Before You Swipe That Card: Do You Know What Fees You're Paying?

By Bob Carr Chairman & CEO, Heartland Payment Systems | February 13, 2010

Every time you swipe a guest's credit card, your hotel is charged with transaction fees. Since most of your bills are likely paid by credit card, the amount you pay in these fees are substantial. Yet, do you understand what you pay and properly manage that expense?

If you are like many hoteliers, you may not drill down into credit card processing costs - first because you may not have the time, and second because the statements you receive from your payments processor are probably very confusing. If you take a good look at your statements, you will discover that fees vary wildly based on the type of card used and can reach as high as 5% on each payment.

That may be because every transaction is passing through up to 12 middlemen, each of whom tacks on its own processing fee. Then, there are the hidden fees, penalties and questionable business policies that many card processors bury in the fine print. The end result is you may be paying more per transaction than you have to.

The Merchant Bill of Rights is a set of industry standards designed to promote fair credit and debit card processing practices. The primary objective of this advocacy initiative is to educate business owners and hoteliers like you so you can effectively manage the complexity and cost of card acceptance.

First and foremost, The Merchant Bill of Rights focuses on your right to transparent business practices. Too often, business owners pay for card processing without knowing what is really happening behind the scenes. Let's drill in to some of the transparency issues The Merchant Bill of Rights targets - starting with middlemen.

MIDDLEMAN MADNESS

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.