Problems with payments are causing hotel guests anxiety, new Amadeus research finds

Problems with payments are causing hotel guests anxiety, new Amadeus research finds

The GDS worked with behavioural science research agency Innovationbubble on the Opening the door to guest-centric payments: The opportunity for hospitality report

New behavioural science research from Amadeus has concluded that hotels are unable to address guest anxiety due to issues with payments.

The GDS conducted the research in the second quarter of 2022 research agency, Innovationbubble.

The quantitative and qualitative study involved interviews with hundreds of travellers in the UK, US and Brazil that had recently travelled to international hotels in other countries. 

It found 40% of travellers reported challenges paying at hotels, with a third unable to use their preferred payment method.

Amadeus claimed “outdated approaches to payments” that are “challenging the hospitality industry’s efforts to deliver an excellent guest experience, leading to heightened guest anxiety and frustration” 

The GDS’s report called Opening the door to guest-centric payments: The opportunity for hospitality is available to download now. 

The analysis came up with three key findings: 

  1. Consumers find making payments at the hotel significantly more stressful than everyday payments made at home;
  2. They are twice as likely to experience feelings of ‘anxiety’ and ‘uncertainty’ when making hotel payments;
  3. Nonconscious analysis found that consumers are far less likely to associate hotel payments with positive feelings like ‘ease’ or ‘convenience’.

Amadeus said travellers today are usually asked to pay for their stay at check-out using physical terminals, rather than at time of booking using modern digital systems. 

This means hotels process payments based on their own local payment system, resulting in several pain-points for guests.

These include guests having to visit the front desk to pay for incidentals like room service or to understand how much they’ve spent during the stay

Other issues include additional services not being able to purchased within the hotel’s app and guests having to be physically present at check-in and check-out due to limited self-service options. 

In addition travellers cannot always pay using their preferred payment method as hotel’s local payment systems don’t typically accept a wide range of card and alternative payment methods, like PayPal or WeChat Pay.

The study found a third of respondents had not been able to pay with their preferred payment method during a recent stay and 39% feely anxious that their payment might not go through. 

With 54% of guests noticing when it is difficult to make payment, and 77% believing it is the hotel’s responsibility to make payment easy, the industry’s efforts to deliver an excellent guest experience are at risk, said Amadeus.

Jamie Halliday, strategic insights director at Innovationbubble, said: “Our analysis uncovered significant ‘negativity bias’ connected to hotel payments. 

“The anxiety caused by a negative payment experience lingers in the consumer’s mind, with guests telling us it influences their overall perception of the stay.”  

Amadeus described the way hotels manage payments as fragmented, with responsibility falling on individual property owners or managers, rather than strategically managed at brand level. 

This situation means hotels have struggled to keep pace with rapid advances in digital payments, according to Jean-Christophe Lacour, Amadeus head of product management and delivery, payments.

“Imagine staying at a high service hotel and not being able to pay with your card or the digital methods you use every day, like PayPal or WeChat Pay. 

“This situation is the result of longstanding fragmentation in the hospitality sector, but our research shows that poor payments are now souring guest perceptions of the overall hotel stay. 

“That’s why I’m calling on hospitality brands to take ownership for payments at a group level, so we can offer guests a modern digital payment experience that enhances their stay.”    

More: Access the report on the Amadeus website