As a society we are all becoming more and more aware of the fact that we no longer need ‘real’ cash in our pockets. As we move forward with technologies such as touch payments and payments via apps on our phones, let’s explore what this means for hoteliers and what we all need to do to make sure we can accommodate the future of travel.
Cashless travel is a term that we have been hearing for a while. Long gone are the days when you had to make sure you got down to the exchange kiosk or the post office for travellers cheques before we go away on our holidays. These days banks and other financial institutes are having to accept the fact that it is safer, easier and more convenient to travel without the use of paper money.
Visa launched a huge drive this year to convert the world to cashless travel. They undertook what they called the ‘Cashless Challenge’ as reported by business wire. The idea was to send one lucky traveller on a trip of a lifetime using nothing but his Visa card as a means of payment as a way to prove it is possible.
Another part of this challenge was to join forces with global travel partners to offer all their card holders the chance to benefit from cashless travel. One of the travel partners they brought on board was bidroom.com, booking platform and travel community that offers the same hotels as you can find on other OTA’s, but at the best price available on the web. With partnerships like this, Visa is able to offer their cardholders cheap, convenient travel – they offered all their card holders in Europe six months free access to the travel platform. The Visa/Bidroom Europe deal is for the next three years.
Cashless travel options
Visa is not the only company jumping on the cashless travel bandwagon. There are many companies out there offering ways for guests to be able to travel without the worry of having a small mountain of cash in their wallet or bag.
Companies like Revolut are a prime example of the next generation of cashless travel companies that are emerging to give better rates and easier control over what travellers spend their money on. Essentially a pre-paid card, Revolutt has taken it all a step further and offer the chance to use its Revolut card in over 150 countries all at no extra charge.
There are also many insurance companies using the ‘cashless’ idea to sell travel insurance with more convenience. What this means is that they offer a way to buy travel insurance without paying anything up front. It is not a new concept, but it is one that has been improved upon. Now you don’t need to pay anything upfront nor do you need to apply for reimbursement of any claims that you might have to make. It is all done automatically now, taking away the hassle of having to go through forms to get your money back after the treatment etc.
How to prepare yourself for the cashless revolution
We all may think we are aware of what we need to do, but are hoteliers really prepared for cashless customers? There are many things that you might not have in place to be completely cashless. First of all you need to make sure that your hotel has up to date payment machines that not only have contactless payment facilities, but that they are also ready for things like Blick payments.
Companies like Apple and Samsung for instance, also offer their customers the chance to pay through their phones. A lot of banks and financial institutes are also offering cashless payment options, so make sure you can accommodate them too.
The younger generation will just expect you to be able to accept these types of payments and will be bitterly disappointed if you don’t. And with the world of social media and blogging, you will be heavily publically criticised if you do not offer these to travellers.
As cashless travel becomes more and more popular the larger city destinations are ready for this kind of travel. In London, for instance, you can now travel on all public transport in the city using nothing but your contactless payment card. Other cities like Singapore, NYC and Dubai are all ahead of the rest and can accommodate a cashless traveller completely, every step of the way.
So prepare yourself for cashless travel and make sure you are fully up to date with the options available to you. If you are, then you are ahead of the rest. Prepare for the future, but do it now.