Improving Your Hotel Business: How Merchant Services Can Fill More Rooms

When the economy goes down, it can spell trouble for the hospitality industry. Families that have to cut back on their finances are going to trim down their vacation time. Businesses that send people out on the road and around the country to conferences have to scale back as well. Hotel businesses from the largest national chain to the smallest bed and breakfast all end up feeling the strain. One way that your hotel business can survive in these, or any, tough economic times is by signing up for a merchant services account. Merchant accounts can do a world of good for your hotel business by designing a program specifically for businesses in the hospitality industry.

Paying at the Front Desk

The most common way that merchant accounts help just about every business is through credit card processing. When you first sign up for your account you are going to have to make sure that you have a business bank account. This is so that after your merchant account provider has processed the credit card information, it can be deposited into your account. Retail swipe terminals are one of the most common ways that businesses of all stripes process credit cards. You will definitely want one of these for your hotel business so that people can just roll in the front door, ask for a room, and pay on their credit card. The nice thing about retail swipe terminals is that they carry some of the lowest credit card processing fees in the business. This is because credit card fraud is far less common when people deal with each other face-to-face. Because of the minimal risk, merchant account providers charge a minimal fee. With a retail swipe terminal, you can process debit cards just as easily as credit cards. The only difference is that the money is taken directly out of your customer’s checking account. On your end, everything works pretty much the same.

Online Reservations

Online reservations are another way a merchant account can help to grow your hotel business. The plain fact is that more and more hotel reservations are made online every year. Even if your hotel already has a website, your customers may be turned off if they actually have to call after looking up your information on the web. In today’s modern age, people expect to be able to take care of everything in one fell swoop. When they log onto your website and see that you have rooms available, they want to be able to punch in their credit card information then and there and not have to worry about it until they show up. A merchant account provider can set it up so that once your potential guest has booked his or her room, they can enter their credit card information into a secure website and all of their information will be safely transferred to your merchant account provider. Still, your account provider knows how the hospitality industry works. They understand that cancellations happen. That is why they will quickly and easily be able to void transactions if necessary. You will just have to work out what your cancellation policy is with your specific account provider. They will be more than happy to abide by the rules of your establishment.

Virtual Terminal Solutions

People make hotel reservations in a lot of different ways and your establishment should be able to accept them all. When someone calls in, faxes, or e-mails you to reserve a room, you can still process their credit card information. Your merchant account provider will help you set up a virtual terminal that can be accessed through any computer that is hooked up to the Internet. All you do is log onto the secure server, punch in your customer’s credit or debit card information, and the funds will be transferred over to you. One of the greatest conveniences of these virtual terminals is that they can be accessed from anywhere. If you run a campground and your house is a few miles away, you can still take reservations over your cell phone and punch in the information right on your home computer.

Combining Tabs

Odds are that your hotel offers a whole lot more than just a bed to sleep in. Many hotels have bars and restaurants, spa treatments, room service, and on down the line. Your merchant account provider will make it seamlessly easy to add all of these things onto one bill and one card. Your customers and your staff will be thankful for the ease of processing. Don’t let all the hard work you put into your hotel business go to waste because you missed the bus on a merchant services account. There are plenty of options out there that can help hotels of every shape and size grow and prosper in the future. Sign up for your hospitality industry merchant account as soon as you can.