Modern hotels are multi-facility complexes offering far more than somewhere to stay. With spas, restaurants, bars, casinos, conference centres, nightclubs and various other services on offer, there are substantial numbers of financial transactions taking place. When many of these involve cash purchases, problems arise and this is why there is a growing shift toward cashless environments in the hotel industry. Here are seven reasons why cashless payment systems have become so popular.
- Faster service
No guest likes to be kept waiting in a queue and the longer it takes, the more dissatisfied they become with the service. If comments about long, slow-moving queues keep appearing in online reviews, this can lead to a reduction in new visitors to the hotel.
A cashless payment system speeds up service because it eradicates the need to handle cash. Customers don’t need to count it out, there’s no need to put it into a till and there is no change to be given. As a result, service can take place far quicker, improving customer satisfaction and enabling staff to serve more customers or get on with other work.
- Dispenses with the need for a float
If a hotel accepts cash, they’ll also need a cash float for every till in order to have change to give to customers. It can be a cumbersome daily task checking that each till has the right number of notes and change and will no doubt mean regular trips to the bank when stocks of low-value coinage run low.
A cashless system means there is no need for any float and all the time spent setting these up every day can be put to better use.
- Stops the need to count the takings
Hotel staff can spend an inordinate amount of time tallying up cash takings and it’s also a task that gets unnecessarily replicated. The bar manager will tally up before taking it to the finance office and the finance staff will double check to make sure the bar manager got the figures right. On top of this is all the time needed for bookkeeping.
When a cashless payment system is used, there is no cash to tally and the bookkeeping can be automated. In addition, the figures are always 100% accurate and finance staff workloads are dramatically reduced – indeed, there could be a reduction in the number of finance staff needed.
- Eliminates the risks of using cash
Handling cash comes with a number of risks. It can get lost, mislaid or stolen, staff can accidentally hand out too much change or be accused of not giving enough, and in the worst case scenario, people can get hurt if someone attempts a robbery. It can also go up in smoke if there is a fire or be destroyed in other disasters.
Hotels that do not accept cash payments do not face any of these risks and can never fall victim to them. The other good news is that reduced risk means smaller insurance premiums.
- Provides secure refund management
While hotels don’t have a problem with issuing guests with refunds, they do need to be carefully managed. An unscrupulous guest complaining about poor service may try to get a cash refund from several members of staff or badger inexperienced staff into giving a refund when there is no genuine reason for one.
With a cashless payment system, password control ensures that only those with the authority to give refunds can do so – and once a refund is given, it is logged on the customer’s account. This prevents it from being duplicated and flags up those customers who make a habit out of getting refunds.
- Offers data-rich insights
Cashless payment systems log every transaction that is made, providing essential data on who buys what and when. This gives hotels the opportunity to better understand their customers and the services they offer. Potential insights include:
- Popular and unpopular services (menu items, casino games, spa treatments, etc.)
- Spending habits of different groups of people (couples, family groups, business users, etc.)
- Guest behaviours at different times of the day, week and year
- The seasonal popularity of different services
With all this information available, it can help hotel managers transform their hotel, replacing unpopular services with better offers and making it a more attractive place for customers to visit.
- Gets rid of dirty money
The last thing any hotel needs is a health scare. Instances of customers getting sick through food poisoning or stomach bugs can result in poor hygiene ratings, hotel closures and disastrous publicity that can cause long-lasting reputational damage.
Unfortunately, the handling of cash can vastly increase the risk of staff and guests getting sick. Well publicised analysis of notes and coins have shown that they are covered in microscopic organisms. A typical bank note has over 26,000 bacteria, with one in seven containing faecal matter. Even a £1 coin has more germs than the average toilet seat. What’s worse, in the UK, 89% of people don’t wash their hands after handling money.
When customers pay with a smart card, waiting staff won’t be picking up these germs on their hands and transferring them straight onto customers’ plates, glasses and cutlery.
Using a cashless vending system and issuing guests with smart payment cards, such as those from Universal Smart Cards, can bring many benefits to hotels. A cashless environment improves customer satisfaction, reduces workload, eradicates financial and health risks and provides essential data to drive the business forward.