Merchant Accounts for Hotels, Resorts and Other Lodgings

Merchant Warehouse |

December 10, 2010

Merchants operating hotels, motels, resort destinations and other lodgings have recently noted a strong drop in their business volume. The downturn in the worldwide economy over the last year has hurt those with real estate holdings and those who make luxury offerings, such as vacations that require a place to stay. Other industries have suffered equally, and everywhere. But merchants who want to continue to keep their hotel and destination lodging business in the black can do a number of things to support their efforts to come out on top.

Hotel owners know that most people not only like to travel and get away from their daily lives, they sometimes also have to do so for a host of other reasons, such as business trips, weddings, family visits and more. These often require temporary and long-term lodgings. Hotel owners, resort management and vacation destinations that have lived through the ups and downs of various economies know how to read consumer confidence.

There are many varied ways that keep confident travel industry insiders from going into debt and help them stay in business. They often can package deals that cover several aspects of a vacation, including lodging, that allow them to make money amongst the other offerings in the package sold. Since most vacationers do not like to shop around and would like life taken care of for them – at least for a few weeks while on their vacation – this is usually acceptable to customers. A second way for merchants to make money and keep their risks low is to sell wholesale packages to companies that like to give away such things to their employees to increase productivity, build morale and keep the employees happy. As smaller travel agencies pare down or go out of business, online travel brokerages and agencies have taken up the slack, sourcing sought after destinations with the amenities and activities that today’s traveler demands.

Merchant Account a Necessity

Beyond their business practices, one of the most important things that hotel merchants can do to thrive and stay ahead is to sign up for a merchant account that allows for the acceptance of credit cards from their clients.

Hotels, resorts and other lodging businesses have quite unique processing needs that set them apart from other types of merchants operating today.
There are several merchant account providers that offer specialized services for these types of establishments in order to streamline the check-in and check-out procedure, as well as process the guests’ payments efficiently and securely.
With many of these merchant service providers, you will not only be able to accept credit cards, debit cards and checks for payment, you will also be able to process full lodging application data that includes check-in, check-out, folio number, dates and arrivals. Many of these systems provide for both smooth check-in and check-out functionality in addition to the ability to handle multiple authorizations against a cardholder’s credit limit during their entire stay.

Specialized Practices

These tailored merchant accounts may also support front desk point of sale register systems and offer specific lodging applications on stand-alone credit card terminal systems. Do you currently own a credit card terminal or POS system? Often, these service providers can reprogram your equipment free of charge. Let’s say that you currently process credit cards through QuickBooks or other applications. These too can be integrated into the system eventually chosen.

The travel industry is one of the most frequently researched topics online. Whether it’s destination, hotel, flight or packaging, customers can make most of their decisions from home. Internet travel business owners feel the sting every time they read their merchant account statements. Like any industry, there is a risk involved. And like other similar businesses, they can present risk to their merchant service provider.

Chargebacks and Problems

In the hotel accommodation business, there is an inherently high number of chargebacks for several reasons. The lives, plans and needs of customers change regularly and there is always the potential for very real fraud and theft. These and other causes drive a merchant’s discount rate to incredibly high figures. Online travel merchants pay on the high end of the credit card industry. Many times, because of the huge risks, hoteliers can’t become approved for a merchant account. If traditional merchant account providers do allow such an account, it is usually accompanied by heavy fees and the equivalent of a security deposit. If you do wish to seek out an e-commerce merchant bank account, the best course of action is to apply for a high-risk merchant account from international or offshore sources, which can take on a wider range of companies like hotels and travel businesses.

When hotel and lodging merchants batch and process their transactions, it’s usually at a local bank that charges them a high discount rate, reflecting a high-risk business. Some merchant service providers specialize in sourcing banks or banking solutions for various clients. There are a lot of benefits to obtaining a merchant account from a merchant service provider that is this flexible and can provide good options. Such a provider can offer many services that you may either have to pay for or may not have access to at all through your current bank. Some of these services include virtual terminals, third party fraud reduction and high volume account handling. If you’re in the lodging and travel industry and are interested in getting a better rate on all of your credit card sales transactions, contact a few reputable merchant service providers today.