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Payment processing systems for your hotel: what’s the best way to deal with online bookings

Marina Miceli

14 Apr, 2023

Online bookings are a crucial part of the hotel industry these days. Most hoteliers have long since recognised their importance and it’s become increasingly more of a question of seeking the best ways to receive them. One of the most important aspects of taking online bookings is the process of reserving and paying a deposit or indeed the full fee. Ideally this process ensures a hotelier receives payments in advance and guarantees the guest a room.  

In this article we will explore:

  • The best ways for hoteliers to accept online bookings, including OTA, website, and metasearch.
  • The importance of understanding the hotel payment processing systems, reservation agreements, and reservation fees. 

 Additionally, hoteliers should be aware of reservation agreements and how they can protect their business. Reservation fees are a significant aspect of online bookings, and hoteliers should understand how to set them and when to charge them.

Hotel payment options to process online bookings

Hotel payment options to process online bookings have become a critical component of the hospitality industry. As hotels strive to meet the ever-increasing demand for online bookings, they offer convenient and user-friendly online booking options through their websites or third-party booking platforms. To ensure seamless payment transactions, hoteliers rely on hotel payment processing systems like online payment gateways, virtual wallets, or digital wallets. 

These systems provide a secure and efficient way for hotels to process online bookings and collect payments from guests, while also offering convenience and flexibility for guests to make payments in whatever way suits them. With the landscape of online payments expanding constantly having multiple payment options in hotels has become an indispensable part of the modern hotel industry. The needs of tech-savvy travellers simply must be catered to and the fact is they prefer the ease and convenience of booking and making payments online.

What are any three modes of payment accepted by hotels?

Hotels usually accept multiple modes of payment to cater to the diverse needs of their guests. Apart from cards, hotels usually accept cash (although cash payments are excluded in this case), traveller’s checks, bank transfers, or even digital payment methods like mobile wallets or cryptocurrencies. That said, the acceptance of these payment modes may vary depending on the hotel’s policies and location, so it’s best to check with the hotel directly for the payment options they accept.

Cash payments are excluded 

As a hotelier, it’s crucial to select and implement efficient hotel payment processing systems to streamline payment procedures and ensure a seamless experience for guests. These payment systems may include online payment gateways, mobile payment solutions, point-of-sale (POS) systems, or other payment processing platforms that are secure, reliable, and compliant with industry standards. 

By using effective hotel payment processing systems, hoteliers can efficiently manage and process payments from guests, reduce payment errors, and enhance overall guest satisfaction.

How does the reservation rate work?


The reservation rate is a payment made by the guest to the hotel to secure a room reservation. This sum of money ensures that the guest has a confirmed booking and that the hotel has guaranteed revenue. Reservation rates are usually charged when the guest books directly with the hotel, and they vary depending on the hotel’s policies.

When the guest makes a reservation, the hotel will require them to pay a deposit or a percentage of the total reservation cost. This deposit is non-refundable and ensures that the hotel has secured the booking. The remaining balance is typically paid upon arrival or departure.

Reservation rates are a significant part of the reservation money process. They ensure that the hotel has a guaranteed revenue stream and that the guest is committed to their reservation. Hoteliers need to ensure that their reservation fee policies are clearly communicated on their website and in their reservation agreements.

Reservation Agreement

A reservation agreement is a legal contract between the hotel and the guest. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the reservation, including the reservation’s full rate, cancellation policies, and any other pertinent information.

The reservation agreement protects the hotel from any potential legal disputes and ensures that the guest understands the hotel’s policies. It also ensures that the guest is aware of any penalties for cancelling their reservation or failing to show up.

When creating a reservation agreement, hoteliers need to ensure that it is clear and easy to understand. They should also ensure that it complies with all relevant laws and regulations. The reservation agreement should be provided to the guest at the time of booking and should be easily accessible on the hotel’s website.

Reservation rate

Reservation rates are an important aspect of online bookings. They ensure that the hotel has guaranteed revenue and that the guest is committed to their reservation. However, it is essential to understand when to charge a reservation deposit and how much to charge.

Hoteliers should consider charging higher reservation rates for high-demand periods or when they anticipate a high volume of bookings. This ensures that they have secured revenue and can manage their inventory effectively.

