Seven Best Practices for Managing Card Processing Costs
By Bob Carr Chairman & CEO, Heartland Payment Systems | February 13, 2010
Westin Hotels & Resorts (then known as Western Hotels) made hotel history in 1946 when they introduced and issued the first guest credit card - a tremendous innovation for customers and the industry alike. They upped the ante in 1983 when they became the first major hotel to implement a comprehensive credit card reservation and check-out system.
These advances sealed Westin's reputation as a leading-edge hotelier. They also put the hotel industry squarely at the forefront of payment card acceptance, solidifying its leadership position in the rapidly expanding credit card market.
But along with the advantages of innovation, technology often brings headaches. Credit, debit and prepaid cards are no exception. While hoteliers and their guests have enjoyed the convenience and accessibility of cards for years, they - like you - have also struggled with the rising costs of accepting credit and debit cards.
Interchange rates, merchant acquirers, hidden fees, multiple middlemen and other influences all contribute to escalating costs. In fact, processing costs are now often one of the four highest expenses on a hotelier's income statement. With a majority of clients using credit and debit cards for payment, these charges can have a significant impact on revenue.
This is especially true for small and mid-sized hotels and franchises. Without the clout enjoyed by larger chains, smaller competitors cannot negotiate for lower rates as easily or ensure reliable customer service.
Worse, many smaller hoteliers don't understand the transaction clearing process and its impact on their statements. This can expose them to over-charging and hidden fees on top of the already high cost per transaction. With the right education and resources, owners of small and mid-sized hotels can reap the benefits of card acceptance while managing the associated complexities and costs.
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