The Rise Of mPOS: How Mobile Point-Of-Sale Is Transforming The Hospitality Industry

When mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) first arrived, we were all content to accept it as a solution designed to make life easier for mobile businesses. Then it surprised us all by revolutionising the way many businesses run, including brick and mortar businesses. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, mPOS went on to transform entire industries. This global mPOS market report by Transparency Market Research predicts that by the year 2022 there will be over 240 million operational mPOS devices worldwide.

While the retail industry has taken full advantage of the benefits of mPOS, some industries are just starting to experience a surge in adoption. In this blog, we’ll look specifically at the hospitality industry – including the related sectors in hotels, food service and travel – and how it’s evolving thanks to mPOS.

Getting from point A to B, powered by mPOS
Mobile ride-hailing service Uber and its peers have permanently affected the ease with which people move around. The very existence of apps that allow people to order and pay for cabs using smartphones paired with debit and credit cards has threatened old school cab services.

Since the 2012 Olympics, the iconic London black cabs have had a fraction of their fleet riding with mobile card readers in order to facilitate card payments. But as of the 31st of October 2016 (or last year), all London cabs have had card payment devices in order to eliminate some of the confusion around how passengers can pay as well as claim back a piece of Uber’s market. The card payment devices in London cabs also accept contactless payments done using NFC-enabled chip-and-PIN cards.

Elsewhere in the travel sector, mPOS is increasing sources of revenue for airlines like Cathay Pacific and Delta Airlines. Now that we have Wi-Fi access even when flying, airlines can make use of mPOS devices to sell more than just seats to their passengers. From in-flight entertainment, seat upgrades, refreshments and accommodation for when you land, you can now pay for it all by card while you fly.

Hotel stays made easier with convenient card payments
Hotels and resorts aren’t getting left behind in the mPOS revolution, proving that a business doesn’t need to be mobile in order to take advantage of mPOS. In resorts, especially, where guests are likely to go golfing, lounge by the pool or get a spa treatment, mobile point-of-sale devices have proven quite lucrative. Guests can order and pay for drinks while they enjoy the pool or golf course and they can pay for spa treatments on the spot instead of adding it to their bill.

A few POS system suppliers have also partnered with online booking and payment services to ease the process. For example, EFTPOS has partnered with Nightsbridge and Salonbridge. Nightsbridge lets customers search for accommodation, make bookings and pay through their online portal. Salonbridge is similar but for online bookings and payments for beauty and hair salons.

Another area that has been invigorated by mPOS is the age-old ritual of tipping service staff. Chances are we’ve all experienced the embarrassment of not being able to tip hotel staff after they’ve delivered our room service or helped carry our bags because we don’t have any cash on us. With mPOS, there’s no excuse not to tip. In fact, in 2015 Software Advice found that mPOS systems could increase tips using suggestive features built into the interface. Granted, the study was done primarily in restaurants, but interactions between patrons and servers in restaurants and hotels hardly differ.

Food service anywhere and everywhere
Mobile food vendors have experienced the most empowerment from mobile point-of-sale. What used to be a cash-only business can now support multiple payment methods (even contactless payments). This is largely due to the introduction of mPOS into the food service market.

Beyond simply enabling mobile vendors to accept card payments, mPOS has improved the way small mobile businesses like food trucks and market stalls work. Vendors can now gather valuable metrics thanks to innovation of cloud POS systems (like Vend and Humble Till, for example), control inventory as well as sales. This makes small food businesses capable of competing in a wider market where growth and stability are more certain.

Clearly, the benefits of mPOS aren’t limited to mobility. With mPOS you avoid straining resources and time usually taken up by the setup and installation of traditional POS systems, you’re enabled to accept multiple payment methods and do so anywhere in and away from your business. More than that, mPOS has empowered entrepreneurs in all kinds of industries to innovate their way to better business.

Originally published on Paycorp