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If your business pays travel expenses for your workers, then you’ve likely discovered that traditional credit cards, as well as virtual payments for hotels, can be problematic.
Physical credit cards typically have high limits, and the potential for loss or theft is high. Employees tasked with carrying corporate credit cards with them when they travel could easily lose them. There is also the potential of a data breach where the credit card number could be stolen electronically.
As personal payments gradually shift toward mobile, demand for a credit card that professionals can use from their mobile devices will increase.
Virtual payment cards have been hailed as the future of business payments, but they do come with a few challenges. For professionals checking into hotels, though, virtual payments can confuse front desk workers, making the check-in and checkout processes more complicated. So, here are a few things to know about virtual payments for hotels.
As with other industries, hospitality-based businesses benefit from the increased protection credit cards bring. With a virtual card, a one-time number is issued for each specific transaction. This means that even if a criminal gets a hold of the number, they won’t be able to use it.
Since virtual payments were first introduced, hotels have struggled to make them work within their existing processing systems. Those systems were designed to capture a number and hold it until checkout.
For hotels, the issue is that virtual card numbers are identical to traditional credit card account numbers. The generally 16-digit card numbers make it impossible for a reservationist or front desk receptionist to recognize them as virtual.
When surveyed, 74 percent of hotel respondents say they accept virtual credit cards. However, of the 26 percent of hotels that don’t, the primary reason is that virtual cards do not work with their property management’s existing system. The lack of integration highlights the need for hotels to find a way to adapt to the new technology to avoid losing customers.
This is where hotel payment automation plays a key role.
As virtual payments move into the business travel space, hotels will grow increasingly aware of the importance of reworking their procedures to fit the demand. Virtual payments for hotels are on the rise, and hotels cannot afford to be left behind.
Business travelers spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year at U.S. hotels, and many of them remain loyal to one or two chains. If a business switches to virtual payments only to find that a major hotel chain doesn’t accept them, that company’s employees are likely to shift to a rival brand. And those business travelers will take their annual spending dollars with them.
A few years back, the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association, in coordination with Hotel Technology Next Generation, released a report aimed at moving the industry in the right direction. The report proposed a technical specification that helps direct hotels to include virtual payments as part of the reservation process.
Using this information, hotels can begin to shift their procedures to accept, modify, cancel, and transmit virtual cards throughout a guest’s entire reservation and stay.
Virtual payments for hotels will free professionals to travel without a card. They’ll be able to move from reservation to payment with ease, all with the confidence of knowing their corporate credit card can’t be stolen.
However, a substantial portion of hotels still has difficulty processing virtual payments, bringing a demand for solutions. As a result, there is a great opportunity for hotels to advance and modernize their payment processes. The hospitality industry is already working on setting standards to integrate virtual payments with their existing reservation systems to keep customers happy.
The future will see an increase in virtual payments for hotels as the demand for quick and convenient hotel check-in and payment continues. Hotel payment automation that integrates with the hotel’s or property management’s accounting systems is fast becoming the standard in hospitality and travel.