January 9, 2024

Unlocking Success: How to Pick the Payment Gateway for Your Hotel

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Are you ready to streamline payments and boost guest satisfaction at your hotel or short-term rental? With so many options available, navigating the world of payment gateways can feel a bit complicated and overwhelming. But fear not, we're here to guide you through the essential considerations and ensure you make the best decision for your hospitality business. 

 

Understanding Payment Gateways

A payment gateway is an eCommerce application that verifies card information, encrypts it, and transmits it to the payment processor in a PCI compliant manner. PCI compliance is a set of security standards that businesses must use when accepting credit card payments and transmitting, processing, and storing the data – so it’s crucial to operating a secure business. 

One way to think of a payment gateway is as a secure path between your guests and their bank accounts. While a payment gateway verifies your guest’s card information, a payment processor submits the payment to the card network or bank for processing. Some payment gateways only work with a set of processors, so make sure you’re cross-checking the processor you have in mind for payment gateway compatibility.   

Data from 2022 shows that 68% of all travel and tourism sales were completed strictly online. This means that if you’re running a hotel, you’ll likely want to take payments in person and for your online reservations. If you want to accept payments for online bookings, a payment gateway is required. With a seamless payment experience, you’ll be able to ensure you aren’t missing out on any bookings and will be empowered to facilitate both online and in-person transactions with ease. 

Choosing the Right Partner

Just like your guest experience, one-size-fits-all doesn't apply to payment gateways. You need a payment gateway solution that complements your business, integrates with your property management system (PMS), fits within your budget, provides excellent support, is compatible with a payment processor that also works for you, and caters to your specific functionality needs.

Here are some key factors to consider while selecting the perfect payment gateway for your business: 

  • PMS Compatibility: An effective way to immediately narrow down your payment gateway selection is to start by checking with your PMS provider for a list of compatible gateways. This will not only simplify your search, but it also ensures smooth integration that will set you up for long-term success. 

  • Location Access: Another simple way to narrow down your search is to check location availability. Does the payment gateway operate in the region(s) where your properties are located? Some payment gateways only work in specific countries, so you need to first ensure it will seamlessly support transactions across all your properties, no matter where they’re located. 

  • Payment Processors: Some payment gateway providers offer processing as well, so you may be able to bundle the services in one place. Other payment gateways only work with specific processors, so you’ll have to choose a payment gateway that’s also compatible with a processor whose features work for you. Consider your desired features, like contactless payments (Apple Pay, QR codes), to choose the best combination. 

  • Features and Functionality: Prioritize features and functionality relevant to the needs of your unique property. Each payment gateway will work with different processors, offering you various functionalities. Hardware compatibility, multicurrency support, secure token storage, contactless payments, and flexible refund options are all important features to consider while picking out your payment gateway. 

  • Support and Resources: Choose a provider that will be available when you need help, night or day. Reliable technical support is crucial, especially when it comes to accepting payments at your hotel. To avoid becoming one of the 73% of consumers that said they’d switch to a competitor after multiple bad experiences, look for payment gateways that offer responsive phone assistance and comprehensive user guides and online tools to help you tackle any issues as efficiently as possible. 

  • Fees and Costs: Stay within your budget. While narrowing down your search, be sure to also compare ongoing and one-time fees like per-transaction charges, implementation costs, subscription fees, and chargeback fees. Choose a plan that fits your budget and offers the functionalities you need without paying for excess features you won’t use. 
Once you’ve completed your research and decided which payment gateway is best for your business, it's time to contact the chosen gateway provider directly to get started accepting payments. If you need help navigating this process, your PMS provider may offer helpful guidance or have a contact at the gateway they can put you in touch with. 

Selecting the right payment gateway is an important investment in your business, but it doesn’t have to be stressful or overly time-consuming. By prioritizing compatibility, features, support, and cost-effectiveness, you'll unlock a seamless and secure payment experience that boosts guest satisfaction and takes your online and in-person hotel bookings to the next level. 

 

Ready to experience the Solonis difference? Sign up for a demo or visit our gateway page to learn how we can tailor a solution for your thriving indoor property.

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