Hotel collections management: a new opportunity for the direct channel

Billing management is often a major problem for most hotels. It takes more and more time and resources, and is also a source of customer complaints. In addition, chargebacks from customers involve more administrative work and are usually very frustrating.

The lack of flexibility in the configuration of chargeback policies, coupled with the absence of automated tools that facilitate the collection of guaranteed credit card bookings, means that hotels have to work with manual processes that are not very secure and also do not comply with current regulations on card processing and payment services.

At this time, it is more important than ever for hotels to be flexible in the payment of prepaid reservations and to advance the collection of credit card reservations.

To do this, they need a tool integrated with their sales systems that complies with current regulations and helps to automate the collection process and offers a positive differentiation by offering more flexible payment methods that attract the customer to the direct channel.

1. More flexible payment methods

ePayments Manager enables hoteliers to improve the collection management of their customers’ direct channel bookings, as it enables the splitting of payments, offering more flexible payment methods to customers and integrated with the revenue strategy aimed at benefiting direct channel bookings.

Strategies such as offering a first payment of 10% of the reservation at the time of booking for reservations with a lead time of more than 60 days, and the remaining payment 15 days before the customer’s arrival at the hotel, can be very beneficial for the direct channel. The system also allows you to do this on a per-amount basis and different conditions can be applied per rate.

2. Better cash flow in your direct channel

One of the classic payment methods for the direct channel has always been “pay at the hotel”. Even when we set up non-refundable rates, collection is often executed on the arrival date.

A more flexible and automatic collection system allows for earlier collection, improving the hotel’s cash flow. Establishments will be able to define not only the amount to be collected at the time of booking or the next day, but also what other amounts and on what dates prior to arrival will be collected. This will facilitate the inflow of cash prior to the customer’s arrival at the hotel.

For example: if the customer anticipates 20% of the amount at the time of booking and the remaining 50% 15 days prior to their arrival at the hotel, we will have 70% of the booking collected prior to the customers arrival at the hotel. We could also of course decide to have 100% of the reservation collected prior to arrival and we could do it the day before arrival. 

3. Easier payment: implies better conditions in the direct channel and a better conversion.

This can be another great opportunity to differentiate the direct channel from other booking channels. Semi-flexible or non-refundable rates are not only cheaper for the customer (as in other channels), but also our customers will see that they have better payment conditions for these rates.

This differentiation will help us to increase the conversion rate of prepaid bookings in the direct channel, offering a more flexible and attractive payment method for the customer, with different payment moments or pay days, as the check-in date approaches.

In addition, ePayments Manager makes it possible to decouple the time of booking from the time of payment, increasing the conversion rate of prepaid bookings by reducing friction and eliminating the need for online payment at the time of booking.

4. Designed to simplify the hotel’s payment collection process.

The direct channel collection management operation is not only tedious and time-consuming, it is also often complex, as it requires tracking of payments made, card claims, etc.

Now, the hotel’s prepayment management operation is significantly streamlined, since not only does the system automatically launches collections on the planned date, but it also allows returns or refunds with a click or even replacing the credit card of the reservation in a very agile way in case of denied transactions.

ePayments Manager can be used in manual monitoring mode or in automated mode, so that all collections are triggered on the scheduled date (pay days), thus streamlining collection management, improving the efficiency of the process and saving hoteliers time and effort.

For example: the staff in charge of managing collections will not need to type credit card data by hand to launch each collection of a reservation, as these will have been automatically managed through the tool, streamlining all hotel operations.

5. Increases security and reduces the risk of fraud

ePayments Manager is integrated and supported by the main payment platforms that strictly comply with current PCI DSS and PSD2 security standards. These standards aim to increase payment security and protect customer data.

Tokenization is a system that allows the customer’s credit card number (the PAN number) to be converted into a code made up of numbers that is used during the transaction to replace the PAN. ePayments Manager can launch transactions without the need to access the credit or debit card number to execute collections or refunds, and the customer’s data remains protected during the online transaction.

In this way, not only does the system take care of the scheduled chargebacks, but hotel staff will not need access to credit card numbers, which increases the level of security.

Finally, the system helps to reduce cash payments at the hotel reception desk, which always means peace of mind.

In short

ePayments Manager is a very interesting system not only for hotel customers who will benefit from more flexible payment methods, but it is also very attractive for hotels, as it helps them to improve the profitability of the direct channel, increasing payment security, introducing automatic payment management and offering formulas to differentiate it from other booking channels.

Laura Oliver BeltránJune 9, 2020