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Four Ways Hotels Can Enhance Customer Experiences with Online Payments

Travelers are looking for payment options that are secure, flexible, varied and simple.
6/14/2023

In today’s modern world, hotels must stay on top of trends and consumer habit statistics to ensure that they are offering the most user-friendly experiences. By offering a service that meets the needs of their target customer base, hoteliers can be certain that not only are their customers left satisfied, but also to increase conversion rates and the number of bookings. According to a SaleCycle survey, the travel and hospitality sector has one of the highest rates of cart abandonment at a staggering 81.7%, which suggests that current, often antiquated systems may not be effective, and strategic steps must be performed to improve.There are multiple ways to enhance the customer reservation journey from beginning to end, but the main factors have to do with the payment process. 

Offer a Variety of Payment Options

While card payments are still the standard around Europe, alternative payment methods are on the rise, with digital wallets experiencing the most prominent growth, with a 2022 analysis performed by Juniper Research predicting that over 60% of the global population will be using this option by 2026. Digital wallets are, however, not the only option available to tech-savvy customers, with mobile payments, open banking, virtual cards and other innovative methods becoming more commonplace. Offering a variety of payment options will enable customers to pay in the way that is most convenient to them and will also make it less likely that potential clients leave the payment page due to not being able to find their preferred option. This is vital, as research suggests that 71% of consumers are likely to abandon a cart if their method of choice is not listed. Similarly, this year PayPal found that 59% of online merchants have seen customers frequently abandon shopping carts when this occurred, with digital wallet users being one of the most loyal, with almost half of the respondents saying they were likely to abandon their purchase when e-wallets were missing from checkout.   

Simplify the Payment Process

The payment process must be as simple as possible to ensure a lower rate of booking abandonment, while also communicating vital terms and conditions, to ensure the customer faces no difficulties and is well informed. Difficult and long payment processes are consistently among the top reasons potential customers will stop their payment journey early, with straightforward one-page checkout systems statistically showing the best results with an added conversion rate increase of up to 21.8% according to ElasticPath. Although consumer information should be gathered, it is crucial to make sure that it is clear, user-friendly, and intuitive in order to prevent bookings from being abandoned and guarantee customer pleasure. If you provide customers with quick, straightforward payment options that save them time when making reservations, customers may perceive your hotels more positively than those of your competitors.

Enhance Security Features 

A secure looking website and checkout page are important in the attraction and retention of customers, as users will not input their payment data into a page that doesn’t seem safe. According to research by Stanford University, 75% of a website's perceived legitimacy is based on design components like functionality, location transparency, social proof, and user reviews. Customers value them more than any other aspect, such as copywriting and branding. A poor site design, according to 48% of clients, indicates a lack of credibility. In addition to that, fraud is one of the biggest problems the hospitality industry is currently faced with, with statistics from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners 2022 Report on Occupational Fraud suggesting between 5-6% of annual revenue is lost due to fraudulent activities. Ensuring that the website is easy to use and looks legitimate will help increase customers’ desire to proceed with the booking, while the implementation of innovative anti-fraud solutions, such as graph analysis, will help protect the business from losing potential income. 

Flexible payment plans

Travel and hospitality services are often on the more expensive side, which makes booking holidays and hotel stays more difficult for some consumers. Offering customers flexible payment plans, such as installment payments, Buy Now, Pay Later options or deferred payment opportunities, gives users more control over their payment schedule and makes it easier for them to budget their expenses. Not only does this ensure that a wider range of customers are able to gain access to these services, but it also helps hotels with conversion rates. Businesses that offer payment plans as a payment method to customers see an average 20-30% increase in conversion based on findings from RBC Capital Markets. In addition, it could encourage travelers to even spend more, with 2022 research from PhocusWire indicating that almost 70% of customers were likely to spend more than usual with BNPL.  

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Harry White is a Senior Sales Manager for Travel at Ecommpay. Harry has extensive experience working with major travel and hospitality brands helping provide them with innovative fintech solutions that are built for the industry. 

 

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