The rise in use of mobile devices among travelers naturally has led to the popularity of mobile bookings and the creation of websites which enable users to book via mobile. A further progression of this trend and natural evolution in technology is mobile payments. Travelers are now using their mobile devices to not only search for and book, but pay as well for their hotel accommodations. Hotel guests use their mobile devices largely for convenience sake while traveling. The customer expectation now is for hotels to meet their needs through convenient connection with them on their chosen devices.
Concerns over security have kept consumers from adopting mobile payments in the past, but this is now rapidly changing. Mobile payment adoption is really taking off with the trend being led by the restaurant industry. This is largely since the appearance of Apple Pay in late 2014. Another issue has been the many competing payment platforms, with a winner yet to emerge into the standard. The form of mobile payments which has proved most popular is the “mobile wallet.” Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Wallet/Android Pay are clearly the leaders in this technology, but there are other popular platforms as well, and it is conceivable that consumers may want to continue to have choices. Hotels would be wise to adopt several platforms in order to be responsive to the needs of their guests.
There are a number of advantages to be gained by hotels that offer mobile payments to their guests. Not least of which is the satisfaction of hotel customers as a result of the improved guest experience. Hotel guests can avoid having to wait at a front desk counter for payment, either at arrival, departure, or for any additional hotel services they may purchase. Furthermore, mobile payment streamlines the process for mobile check-in and room key access, another growing customer expectation of hotels. Highly beneficial for hoteliers are the implications for building customer loyalty as well. Hotel loyalty programs can be fully integrated with the mobile wallet systems of their customers and rewards can be directly sent to the guest’s mobile device.
The hospitality industry should incorporate the necessary technology to enable the processing of mobile payments for hotel guests. Research has shown how the number of travelers carrying mobile devices that are loaded with mobile wallet apps are steadily on the rise. The excellent customer service of this new technology can result in higher guest loyalty, which should be motivation for hotelier to implement mobile payments.
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