Trending: The latest payment innovations for hospitality operators


Trending: The latest payment innovations for hospitality operators

Mobile phone

Cash payments are clearly becoming a thing of the past, and with most businesses now offering contactless payments, the demand for ‘tap and go’ is on the rise. Apps are the latest payment trend contributing to a smooth and easy guest experience, but what do these apps do? What do they achieve? And should all hospitality businesses be keeping up to date with the latest payment innovations?

We undertook some research last year, in which we asked over 1000 guests for their thoughts on the payment process they receive from hospitality operators. When it comes to the bill, a staggering 49% of guests have had a good experience turn bad, purely from the way in which their payment was handled. 35% of guests revealed that they think the final impression (the payment process) gives a stronger lasting impression that the first impression (the welcome). And with 40% of guests being ‘unlikely’ to recommend a venue to family and friends after receiving a poor payment process, it seems essential that operators take action in streamlining the bill time. It appears that great food and friendly staff no longer cut it alone for today’s savvy guest.

This is where apps can come in handy. Guests are no longer required to catch the eye of a team member to ask for the bill, only for the team member to forget because they are so rushed off their feet. Staff no longer have to fret when guests ask to split the bill – an app can do it all for you, allowing guests to pay at the touch of a button, saving time for both the guest and the restaurant.

Operators such as Pizza Express, Starbucks and Wahaca have innovated their own payment apps. wagamama is the latest chain restaurant to launch its ‘wagamamago’ app, in which consumers can depart the restaurant at any time and pay via the app. Additionally, guests have the option to split the bill with friends by each selecting what they wish to pay for, as well as order extra food delivered direct to their table without having to summon a team member. Guests can also order a free juice upgrade from a regular to a large – a special treat for app holders. According to The Caterer, the new app will save wagamama guests an average of 12 minutes per visit by not waiting for the bill – a significant time saving which would allow operators to fill several more tables a day.

Last year, as part of its app, Airbnb launched some new payment features, offering guests more flexibility. Prior to these changes, guests were required to pay the full cost of stay at the time of booking, however guests can now choose to pay a 50% deposit, allowing them to save up and pay the remainder nearer the time. According to Airbnb, 40% of consumers select this ‘pay less up front’ option, and actually choose higher value bookings because they can now afford to do so. Another new feature is that guests sharing accommodation can each pay their own share of the booking separately, giving guests a stress-free experience, no longer having to round up funds from friends.

Perhaps all hospitality operators should invest in their payment process? Providing guests with a smoother, easier experience will bode well for repeat business. With HGEM’s guest survey and operational assessment offerings, operators can measure all aspects of the guest experience, allowing them to hone in on exactly what their guests want, and take the steps to improve the guest experience as a whole.

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