Cashless payments and loyalty programs in hospitality & tourism

It is already known for quite some time that cash is not a preferred way of paying for goods and services nowadays. More and more businesses around the world have decided to eliminate the need of dealing with cash. There are other innovative payment alternatives, replacing the old-fashioned way of paying with cash. The hospitality and tourism industry is no different from the vast majority of businesses changing to cashless payments methods. Travelers don’t feel comfortable when carrying cash during their holidays. Businesses that are part of this industry and not only, will transform usual customers into loyal ones, will increase sales, and improve the overall user experience considerably, if they consider switching to a cashless payment alternative.

Cashless payments and loyalty programs in resorts and hotels

Businesses that are part of the hospitality and tourism environment need to differentiate themselves to achieve the desired customer retention. It is an extremely competitive market, where customers have a variety of options to choose from. For a hotel, it is not enough to provide bed & breakfast, without making additional efforts to create memorable experiences. What if I told you that a simple key card can take on many roles, transforming your usual guests into loyal ones? Let’s take the example of a hotel chain, with several locations around the world. The majority of hotels and resorts, provide their guests with key cards for room access only. However, those cards have the capacity of being used as: payment, entrance to specific areas, bonus, and loyalty cards in any participating location, therefore creating an ecosystem. Besides the great experiences that your guests will benefit from, you will have access to qualified data that can be used strategically. Based on your guest’s behavior and usage, you can market and adapt the available offers accordingly.

It has been proved that among companies using incentives, 79% of them reported a success rate in achieving the established goals . In the case of hotels and resorts, rewarding guests accordingly plays a very important role. The reward can be based on different aspects, such as number of bookings, amount spent within the hotel, referrals and not only. An easy way to make all this information available would be by creating an ecosystem that comes with access to detailed reports, ultimately enabling to differentiate between gold and silver members for example. 

Supporting local businesses by partnering up with hotels and resorts

Hotels and resorts might choose to partner up with different businesses, offering support and contributing to the local economy. Depending on the purpose of your trip, as a tourist, the likelihood of willing to explore the surroundings are very high. For this reason, partnerships with local restaurants, cafes, shops, museums, can positively impact the customer purchase experience. One creative way in which this can be achieved, is by integrating the internal payment system of a hotel or resort with its partners. Guests will have the option to pay with their key card, not only inside the hotel, but at other partner locations as well, therefore expanding the ecosystem. Since all the transactions are recorded, external vendors might be granted access to relevant reports, enabling them to reward their loyal customers on their behalf.

The cashless payments solution that Oveit has put into place can easily achieve the above mentioned for any hospitality and tourism business. There might be times when internet is not available in every location that uses our system. We thought about this scenario and came up with a solution for it. Our technology has the capacity of working both online and offline, meaning that whenever internet goes down, the customer experience and the recorded data won’t be affected at all. We bet that you are asking yourself how we achieved that, but we invite you to find out for yourself!

Closed-loop payments for events and venues

When looking at the continuous development in terms of technology, it is very useful to understand and keep up with what it has to offer. For instance, the swift change from paying by using cash to the other well-known alternative, the credit card, has inspired many innovative minds to enrich and develop payment options, into unique and well-structured forms.

In this article, the focus will shift towards the closed-loop payment process that Oveit has put into place for its users. Its purpose is to explain the process of implementing a closed-loop payment system for a variety of sectors, such as events, hospitality & tourism and retail as well.

The main function of a closed loop payment system is to allow consumers to pre-load funds into a payment device, in our case those would be things such as wristbands, cards and even one’s own face.

To begin with, it is very important to identify the key players for achieving this kind of system.

Those are: 

Top-up points (cashiers)

Depending on the number of attendees, one of our team members can advise on a minimum number of top-up points needed to avoid long queues inside your event. Those points need to be strategically placed (e.g.: at the main entrance, nearby food trucks, and bars). Participants will be using the top-up points during the event to add money into their accounts with a simple tap of their hand. They can choose to add money, either by paying with cash or card at the designated credit points. Prior to the event, the organizer needs to invite users (cashiers) and choose the correct permissions, in this case, it would be ‘Event cashier’. As an event organizer, you will have access to all the financial information, but as a user, the access should be limited accordingly for security reasons.

Vendors

As expected, the credit added should obviously be spent at your event. This is where the vendors come into place. Think of food trucks, bars and any other entities that provide goods and services at your event. From the perspective of an event organizer, the process is very similar to that of creating an account for top-up points (cashiers). An invitation is required to each individual entity providing goods and services (vendors); the only thing that differs is that they would have a slightly different interface, which is designed for selling goods. The vendor will have the option to create a menu and add prices accordingly. The participants will pay for their items with a single tap and even with their faces (Oveit FacePay is our way of processing biometric payments).

Man in front of a food truck

Devices with NFC capability

To achieve a successful closed loop payment system with Oveit, the vendors as well as the cashiers should have Android smartphones with NFC reading integrated. The devices will basically take the role of POS (point of sale system), allowing the users to complete a transaction in a matter of seconds. IOS devices will very soon be able to be used as well in Oveit’s closed loop payment system.

Wristbands/Cards/Face as payment options

The majority of organizers tend to opt for NFC tag wristbands when setting up their event’s closed loop payment system. However, there are two other alternatives that Oveit has to offer and one of them is very innovative. Oveit FacePay function is the method that positively affects the attendee’s payment experience considerably. The transaction is simply confirmed with a smile and a gesture, replacing the need for wristbands or cards. There is also the option of paying with a card that has the NFC chip integrated. Some organizers might decide on choosing this one, for the simple reason that more space is available for placing ads and sponsors on a card.

Stable payment processing (both online and offline)

For achieving a closed-loop payment system, internet connection plays a crucial role. All the transactions that occur during an event require internet to be updated and transferred into Oveit’s system. However, we have managed to find a solution if internet goes down. To avoid this kind of situation, our local devices have the capacity of transferring data into the cloud. In other words, this means that Oveit’s closed-loop payment system has the capacity of working both online and offline.