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HOSPA FD's Dinner With A Takeaway



HOSPA CEO Carl Weldon reports on the findings from the HOSPA Finance Directors’ dinner, sponsored by Barclaycard.


On Wednesday 8th July – in the middle of the London Tube strike – HOSPA hosted a Hospitality Finance Directors Dinner Forum at the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall.


We were joined by 23 hospitality company FDs and FCs to discuss and debate the ’Future of Payments into 2025’. We enjoyed an excellent dinner and then Marwan Farah, Head of Barclaycard Business Design, together with Daniel Goodacre, HOSPA CEO Carl Weldon reports on the findings from the HOSPA Finance Directors’ dinner, sponsored by Barclaycard


Barclaycard Business Design Senior Manager, chaired a lively debate with Finance Directors from HOSPA member companies, debating what the future could hold from both a payments and hospitality perspective. After discussing the current rapid pace of change in both industries, the pair shared their view of the future based on the lessons of the past, looking at how the payment form factor, buying channel and payment experience have all evolved over time.


By considering the next steps in these evolutions, a world where the smart use of internal and external data could allow for more tailored customer services – bespoke menu options, wake-up calls aligned to sleep patterns etc, and frictionless payment journey, was discussed. 


The development of a sharing economy, both for data and assets, might not only create higher customer expectations for service, but also provide new revenue streams for hoteliers – parking spaces for car rental clubs, foyer space for umbrella leasing etc. Finally the evolution of technology was promoted as a way of improving customer experience – mobile-based access/ payment/loyal apps, outsourcing pre-authorisation and associated risks to ID&V specialists.

 

As is always the case with these lively discussions we also focused on the specific challenges that hospitality – and particularly hotels – have with credit cards and the fact that the industry is one of the few left that still effectively gives 24 hours of more credit to its customers. HOSPA member Uwe Haring of Rocco Forte Hotels summarised these challenges in three key areas:


1. Third Party charges


These remain a particular problem for the hotel industry, whereby not accepting them may result in lost business and accepting them results in increased risk.


Validation is difficult, as a stolen card data may not be detected, and the card cannot be "swiped", or is not yet reported as stolen. Chip and Pin approval is not possible as the card will not be present at check in. Increase in Data Protection combined with PCI DSS makes the retention and control of the documents even more difficult. Cloud-based solutions remain very expensive in terms of commission.


2. Credit Card charge-backs 


From a consumer protection side, this is essential, but the card industry remains in the dark ages regarding speed of response from their side, or even the process.


1) They still sometimes require documents by FAX (!) - and will not accept scans.


2) They give the consumer six months to query a charge - but the business only 14 days to respond before automatic charge back occurs.


3) In terms of queries - the codes relating to referral and authorisation are often ambiguous and not clear - and vary by card type.


3. New payment processes


As hoteliers, we have always challenges, but it would be helpful if we were involved as part of the steering group for new payment processes to give input. This is the one of the few businesses where we give credit before the service is given, sometime to the tune of several thousands, and then happily get challenged after that.


Maybe we need to change our mind set, and move with the time, however it is not a defined product like an iPad, but a service and experience industry, hoping to match anticipation and perception of guests with our product and delivery.


Other FDs brought out the issue of the investing in the technology that would enable Hospitality to manage this evolution in technology but prove that the ROI is there. In hotels especially we must recognise the trends in payment technologies and try and grasp them for our best use. 


The group was also very enthusiastic to a suggestion from Barclaycard that we form a small working party or focus group from the delegates on the evening to provide Barclaycard with input and feedback on behalf of the industry.


HOSPA wishes to thanks The Royal Automobile Club for an excellent dinner and service and our appreciation to Barclaycard for sponsoring the event.


If you are a Senior Finance professional in the industry and wish to be invited to events like this then please let us know via the Membership and Events Office.


If you are interested to sponsor and event like this please contact Carl Weldon, HOSPA CEO on carl.weldon@hospa.org


For more information from Barclaycard please contact marwan. farah@barclaycard.co.uk or daniel.goodacre@barclaycard.co.uk

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