What hoteliers should know about contactless payments
What hoteliers should know about contactless payments
11 SEPTEMBER 2019 1:09 PM

Hoteliers can give guests a more frictionless payment experience by investing in near-field communications technology to enable contactless payments through smartphones and wearable devices. But there are some things they should keep in mind when doing so, according to an HTNG whitepaper.

REPORT FROM THE U.S.—As hotel companies look to make the guest experience more frictionless, some might be apt to incorporate contactless payment solutions built through near-field communications technology.

Because of that, Hospitality Technology Next Generation, a nonprofit group that helps coordinate tech efforts for the hotel industry, put together a whitepaper on the benefits and best practices of contactless payments in hotels. Here are some of the takeaways from that research.

Allows greater guest choice
One of the biggest reasons hoteliers should consider adopting contactless payments and investing in the infrastructure to support is “it allows consumers to choose their own convenient way to pay,” according to the whitepaper. Contactless payment methods, tied to cards or bank accounts, are often done through smartphones or wearable devices such as wristbands and watches.

Because of the way they are structured, they also utilized EMV chip-card technology, which makes the transactions more secure than traditional credit card swipes.

Unique opportunities for hotels
The whitepaper points out there are several unique opportunities to incorporate contactless payments at hotels for creative hoteliers. The most obvious use might be during check in when cards are swiped or dipped for pre-authorization.

The whitepaper also notes contactless payment could be incorporated as one service in self-service kiosks.

“This could include downloading the customer’s room key on the card/mobile device and allowing it to be used to access guest amenities such as the hotel gym or pool area,” the research notes. “With this approach, the customer doesn’t need to carry their wallet throughout the hotel since their card/mobile device can be used for all activities and purchases.”

Other points where payments are made across the hotel can also incorporate NFC payments, including retail outlets, restaurants, spas or even when tipping.

What’s needed to upgrade
There are several changes that need to be made to accommodate for contactless payments on property. According to the whitepaper, the first is in upgrades to the point-of-sale system, but some of the hard work in that regard might already be done.

“In many cases, as part of a merchant’s migration to EMV, the point-of-sale system will already support contactless payments and the contactless functionality simply needs to be turned on to begin accepting contactless cards/mobile devices,” the report notes.

Hoteliers must also make sure gateway providers support contactless transactions and transactions from mobile devices.

People are part of the equations
Once the technology pieces are taken care of, hotels must have well-trained employees who understand how contactless payments work, and they must also follow consumer experience best practices, the report notes.

“While the acceptance of contactless cards/mobile devices is straight forward and familiar to many consumers from experience in other environments, hotel staff still need to be trained on how to assist unfamiliar consumers with their contactless payment,” the whitepapers states.

Guest experience can be streamlined through helpful signage, the report suggests.

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