A Guide to Protecting Guest Data with EMV and PCI-Validated P2PE

By Roberta Braum Director of Product Management, Payments, Agilysys | February 07, 2016

Hotel guest satisfaction has hit a record high, according to the J.D. Power 2015 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. But we can never become too comfortable. Continuing to grow satisfaction levels will give your property a distinct advantage over others. And, while embracing the latest technology trends offers new opportunities to improve guest satisfaction, it also presents a few challenges.

Guests are accustomed to a very mobile world and have more ways than ever to select where they will stay. The manner in which guests assess, select and experience their lodging is changing almost as quickly as technology is advancing.

What technologies are you leveraging to serve your guests? Chances are you're using integrated solutions with advanced interfaces that make guest services most efficient. All good, right? Well, while the guest experience starts during research and reservation, at some point guests will spend time in your gift shop or restaurant - and, even if they don't, they will certainly check out of the hotel. Enter EMV.

EMV technology eliminates key security challenges for hotels, yet presents a new challenge in the form of a longer payment processing experience for the guest. Savvy consumers will have little patience for the delays EMV creates. When it comes to EMV, hotels looking to earn and keep guests will have to balance the risk of guest frustration with the benefit of increased security.

In 2016, EMV is expected to be more common among hotels, and its adoption will be driven largely by guest expectations and fraud concerns. Until it becomes more commonplace, understanding your EMV options - and how each affects your workflows and guest experiences - will best prepare your hotel. Some guidelines about what to expect and things you need to know are outlined here.

P2PE, Not EMV, Protects Guest Data

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.