The hotel industry was among the most hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected every sector across the globe. A combination of local lockdowns and travel restrictions during the pandemic forced African hotels to close entirely or operate at a fraction of their available capacity.
This closure (some partial, total, temporary or permanent) led to revenue losses, with earning reports of three of Nigeria's most prominent hotels listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange showing the extent of the lockdown's impact on the financials.
Although the COVID-19 crisis is far from over, normalcy has since resumed and led to the industry's recovery. Occupancies and average room rates (ARRs) have experienced substantial jumps.
To aid the recovery, the industry has had to evolve to navigate the challenges of the still-evolving COVID-19 crisis. Hotels in Africa have made operational changes to adapt to the new normal, including recent payment trends.
These are four payment trends to scale your hotel business in Africa.
- Online payments
There has been a boast in online shopping in Africa since the COVID-19 pandemic. The boom has continued even after the pandemic due to formed habits, with sub-Saharan Africa witnessing a 51% increase in online retail spending. The volume of downloads and installations of e-commerce apps increased on Android and iOS devices, as examples of the growth.
It isn't just in retail. In travel, hospitality and other sectors, online payment is a global trend that African hotel businesses must accept to increase revenue, satisfy customers and aid expansions.
With Fincra, hoteliers can integrate payments with online booking systems and use different methods such as payment links, checkout, virtual accounts and APIs to accept payments. Customers can book online and pay with cards, bank transfers, virtual accounts and Pay with PayAttitude. Different payment options for your guests encourage direct bookings.
- Contactless payment
Social distancing is one of the most significant lifestyle changes caused by the pandemic. Although it's not that stringent anymore, it has increased the trend of contactless payment for all businesses, including hotels.
For in-person payments, cash is no longer king in this business and payments like tap, scan and mobile wallets have become even more popular since the pandemic. In Nigeria, payments through agency banking-like services have also increased.
Fincra has Merchant Collections solutions that provide businesses with point-of-sales (POS) options for payments and collections. Fincra POS lets your hotel customers pay with bank transfers and cards.
- Meet the needs of international travellers
Attracting international travellers is an important strategy for hotels to achieve success. To do this, hoteliers must start by making it easy for international travellers to pay online from anywhere globally or in person.
Accepting payments in different currencies will help your hotel to attract international customers from anywhere in the world. With Fincra's Pay-In, your customers can make payments in EUR, GBP, USD and NGN, making it easier for international travellers to book rooms and services in your hotels.
- Disbursement needs
It isn't just about accepting payments; hotels have a massive need to make payments to a host of partners to run effectively. Hotels need to pay different suppliers to keep the supply chain running.
To meet these needs, hotels must partner with payment companies that can make disbursements easily and quickly.
Fincra has Pay-Outs which allows payments to partners in over 150 countries across Africa, South Asia, South America and the rest of the world through bank accounts, mobile money wallets etc. With Fincra, these payouts are automatic, saving time and cost associated with manual processes.
All-round convenience is essential when it comes to payment in the hotel industry. Convenience influences customer experience, and for hotel guests, convenience starts with making payments online or in person via several channels eliminating waiting time at the desk or reception.
The different payment options that Fincra provides bring flexibility to your guests and automate transactions for your staff to streamline the operational processes.
Making payments easy for your guests improves your customers' experience and, in turn, improves customer loyalty and retention.
The benefits of having Fincra as your payment partner are numerous. Talk to us and get started.