‘Welcome back’: The importance of client retention for hospitality merchants

‘Welcome back’: The importance of client retention for hospitality merchants

By Chris Lanckbeen, Global Head Travel & Hospitality – GSV at Worldline

Retaining loyal customers is vital for hospitality professionals looking to increase their revenue. To do this, merchants must acquire omnichannel capabilities to ensure the customer enjoys a seamless payment experience. Payment integration across all systems used in the hospitality industry is also key to client relationships.

Contactless payment methods

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated existing changes in consumer behaviours and thus, driven hospitality merchants to adopt increasingly contactless payment methods. Customers are also increasingly used to having to undertake fewer face-to-face checking in and checking out within the travel process as payment infrastructure allows this to be done digitally with less hassle to the consumer.

All these elements form part of the omnichannel experience. A customer may, for example, start their booking online, either through a phone or another device such as a laptop or tablet, and then complete the rest of the check-in at the hotel desk, or wherever they are staying, in person.

Enabling customer stress-free experience

The hotel should recognise the customer throughout every step and aspect of their stay, including their card details and any individual preferences they may have selected in the past, both at the hotel itself and at another hotel in another location which may be part of the same chain. When abroad, customers don’t want to think about money.

So, if an integrated omnichannel process is implemented by hospitality merchants and the customer has an enjoyable, stress-free experience, this significantly increases the chances they will return, augmenting customer loyalty and in turn increasing revenue.

Therefore, payment capabilities need to be integrated across all online devices including mobiles, computers and tablets. As part of this integration, customers are requesting DCC functionality (dynamic currency conversion) more frequently which means, for example, a Brit travelling abroad can see the price of their accommodation in their local currency (GBP).

Removing OTAs

As lockdown restrictions have been lifted in Europe, it has emerged that consumers are more and more concerned about their holiday destination and conduct their own research as a result, in effect disregarding online travel agencies (OTAs). This is part of an age of increasingly digital-savvy consumers who prefer to remove the OTA element – Thomas Cook’s demise being a good example of this- and get in touch with the hotel to book directly. This further underlines the importance for hospitality merchants to acquire omnichannel capabilities.


Merchants do, of course, need to ensure full compliance with PSD2 and PCI DSS regulations. These standards are a no brainer, can help against fraud attempts and form an important cog of the payments infrastructure for the hospitality industry in the aftermath of Brexit.

Chris Lanckbeen

About the author

Chris Lanckbeen joined Worldline in 2007 with 14 years of experience in business development. In 2017 he was selected  to head up the Global Travel vertical business line and in 2019 the Global Hospitality department was added to his management portfolio.

Chris is passionate about companies and people that work hard and stay ahead of their personal transformation curve by maintaining integrity, ambition and social intelligence. His professional goal is to constantly motivate the dedicated teams that support the needs of our merchants through their individual transformation journey. This includes bringing people, businesses and technology together with a focus on digitalization and facilitation of day-to-day delivery in a post-Covid world.

Prior to his career at Worldline, Chris worked within the payments industry for 14 years with a small Belgian bank acquirer where he held a variety of sales roles.

To find out more about Worldline’s hospitality solution, please visit: WL Hospitality Suite – Dedicated Payment Solution for Hospitality (worldline.com)