stay’s duration and all other details. After that, the system shows the amount due, and the customer can pay while traveling to the exit with a card or with Google or Apple Pay – all of this without leaving the vehicle.
It doesn’t matter if we are talking about parking machines or food vending machines, automation meets the customers’ needs for constant and safe access. Some global chains, such as Marriott International, are already testing large-scale food and drink automation. However, there is no reason why smaller businesses can’t take advantage of this trend as well.
One great option is the HealthInBox vending machine offering select organic products such as quinoa crackers, juices, protein bars, chocolates and more.
Of course, food and beverages are the most popular option for vending machines, but automated services can also present other products that are important to the customer – books and disinfectants are an example. The thing to note here is that automated solutions with integrated payment options offer flexibility to consumers and consequently provide an opportunity for the business.
These are just a few of the digital tools that give hoteliers an opportunity to adapt to the new normal and to their guests’ evolving needs. Many options exist and they can meet your specific requirements while helping you get more out of the next tourist season.