High-touch and high-tech: How hospitality brands can have it all
After the stagnation of lockdown and working from home, people around the world are longing to travel. To finally step through the doors of a chic hotel, sip cold drinks by the pool, and stare at strange skylines from cloudlike beds.
While we were dreaming of sweet escapes, European hotel chain mk | hotels used the inability to travel to their advantage: digitizing operations and perfecting their processes to deliver a new hospitality experience.
We spoke to Arno Sonderfeld, Managing Director of mk | hotels about meeting guests' evolving expectations with the help of partnerships and optimized payments.
Payment processing isn't always at the top of your prioritization list when you're a hotelier. But regardless of whether you run a modest boutique or a worldwide chain, there are multiple touchpoints for payments during a guests' visit: from booking online and checking in to ordering room service, enjoying the hotel bar, and checking out.
You also have to consider that payments can become complex when operating in multiple countries. There are various local regulations to consider: numerous partners, mismatched technology systems, and cultural nuances, to name but a few.
But with the right technology partners, hotel payments can be a breeze. Connect your guests' various touchpoints, and payments can become a key differentiator between you and your competition.
mk | hotels is a leading example of a successful digitization strategy in the hospitality industry. The relatively young hotel chain already operates over ten hotels across Europe and delivers modern service and high-quality rooms in central locations.
“We want to offer our guests the most pleasant payment experience possible for their stay in the hotel - from booking online to checking in at the hotel to checking out with ease,” says Managing Director Arno Sonderfeld.
As is common in hospitality, mk | hotels relies on the expertise of specialized technology partners to ensure that day-to-day operations run smoothly and guests have a relaxing, memorable stay.
“We spent a long time looking for suitable software that could interface with all of our other hospitality partners, from kiosk providers and mobile check-in solutions to our hotel management software, and we finally discovered Adyen as the right choice for us.”
Adyen’s single payments platform provides the control and flexibility needed to integrate with a wide variety of systems, all in one centralized place. This provides the perfect foundation for mk | hotels to make the most of its expert network of partner services.
Together, these services help to support hotel staff, simplify daily processes, and increase guest satisfaction. Having digitized operations in place is especially valuable when adapting to unexpected change, such as when COVID-19 related hygiene measures and social distancing rules must be observed.
Smooth communication is crucial to a relaxing hotel stay, even before a guest arrives. This is where HERA comes into play. The digital assistant for hotel reservation staff supports mk | hotels in responding to incoming emails. This enables the hotel chain to automatically send offers and confirm bookings with just a few clicks, and securely receive or directly charge credit cards.
The next important point of contact during a hotel stay is check-in. In addition to check-in at the reception, mk | hotels offer guests multiple check-in options such as a mobile check-in via phone or a self-serving kiosk, all developed in-house.
Code2Order enables guests to have a seamless experience by offering check-in and checkout via smartphone. This solution provides a fully automated check-in process in which hotel guests enter all relevant data on their devices.
A crucial piece of the hospitality puzzle is using an efficient property management system (PMS). mk | hotels trusts the expertise of protel, a PMS provider that supports hotels worldwide by empowering staff with smooth processes, helping them deliver a pleasant and personalized experience for guests.
"By providing technology that is easy to use, staff spend less time behind a computer and more time in person with guests getting to know them better."
Adyen and protel provide technologies to elevate the stay of every guest. Travelers can conveniently pre-authorize their payment cards when they check in, so that follow-up payments for additional services during their stay, such as room service or restaurant bills, can easily be debited from the card. In this way, guests can fully enjoy their stay without worrying about different bills, as they can pay at the end of the trip or whenever they wish.
“The instant prepayment and authorization feature is great for hoteliers,” says de Weerd.
“Offering guests the opportunity to check their bill at any time, ask questions and settle the bill via their mobile phone contributes significantly to our overall goal of creating guest experiences that are seamless and stress-free.”
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