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Hospitality innovations: Personalized experiences for every guest

In this article you’ll learn about the top 7 innovations in hospitality and how payments can help you improve the guest experience.

March 23, 2023
 ·  6 minutes
Couple ready to check in to a hotel

When the pandemic forced hospitality to a halt, many businesses took the opportunity to introduce new solutions to old ways of working. Hospitality was lagging behind other industries in terms of using the latest technology. Now digital transformation is just around the corner.

Hospitality businesses are optimistic about the future. New hospitality innovations and technological developments are changing the way they serve their guests, presenting a great opportunity to modernize the experience.

Innovations in the hospitality industry

Whether it’s designing a frictionless guest experience, optimizing payment processes, or tapping into new insights, hospitality businesses are investing in digital transformation. Here are a few of the latest innovations in hospitality:

Unified commerce

Unified commerce is the next step after omnichannel. It allows you to build better cross-channel guest experiences. Data from all your channels (online, in app, and on premise) feed into the same system. This allows you to make more targeted, data-driven decisions. It also helps you create more seamless, flexible experiences for your guests. Unified Commerce stabilizes your future. As plans change and the need to pivot arises, you can add new channels and build new guest experiences as needed.

Unified commerce gives you more insights into your guest. If you know where they come from, how often they visit, where they spend, and how they pay, you can understand their needs. This allows your business to better serve them and build guest loyalty.

Businesses that adopt a unified approach and combine their physical and digital worlds to create a fluid, channel-agnostic experience which prioritizes the guest, are the ones that outperform the rest.

Real-time payments data

Consumers expect hotels to recognize, predict, and meet their needs. Businesses that use real-time data insights instead of historic data are able to deliver more personalized and sophisticated experiences.

Hospitality businesses that use payments data can identify where guests come from, how frequently they visit, what their food and beverage preferences are, and use insights to improve loyalty incentives. Yet only 28% of businesses globally use payments data to understand user behavior and improve the guest experience.

Insights unlocked via payments data allow businesses to get a better understanding of their guests, their purchases, and their preferences across every channel and region in real time. Businesses can investigate their guest segments, understand their behavior, and address their needs quicker. This makes it easier to shape more effective service, marketing, and operational strategies for the future.

Guest recognition

Recognizing guests through data allows businesses to create a frictionless loyalty program and reward them without any need for a loyalty card or app. When guests make a payment in an online or physical location, you can automatically recognize them and award them with points, discounts, or a reward.

Hospitality technology innovations

Technology is what drives the hospitality industry and its digital transformation. Here are a few technology innovations to be aware of:

  • Enhanced in-person payments: Offer flexibility with multiple card schemes and payment options. Use the terminal to ask questions and improve guest interactions.

  • Localized checkouts: Present guests with relevant languages and payment methods.

  • Easier donations: Make donating to charities easier for your guests when booking, paying online, or at check in.

Pay at table

Paying at the table, or anywhere for that matter, is a key trend in the hospitality industry. This is all thanks to mobile point of sale terminals (mPOS) that create a flexible experience for both hospitality employees and guests. They allow businesses to accept payments anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection. This means that you can move around freely and meet your guests anywhere, the moment they’re ready to pay.

Android apps create an even more flexible experience and are taking payment and order experiences to the next level. This allows you to take orders (and payments) directly on the payment terminal. It’s an all-in-one device and removes the need for a POS station altogether.

Payment authentication

Implementing baseline guest authentication protocols help reduce fraud. To ensure payments remain seamless and secure, there are additional steps businesses can take without slowing down the online checkout process. The last thing businesses want when fighting fraud is to disrupt the guest experience or block a legitimate guest.

Adyen’s authentication engine uses machine learning to make smart authentication decisions and will suggest 3DS only when necessary. This creates a safe and seamless payment journey for your guests, boosts conversion, and improves the guest experience.


Card-on-file is when a business stores the payment card data with the cardholder's consent. The cardholder can then reuse the details for faster payments in the future.

Card-on-file transactions can create seamless guest experiences and lead to higher performance, better risk management, and new cross-channel experiences for cardholders. To ensure safety in card-on-file transactions, many businesses rely on tokenization.


Tokenization is a secure way to store payment card data. It replaces sensitive personal card data with non-sensitive unique identifiers.

At Adyen, tokenization securely stores guest card data and generates a token that can be used by a business to charge subsequent purchases. Tokens can be used for “one-click” payments for future transactions. This is beneficial to businesses that want to create a smooth flow at the checkout stage.

Oetker Collection are expanding their business globally. They use tokenization to reduce risk while staying compliant in countries and regions where regulations may differ. At their hotel The Woodward, a guest’s personal details are protected from the minute they book by replacing a guests' sensitive data with tokens. Guests can buy drinks, purchase postcards, and book spa treatments without presenting their card, entering a code, or signing a bill.

The next step after tokenization is network tokenization.

Learn how card networks (schemes) offer network tokenization services and how it works.

What’s next for hospitality?

Resilience and adaptability have been key themes in hospitality for the last few years. As new trends emerge, hospitality turns to innovations to keep up.

As guests continue to drive innovation and flexibility, businesses are expected to adapt to their needs and continue to shape whatever comes next.

Digital transformation is a key priority that’s more within reach than ever. More importantly, it’s necessary for meeting guest expectations, driving automation, and staying competitive in the future.

At Adyen, we work with hospitality businesses to support sustainable growth and help them remain at the forefront of this ever-evolving industry. Our payments technology allows hospitality businesses to be nimble and change the way they serve their guests.

Learn how to bring hospitality innovations to your business.

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