Find Out How Merchant Services Can Help Fill Your Hotel’s Rooms with Happy Guests

Hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts of all shapes and sizes know the harsh reality of how an economic downturn can affect the tourism industry. When times get tough, families start tightening their belts and the annual weeklong summer vacation can get put off for another year.

Even in booming economic times, the competition out there is stiff. Even with the best facilities, the finest staff, and the best rates, it can be tough to distinguish yourself from the pack.

One thing that no hotel can afford to do is to offer less than the competition. There are certain conveniences that consumers have come to expect in this day and age, and that extends a whole lot further than just having clean towels in the bathroom.

One of these conveniences is the ability to process whatever type of payment your guests would like to offer. The main way that most people pay for their hotel rooms these days is via a credit card, and if your business can’t process them, your potential client will just find somewhere else that can.

Many hotels, especially smaller ones, have been using the cash only model for so long that they are intimidated to make a change. But a merchant services account tailored specifically to the hospitality industry can benefit your business in ways you may not even have imagined. Here are just a few.

Retail Swipe Terminal

The first thing your hotel business is going to need is a retail swipe terminal at the front desk. This is so people can just come in off the highway, ask for a room, and swipe their cards right then and there.

The nice thing about these swipe terminals is that they have some of the lowest processing fees. Fraud is much less common when people pay in person, so your account provider won’t kill you on the fees.

Most swipe terminals are also able to process debit cards in the same way that they do credit cards. The only difference is that the money is taken directly out of your guest’s checking account. On your end, it works the same. Your account provider will process the transaction and the money will be deposited in your business’s checking account in a few short business days.

Online Reservations

More and more these days, people looking for hotels are inclined to book online. It is far easier to search for hotels in the area they plan on staying and just take care of everything online, all in one step. People are more likely to book with a place that takes online reservations rather than going through the extra effort and calling ahead.

Another nice thing about online reservations is that your hotel will be able to participate in the large hospitality search engines that many people use to find the best rates. Your account provider will assist you with getting all of this set up.

The way cards are processed online is through a secure server that your account provider will help you to obtain. You will, of course, need your own website already set up. Your merchant account will link that up with a convenient gateway to secure credit card processing.

Virtual Terminals

Not everyone makes reservations online, though. Sometimes when you are driving on the road you just look up on your global positioning system where the nearest hotel is. Many of these GPS’s will actually feature your phone number on there as well.

To take reservations over the phone, whether your guests are calling from on the road or from home, you are going to need to be able to take that credit card information down and process it right away.

You can do this easily through a virtual terminal through your merchant account. A virtual terminal is a website you can log onto from any computer and simply punch in your guest’s credit card information. This means you can take reservations from virtually anywhere.

This is extra convenient if you run, say, a campground where you are running around the grounds all day. People can call you up wherever you are and you can punch the information right into the virtual terminal from your smart phone.

Putting it All Together

Many hotels out there offer a whole lot more than just a room to stay in. You might have a restaurant, a bar, a spa, room service, or all sorts of other amenities.

The nice thing about a merchant account tailored to the hospitality industry is that you can easily combine all of these bills onto one tab. If your customer is having a drink at the bar, they can just say “Put it on my room.” Same goes for any other amenity you can think of.

The plain fact is that not only will merchant services improve your hotel business; they will also lead to happier guests who are more inclined to stay with you again. Start growing your hotel’s business today by signing up for a merchant services account that is designed specifically to improve how your hotel operates.