When setting reservation rates, hoteliers should consider the competition in their area and the level of demand. They should also ensure that their reservation deposit and rates are competitive and not too high, as this can deter guests from booking.

Which are the ways to receive online bookings? 

Website direct bookings

Hotel websites offer a direct and personalised booking experience for guests. As a Hotel manager, you should enhance and invest in your website, which should be attractive, SEO-optimised and, above all, must have an integrated booking engine, to give your guest the possibility to book directly there. Booking Engines allow hotels to showcase their unique offerings and provide guests with detailed information about the property where they will spend their holidays. Websites also offer hotels the opportunity to reduce their reliance on OTAs by offering exclusive discounts and promotions to guests who book directly.

Billboard effect

If you are not familiar with what I am referring to, here you will have a better overlook of this concept! If you understand the dynamics of this concept, you will save money – which you will not have to waste on OTA commissions – and you will be able to offer your guests a great customer experience.  
Customers after finding a hotel or property on Booking or Airbnb, go to Google and search for the property’s website. If they find it and the site inspires trust and has an integrated booking engine, then they will book directly there.
Great news for you, less commission and occupancy rate ensured! 
However, if your site is not optimised, customers will not be able to find it. If you do not have an integrated booking engine, customers will not be able to book and will have to go back to the OTA. Take advantage of the opportunity to have a great alternative to the domain of the OTAs

Secure your payments

It is crucial to offer secure online payment options for your hotel guests. By implementing a secure online payment system on your hotel’s website, you can streamline the reservation money process, save time, and enhance the buying process for your customers.

To implement online payments on your hotel’s website, start by researching reputable payment gateway providers that comply with legal requirements for secure online transactions. Once you have selected a provider, integrate their payment system into your website’s booking process.

By offering secure online payment options, you will provide peace of mind to your customers, increase the likelihood of booking direct, and save time processing payments manually. Don’t underestimate the value of a secure online payment system for your hotel. It’s a small investment that can yield significant returns.

OTA (Online Travel Agency) like Bookings, Expedia, Airbnb

OTAs are third-party websites that allow guests to book hotel rooms online. Popular examples include Expedia,, and While OTAs can be an effective way to reach a broader audience, they typically charge high commissions of up to 30% per booking. As a result, hotels may want to limit their dependence on OTAs and focus on driving more direct bookings through their website.

Metasearch Bookings

Metasearch engines such as Google Hotel Search, Kayak, and Trivago allow guests to compare hotel prices and book directly through the hotel website. While metasearch engines typically charge lower commissions than OTAs, they can still be costly for hotels. To minimize the impact of metasearch commissions, hotels should optimise their website for SEO and ensure that their direct booking rates are competitive.

FAQ: About Hotel Payment Processing Systems

1- Can hotels reduce OTA commissions?

Yes, hotels can reduce OTA commissions by focusing on driving more direct bookings through their website. Hotels can also negotiate commission rates with OTAs or offer exclusive promotions and discounts to guests.

2- What are the payment procedures for hotels?

When it comes to payment procedures for hotels, they may vary depending on the hotel’s policies and location. Generally, hotels accept payments in the form of cash (not suggested), credit/debit cards, and sometimes traveller’s checks. Some hotels may also require a pre-authorization or a deposit at the time of check-in to cover incidentals or damages. It’s important to check with the hotel directly to understand their specific payment procedures. A tool that streamlines all the processes, reducing time for both hoteliers and clients is highly recommended. 

3- What is the hospitality payment system?

The hospitality payment system refers to the method or system used by hotels to process payments from guests. This can include various hotel payment processing systems such as point-of-sale (POS) systems, online payment gateways, mobile payment solutions, or even traditional manual methods like cash registers. The hotel payment processing system is crucial for hotels to efficiently manage and process payments from guests and ensure a seamless experience for both guests and hoteliers.

4- What is the most common method of payment in hotels?

The most common method of payment in hotels is typically credit/debit cards. Hotels usually accept major credit/debit cards. This method of payment is widely accepted due to its convenience and security features. However, it’s always best to confirm with the hotel beforehand to ensure they accept the specific type of credit/debit card you plan to use.

Marina Miceli

14 Apr, 2023