Omnichannel Cohesion Through Payments Technology

Guests expect a cohesive experience across every channel. Whether it’s at the hotel, online, or on their mobile device, the interaction must be seamless and secure. A critical facet of a hotel’s omnichannel efforts is payment technology. An omnichannel payments strategy means supporting the use of all available payment options in any and all channels.

More than 50 percent of purchases now influenced by digital information and the online travel industry contributes to nearly 60 percent of the global digital payment landscape. Furthermore, omnichannel shoppers spend between 50-300 percent more than single channel shoppers. Using an omnichannel approach to payments allows hoteliers to offer a streamlined payment process to guests. Hoteliers are realizing that putting this strategy in place is nearly a requirement in today’s ecosystem.

Examining the Current Landscape
Research conducted by ACI Worldwide in association with Payments Cards and Mobile conducted over 2015 and the beginning of 2016 reveals what omnichannel payment capabilities are being used. The research found few surprises, with a large majority of respondents implementing ecommerce gateways, cross-border payments, and multi-currency payment options.

Advertisement

Moreover, more companies are deploying solutions that combine payments and customer relationship management capabilities. This underscores the pointed interest in facilitation of loyalty, rewards, and coupons aimed at improving customer retention. In regards to the type of payments technology for which merchants are opting, the hosted SaaS model is by far the most popular. In addition, payment service providers that offer omnichannel capabilities are preferred by 37 percent of merchants.

The research found a significant separation between the need for and readiness of omnichannel payment platforms. Most retailers, 42 percent, surveyed had already implemented or are planning to implement omnichannel payment technologies in the next six months, while 29 percent plan on implementing within the next 24 months. Still, another 29 percent have no plans of implementing omnichannel payment technologies.

Hoteliers align with merchants as a whole in the recognition of the importance of an omnichannel payments strategy. However, there are certain considerations that are unique to the hotel owner point-of-view. The availability of multiple payment solutions often is the ultimate decision-maker in the customer’s purchase. At the end of the day, customers want quick, simple, and safe payment options.

Security & Fraud Prevention
For hoteliers, consolidation of their commerce stack, or technologies used to facilitate transactions, is paramount. Multiple technologies present in a hotelier’s commerce stack often add more layers of complication from an operational point-of-view. Fearing data breaches, guests are hesitant to enter their login credentials into a new payment gateway. So it’s imperative that a hotel’s payment gateway is Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant.

Capturing guest information is critical to understanding their unique preferences and personalizing their experience through both in-person and digital channels. The solution to the conflict between security and guest experience is tokenization. With tokenization, hotels aren’t storing sensitive guest payment card details.

According to ACI Worldwide, the top three payment security options evaluated by merchants are tokenization, point-to-point encryption (P2PE), and key management. Tokenization specifically helps connect the guest experience by creating a common token across all channels. In addition, this singular view securely facilitates effortless guest payments made in the future.

There is a shift occurring in the collective approach to fraud prevention: tools that enable valid transactions instead of imposing strict scoring and screening measures that resulted in copious false positives. Hoteliers are realizing that allowing more transactions to process while effectively managing customer disputes that do occur allows them to generate and recover more revenue.

Securing the vastly different in-person, online, mobile, and new channels is challenging. As such, a successful omnichannel strategy needs to consider fraud management along with payment options. With this holistic approach, hoteliers are able to make more effective decisions with better insights. Ultimately, an omnichannel approach maintains the brand equity of your hotel.