Hotel Businesses: How to Gain a Loyal Customer Base

Wondering how to gain a loyal customer base in the hotel business? Loyal hotel occupancy has a crucial impact on the business. It will literally make or break the hotel.

First, do you have a solid marketing plan? This is among the most important factors for running any successful business, let alone a hotel. Other factors to consider include the following:

  • Staff – Are they friendly, knowledgeable and well-trained?
  • Amenities – What do you offer that’s different from the other hotels? Find something unique to offer your guests.
  • Curb appeal – How does the property look from the street? Customers return to hotels that are well-maintained, attractive and meticulously clean.
  • Parking – There must be plenty of convenient and easily-accessible parking available.
  • Rooms – They must be tastefully furnished. Fixtures must be modern and always in proper working order.
  • Convenience – Guests must have access to all their favorite conveniences that keep them coming back for hotel visits, i.e., room service, recreation and top-notch housekeeping.

A frequently overlooked factor in the hotel business: merchant services. If you’ve been thinking about starting a hotel or taking your existing hotel to the next level, a merchant account may be the best way to make you and your customers’ lives easier.

If you’d like to accept credit or debit cards at your hotel, you’re going to need a merchant account. The application process is fairly simple, but you will need to show proper documentation proving that yours is a bona fide business. If your business is legit, then this shouldn’t be any problem. This process doesn’t take long, and it’s very much worth it in the long run. If you’re running a hotel that doesn’t accept plastic, then your business is bound to struggle. Every reputable hotel accepts credit/debit cards; yours should too.

So, you’re looking for a merchant services provider. Make sure you go with a reputable company. There are loads of companies out there that provide member services, but not all are created equal. Be sure to read the fine print. Some charge exorbitant fees, many of which are buried deep within the contract language. Always speak to a knowledgeable representative before signing anything. Ask them to tell you point-blank about any fees they charge. They’re required by law to tell you this. Don’t get duped! Also, always ask for their credentials. You want your merchant account provider to be backed by a professional bank with a solid reputation. Make sure this bank is FDIC-insured.

Did you know that there are special credit card terminals that are custom-made for the hotel industry? There are terminals that can store whatever information about guests that you would like to retain. You can program these terminals to put additional hotel charges (such as dining, gift shop purchases, etc.) straight onto the card. This saves tons of time and energy.

Which Hotels Need a Merchant Account?

Every hotel needs a merchant account. Regardless of the size of the hotel, or how much business it does, merchant accounts help boost revenue and help keep customers happy. In this day and age, plastic is accepted almost everywhere. If you own a business, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a merchant account. It just makes good business sense.

Different businesses require specialized merchant accounts to accommodate their payment processing requirements. Is your business one that involves direct, face-to-face contact with customers? Then you’ll need merchant processing equipment that allows you and/or your customers to manually swipe their credit cards.

Online businesses are becoming more and more popular. These businesses require special Internet merchant accounts that allow them to process transactions without the card actually present for the sale. These merchant accounts for online business also protect the business by monitoring payments and ensuring that all customer credit card information is kept confidential and secure.

Whether your hotel reservations are taken over the phone, on the Internet or both, a merchant account not only makes life simpler for you and your customers, but it also lends an extra bit of legitimacy to your operation. The ability to process credit and debit cards becomes ever more essential as day-to-day transactions in every arena, from the grocery store to the doctor’s office, involve less paper money and more plastic. With careful research and informed choices, the decision to accept credit can be a no-brainer.

As a hotel owner, general manager, or controller, you know that smooth money transactions are absolutely crucial to gaining a loyal customer base. That’s why 24-hour credit card processing should be considered one of the most important aspects of your business.