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.

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.