The lodging market affords an agent an opportunity to use his or her past work history to open relationships and sales not primarily focused on by the average payment-processing agent. Lodging opportunities typically fall into two categories – national and regional businesses and local businesses.
- National and regional lodging companies are often services by national account divisions of some of the largest processors. Best Western, Holiday Inn, and Hilton are some examples. Some may even have their own MCC code, with rate structures unique to the business entity. With unique servicing needs, established processing relationships and proprietary P.O.S. solutions, these companies may be outside the reach of your typical sales agent.
- Local lodging companies are often serviced by a diverse group of processors and may not have the same servicing restrictions as the larger companies. Due to the nature of the transaction, special ‘lodging programs’ if provided by the processor may assist in moderating the fees of transactions initially processed as a card not present transaction being identified as swiped when the customer arrives the day of check in. Ask you processor about the programs available and the requirements necessary to provide such pricing discounts.
Lodging opportunities typically provide a large volume of activity combined with large average tickets. As such, they are a solid business market to add to ones portfolio. The challenges are also significant, as the ownership is often not on premise and the gatekeepers within such establishments are adept at keeping salespeople at bay.
There is also value, as is often the case, to contacting associations that support the lodging industry to become the ‘preferred merchant services provider’ for their membership. Such opportunities could provide you much needed credibility, as well as open referral opportunities nit currently available.
A unique opportunity when servicing businesses in this vertical market is for you to also network within a particular lodging ‘franchise’ to meet with other owners. Having work experience within this vertical market is a definite advantage. Although the primary focus heavily relies on card payment processing, ancillary services such as check guarantee and even a rewards program to help the small business emulate the larger organizations may be of interest.
Do not invest significant time or energy on the larger national accounts unless you have an advantage that will bring you to the top decision makers. There are literally thousands of opportunities in this vertical market. Just be precise to understand how they are conducting payments currently and which type of P.O.S. systems are being used and supported by your processor.