As more South Africans become fully vaccinated, families across the country are finally able to begin planning holidays. Airlines are again open for bookings and creative agencies are collaborating with one another to help promote South Africa as a desirable destination. With all these encouraging signs, the time is ripe for our hospitality industry to find new ways of reaching their future guests.
DPO South Africa takes a look at how local venues can maximise their opportunity, minimise their risks and inject some much-needed sustainability into their businesses.
According to Stats SA’s Tourism 2020 report, foreign arrivals dropped by 71% from just over 15.8 million in 2019 to fewer than 5 million in 2020, and those venues which managed to survive the last year are looking for ways to quickly make up the lost revenue.
This means carefully managing cashflow; maximising venue capacity; ensuring available rooms are filled; making sure canceled or no-show rooms are returned to the inventory and re-booked as fast as possible; and finding ways to minimise non-payment and fraud.
Your payment partner, DPO South Africa, has eight top tips to help you achieve these goals:
- Use payments to boost affordability – The whole country has had a rough pandemic. While many families have been using the enforced time at home to save money, far too many of us have faced lost income on some level. Make sure you offer credit card payment facilities. This will allow guests to use their budget facility and pay for the stay over an extended timeframe. Similarly, consider a solution like Mobicred, which offers customers the option to borrow money at a low-interest rate, so they can pay off their holiday over an extended period.
- Choice is king – South Africans are quickly adopting alternative payment options such as QR code payments like Zapper and mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, and even connecting their wallets to their smart watches. Be sure to cater to all of these. Not only will it boost your customer experience, but it positions your brand as forward-thinking in the minds of your customers.
- Pay by link – Other digital payment offerings to be aware of include virtual point of sale machines. You could also send your customer a link in an email or invoice or via an electronic bill (. By simply clicking on the link, customers can complete a payment via a secure payments page. These options are particularly effective for final room-service or other bills that may go unpaid due to early checkout. Simply sending an invoice with a link will allow easy settlement, while avoiding awkward phone calls and protecting your valuable guest relations.
- Alternative options – Some customers don’t have credit cards. Make sure you offer an instant EFT option such as SiD Secure EFT which allows them to make a payment straight from their bank accounts. It works exactly like an old-school bank transfer, but it’s immediate.
- Cater for the world – While international travelers are still few, this will soon change as the world gets vaccinated. Make sure you can receive payments from anywhere. Currency converters such as PayFX display prices in multiple currencies and, when the customer pays, the currency conversion is done upfront, but the payment will reach your account in rands. What’s more, there’s no holding period and international payments will reach your account in the same amount of time as local ones – significantly reducing your risk and allowing you to return your rooms to your inventory if there is a problem.
- Virtual PoS – When customers phone to make a reservation, both small and large establishments can take payments with a virtual point of sale machine..
- There’s software for that – The seamless integration of all of these payments into booking engines linked to a good property management system means hotels, lodges and resorts can easily reserve funds as well as record and store the details of rooms that have been booked.
- Payment value-adds – some payment methods come with built-in loyalty programs. Be sure to use them (as an addition to your own if you have one already) to better understand your customers’ behaviour. These data insights are marketing gold and can help you design future digital marketing campaigns, giving your venue a real advantage in what will be a very competitive market.
DPO South Africa has some of the most sophisticated digital security available. More than just ensuring your payments are processed securely, we offer world-class fraud detection, giving you the peace of mind to get on with growing your business.
Our payment offerings include a wide array of back-office support, including easy-to-use reconciliation and account management.
We also offer developers extensive support ensuring your digital team can quickly and easily integrate our payment solution into your website. Our support team is always available to deal with any queries or technical issues, ensuring you can take payments around the clock, from any country.
Here’s to the open road
Before the devastation of the pandemic, the South African tourism industry accounted for 4.5% of the country’s total employment and 3% of our total GDP. While nobody can predict the future, DPO South Africa knows just how resilient South Africans are. We have every confidence that our hospitality, travel, and tourism sector will once again regain its reputation as the gem in our economic crown.
Please reach out if you have any questions or would like to know more about how our team can help your business prepare for the post-covid opportunity.