As a former event manager for a New York-based hospitality group, I know taking deposits, sending client receipts, and reconciling event financials with a controller or accounting team can be challenging, especially if your venue is still operating in the Stone Age of manual credit card authorization forms.
I lived that struggle for many years before I was finally able to convince my CFO and team to accept online payments through Tripleseat. Although it took months of debate, the move significantly enhanced client and team communication, improved efficiency, and literally saved me an hour’s worth of work each day.
I’ve been working with Tripleseat for nearly five years, and nothing makes me happier than sharing my experience and payment journey with others in hopes they too can make the transition. I’ve put together a list of five reasons why accepting online payments will help you and your business.
1. It’s expected
Providing clients with an easy way to pay is expected. From booking a hotel room to purchasing your weekly groceries, or ordering dinner, consumers expect the ability to purchase a product online. Why should a deposit for an event be any different? Below are some stats that help demonstrate the growing importance of online payments.
- 78 percent of global consumers buy goods from Amazon compared to 65 percent in a physical store. (Source: BigCommerce 2021)
- Only an expected 17 percent of US consumers will pay for goods using cash in 2022. (Source: WorldPay 2021)
- E-commerce sales have grown nearly 10 percent in the past year. (Source: Digital Commerce 360 analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce)
2. It ensures your clients’ safety and security
I think most businesses can agree that they want their customers to feel as if their data is safe and secure. How would you feel if you were shopping at a grocery store, and a cashier wrote down your credit card information and began walking around the store with it in hand? This sounds crazy, but it sadly takes place daily in restaurants across the US.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) mandates that businesses remain PCI compliant and obtain an annual certificate agreeing to a list of 12 requirements. Here are a few:
- Protect stored cardholder data
- Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks
- Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know
- Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
- Restrict physical access to cardholder data
Speaking from personal experience, the last thing your business should want is for corporate credit card information to be written down or printed and get into the hands of an employee who might steal the card information for personal use. Aside from the obvious issue of fraudulent charges, your business could also be blasted on social media or by word of mouth for not protecting personal data. Would this be worth the stain on your business’ reputation?
3. It improves efficiency
If your business is using a credit card authorization form, you’re likely to manually process the charges in a separate Point of Sale (POS), resulting in a printed receipt that then needs to be scanned and digitally sent to the client.
Before moving to online payments, this process typically took me an hour each day to run the new deposits, scan the receipts, send the receipts to the client and accounting team, and manually log the payment in Tripleseat. Leading up to the holiday season, it might have taken me multiple hours due to the volume of events. All of this didn’t take into account if the information on the authorization form was illegible, written down incorrectly, or if the card was declined, which would require me to follow up with the client and add even more time to my already busy day.
Moving to online payments took nearly all of this tedious work off my plate. The process of submitting the card falls directly on the client. They automatically receive a digital receipt upon payment, and if a card is declined or input incorrectly, the charge will fail and Tripleseat will send an email alert to the person trying to pay.
Not having to perform these menial tasks freed up my time to focus on more important things, such as prospecting and entertaining new clients, upselling existing events, and improving BEO communication to the chef and operations team. This all helped improve the quality of our events and contribute to our company’s bottom line. More time = more event revenue.
4. It eliminates hurdles to the booking process
In the many consumer and planner surveys Tripleseat has performed, we hear time and again that they often book with the event manager who is most responsive and makes the process easy. Credit card authorization forms that need to be printed and returned add unnecessary hurdles. Many social clients may not have an at-home printer or scanner. Less tech-savvy clients may not understand that they can take a photo of the form with their mobile device. Others may not feel comfortable sending their credit card information via email for fear of data safety concerns (there’s that PCI compliance again), and fax machines are nearly obsolete.
I would often hear clients say, “Why does this seem so difficult? Can’t I simply pay online?” The answer should be yes. I found that simplifying the payment process for our clients increased our repeat business and eliminated unnecessary follow-up if a client signed the contract but didn’t pay because they were “waiting to get to a printer or scanner.”
5. It avoids discrepancies and incorrect charges to save face with clients
If I had a dollar for every time an event was incorrectly charged in the venue POS at the conclusion of the event, I could retire. Many times, the client might fail to meet the minimum, and that wasn’t charged. Perhaps the party had additional guests arrive who were not added to the final bill. Or maybe the client was VIP and was meant to receive a discount that was never applied.
Prior to moving to online payments, each of these scenarios would fall on my shoulders to communicate the error to the client and our controller and also to find a way to adjust the final sale in the POS. It made me look disorganized and the company looked unprofessional.
However, using online payments in Tripleseat allows the client’s card to be stored for future charges. My team implemented a standard operating procedure of closing the POS final bill to a “house account” named Tripleseat. The operations team would send the final check to me at the close of business, and I would review it the following business day for accuracy. If there were any errors to the check, I was able to communicate that to our accounting and ops team to change in the POS, and I would make the final adjusted charge to the card that was stored in Tripleseat. This meant there were fewer refunds and adjustments to actual credit card charges because they hadn’t yet taken place. This process was a lifesaver and avoided those annoying and unnecessary client conversations.
How to convince your team
Now that you understand the ways in which online payments can improve your business, how do you convince your team to move forward? One of the biggest complaints about Tripleseat payments is that the processing fees might be slightly higher than traditional brick and mortar merchant fees. Here are three talking points to help address these concerns.
- Compare the standard Tripleseat merchant fees to “card not present” transactions in your POS. With an online purchase, this is the category of charge that is applied, which is typically a higher rate than if a guest presents a physical card.
- Discuss with your controller or CFO if you could implement an event fee or increase your base menu price to help cover the difference in cost.
- Be sure to discuss the amount of time you will save, which will allow more time to book more events and ultimately increase revenue.
Secure your online payments with Tripleseat’s partners
Tripleseat has three partners that will help your venue offer the most secure and efficient payments: Clover Connect, Square, and Stripe. Learn more about these three options by visiting the Tripleseat Online Payments website.