Through embedded systems, hoteliers can ensure guest data stays within their purview while providing a more comprehensive guest experience from beginning to end

By Warren Dehan

The hotel payment processing experience is ready for a shakeup. Improving payment processing in hotels has been a major barrier for independent operators, and yet the closer payment processes are to a business’ core systems, the more benefits they provide operators. Hotels have embraced the value of integrated payment processing, which allows merchants to integrate their capabilities into a hotel’s point-of-sale systems, but this still necessitates a digital “handshake” between service providers to process a simple payment. The next evolution of this offering is embedded payments, which are helping independent operators control costs and simplify guest purchases.

Embedded payment processing takes integrated systems to the next level by allowing hotels to source one provider for management software and payment processing capabilities. Embedded solutions allow businesses to curate their own checkout experience, meaning no more bouncing from a hotel’s branded site to a third party to handle transactions. Guests prefer this approach to payments for a variety of reasons and are more likely to associate their purchase with a business or brand rather than a merchant this way.

Embedded payment processing conveys other benefits to hotels as well, such as more accurate accounting information and the ability to store all of a hotel’s purchasing data under one roof. When payments are routed through embedded tools, hotels know more about their guests, can keep their guests’ information more secure, and travelers can draw on increased confidence to drive further purchasing decisions.

Keeping Things In House

Third-party payment processors have been beneficial for independent hotels in the past thanks to their ability to equalize the payment landscape, but they also introduced different challenges. It can be jarring for guests to have their attention shifted to a third party during a purchase, and any shifts to a payment screen separated from your hotel’s branding can cause consumers to reconsider their buying decisions. By using an embedded payment processing system to create a consistent check-out experience, hotels can improve conversion rates while creating more opportunities for guest purchases. This setup also reduces churn and holds guests’ attention for less time during check-out.

Embedded systems also have the potential to improve the security of guest information tied to payments by reducing the number of channels a transaction must traverse before business can conclude. With money changing hands fewer times, there are fewer opportunities for guest data to be compromised. Additionally, avoiding third-party interactions also increases the perception of security when payment processing is concerned. Increasing positive perceptions about data security will be paramount to raising consumer confidence in hospitality throughout the current business cycle.

Lastly, embedded payment processing yields significant guest data that is now available exclusively to hotels, not selectively provided by payment processing partners. The closer hotels are to their guests’ data, the more insights they can gain. By embedding payments, hotels can track the journey of every dollar throughout their system. Direct access to these funds from beginning to end also provides benefits through accounting services, as they can be even more accurate than when routed through integrated systems.

By Popular Demand

Travelers crave consistency, especially when it comes to payments. Consumers want to be sure they are spending money with the business they expect, and by embedding purchasing tools, hotels can create a more consistent overall travel experience from beginning to end. Hotels must consider how airlines, rideshare companies, and more are embedding their payment processing capabilities and how guests are used to a certain presentation when it is time to pay.

Additionally, embedded payments provide a level of authenticity to a business that can’t be replicated, to the point that it even provides access to additional revenue streams. Independent hotels can more consistently market ancillary services, amenities, or property attributes to guests when payments are embedded directly into the site. Hotels can cross-sell, up-sell, and more using cross-department carts and a streamlined purchase experience.

Independent hoteliers should ask their PMS provider about the availability of embedded payment solutions and how they can help create a more robust data and payment ecosystem for their hotel. Through embedded systems, hoteliers can ensure guest data stays within their purview while providing a more comprehensive guest experience from beginning to end. They are the natural endpoint for hotel payment processing, and these systems are available today.