Easter guide to safer payment solutions

Once upon a time, owning a bed and breakfast seemed like a great ticket out of the rat race and into a rolling countryside, where friendly explorers could stay at your quaint place.

The reality is that running a hospitality business is tougher than one thinks –your challenges don’t end with an irksome stain on the Persian rug, or blocked toilets. Staying up-to-date with the needs of a modern traveller can be challenging but it is a critical success factor.

In order to tick the “organised” box this Easter – a busy time no doubt for most B&B owners – here is a simple checklist to follow:

Have an online presence

Chances are people are not going to go through the yellow pages to find you.  And they are not going to spend precious time on the telephone making basic enquiries. Most people search for accommodation and relevant information on the Internet.  According to Social Hospitality, having a strong website presence is akin to having a free billboard on the world’s busiest highway.

They offer the following tips:

  • Ensure your website is responsive. Most people these days own a smartphone so a website that scales to mobile devices is necessary and allows people to jump from page to page without having to pinch and zoom.
  • State the essentials – accommodation types, prices, breakfast times, office hours, and payment methods.
  • Ensure people can book and pay online in a secure and safe way. Look for an e-commerce provider that can help you accept payments online.

Be equipped to accept all kinds of payments

Many B&Bs expect full payment from their clients via EFT prior to arrival. This blog has suggested enabling people to book and pay through a safe online portal. But what about walk-in customers?

In order to ensure you cater to all customers ensure you have a mobile point of sale device that allows customers to pay with a credit or debit card.

There are a range of card terminals you could choose from but a terminal that allows you to accept credit and debit card payments through your cellphone is a great option for many small business owners.

For instance, with Paycorp’s new innovative mobile POS, ZipZap, you can pair the card reader to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. An app can be downloaded for free from your phone’s App store. A transaction is initiated and your customer uses the reader to swipe their magstripe or insert their chip and PIN card to make a secure payment.

Entice people: offer a special or incentive

Rewarding people is a sure-fire way to increase your customer base. Consider offering a discount to those that book and pay online. Or perhaps, run a competition for a night or two of free accommodation: people enter by submitting their email addresses. The more contact details you receive from people the more leads you generate for your business.

Make sure third party accommodation booking sites are reputable

Booking through online third parties is popular, because people are able to compare accommodation prices and other information.  It often makes business sense for you to list on these sites.

Entrepreneur.com offers the following advice:

“Outsourcing pieces of your business to third-party vendors can be tremendously beneficial if executed correctly. To minimise risks, remember to anticipate their process and adjust your methods to streamline working with them, get the third party sales rep in your corner, and take responsibility if a client is unhappy due to a vendor’s actions (or inactions).”

Hopefully these tips will make this busy time easier and more lucrative for you because you have heeded the needs of a modern traveller.

Image credit: VerySpatial