Our Most Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between the embedded payments service Hotel Link Pay is offering and that available from other payment providers?
Until now the payment gateways / merchant accounts that accommodations have used to process cross border payments from guests and OTAs has been a separate system from the software hotels use to run their business. In an embedded payment solution, the payments processing and the hotel booking management are fully integrated. This allows both large cost savings and many operational improvements for accommodations. Hence embedded payments systems are set to become the industry norm over the next 5-10 years.
Can we use both Hotel Link Pay and another service provider on our site, giving travellers a choice?
Yes you can. In some countries with a large domestic travel market you may find some very popular local mobile payment services in use which are popular with travellers. Internationally however 85% of cross border travel payments are made using credit cards. Some accommodations may also elect to keep options like Paypal on their site which is also possible.
What do I need to do to apply to get a Hotel Link Merchant account?
Go to this page (hotelpaymentsnow.com) and complete the application form. Due to cross border regulations relating to such things as fraud, money laundering, counter-terrorism, etc. applicants are required to provide information about their business and key shareholders before a merchant account can be provided. This is known as KYC (Know Your Customer) data.
How long does approval take for a merchant account?
Normally around 7 days.
Are funds remitted to me immediately when a guest makes a payment, i.e. before the guest arrives?
No. The funds will only be remitted to you when the service has been delivered to the guest (i.e. after the guest checks out). In cases where a non-refundable deposit is required in your booking policies, these can be processed in advance of the guest arriving but will also be held by Hotel Link until the checkout date.
How long does it take for settlement and receipt of funds from Hotel Link?
Funds will normally be deposited in your bank account within 3 working days.
In my country, there are no local merchant account providers. Can Hotel Link Pay help or does Hotel Link Pay need to be licenced locally?
Hotel Link Pay is powered by Kovena (a payments company based in Australia) and hence, just like the OTAs which are based abroad, Kovena collects payments from travellers via your merchant account and remits them to you. Hotel Link Pay can therefore be used in most countries where there are no payment facilities today.
What does the service cost?
This depends on the country you are located in. Generally however Hotel Link Pay will always be very competitive as we are a specialised payment system created specifically for accommodation providers. Let us know where you are located and we can provide indicative pricing.
What is the Hotel Link Batch Remittance Function?
Sometimes hotels would prefer to hold funds in the Kovena account until they reach a minimum amount to transfer. This is because inwards bank charges on international transfers can add up if they are paid on every small transfer. So for example, instead of 10 X $50 payments …each one attracting a $12 inwards bank fee (total $120 for the $500), a hotel may elect to hold the funds with Kovena until there is a minimum of $500 in their account and make one remittance, incurring just one $12 charge.
Does Hotel Link Pay allow automatic reconciliation of booking and payment information?
Yes it does. Every booking is linked directly to the payments information for that booking so you can see at a glance the payment status and details of any deductions made, funds transferred to your bank etc. It is one of the big advantages of an embedded payments system that you don’t have to manually reconcile bookings information with your bank payments information.
My company has 5 hotels which we own and operate. Do I need a separate merchant account for each one?
Yes, you will, however, with the same owners the approval will go much faster. Suggest you contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help set things up for you.
One of the big headaches we have currently is with chargebacks. How can Hotel Link Pay minimise these for us?
Chargebacks are initiated by the cardholder and can be a big problem for accommodations. The main reasons for chargebacks are;
• The customer doesn’t recognize the charge on their account
• The customer wants to avoid paying for accommodation or service because they weren’t satisfied with the service provided
• The customer has forgotten that they made a particular purchase
• There may be another household member who made the purchase with their card and they don’t recognize the transaction
• The customer doesn’t agree with paying for the cancellation/no show fee
• Fraudulent use of the card – stolen cards or testing card limits
The Kovena system used by Hotel Link Pay tackles these issues in various ways.
I didn’t Stay there (honest mistake). The main reason cardholders don’t recognise the charge on their account, or have forgotten they made the purchase shown on their statement is because the name of the merchant is not the same as the name of the service provider. So the hotel they stayed in may be called Mango Resort, however on the statement the charge is shown from Roberts Holdings (which presumably owns Mango Resort). Kovena ensures that they include the actual name of the service provider (called the descriptor) in the information passed to the cardholder so this issue doesn’t arise. Around 70% of all chargebacks are honest mistakes, so getting this right makes a big difference.
I Didn’t Stay There / I Didn’t Purchase That (Deliberate Attempt to Avoid Payment). Some travelers will try and claim back monies on their credit card by claiming they didn’t stay at the property (claiming they made a cancellation), or that they checked out early or didn’t use the spa or restaurant shown on the bill etc. This is not something Kovena can manage directly although travelers doing this are flagged in the system and if they book subsequently Kovena will monitor their activities closely. The best way to avoid this problem is for the accommodation to a) take an imprint of the card when the guest checks in (not a photocopy) and to have the guest sign their bill at the time of checkout, acknowledging and accepting the charges made.
Fraudulent Use of a Card. Kovena uses a number of techniques to minimise these happening, for example Kovena uses very secure PCI DSS encryption (tokenisation) of card data, plus PSD2 Compliance, and the 3-D Secure protocol. These three layers of protection have been shown to reduce card fraud by up 70%.
Poor Service or Property Not Providing Facilities Promoted. This is a service provider issue and can be a major problem with some accommodations (notably those with very poor traveler feedback). Kovena will monitor traveler feedback on OTAs, TripAdvisor and Google to determine whether to impose special conditions on the provider or, in some cases, terminate the merchant account facility if an unusually large number of chargebacks results from this issue.
We have trouble getting paid for no-shows
This is a common problem and typically costs up to 4% of revenue a year. With the new Hotel Link embedded payments system we can help you cut this cost dramatically by a) allowing you to pre-authorize an amount on the guest card prior to the check-in date (to make sure funds are available to you) and b) by providing a clear auditable document trail to support the no-show charge if questioned by the guest (via a chargeback).
We get a lot of complaints from guests when processing refunds. How can Hotel Link Pay assist here?
Refunds are indeed quite common. This issue is that when a charge is made on the guest card this automatically triggers a call on funds in the guest bank account (i.e. the funds are taken out immediately). Refunds however take time to process and so when you then try to process a new charge after having just made the refund, the guest account may become overdrawn and the charge will be declined. Guests get angry … you can’t get paid …
What Kovena has done is introduce a 24 hour window (expiring at 18:00 hours AEST each day) within which you can make charges and then void (cancel) these charges without incurring any costs. Kovena only passes the charges through to the acquirer & card networks after this holding period has elapsed. Note however that if you process a charge at 1755 AEST, you will only have 5 minutes within which to void the charge before the information is passed to the acquirers and card networks.
Let's Talk Payments
Make payments painless, convenient, and a natural part of the
guest experience. With Hotel Link Pay, you have the flexibility
to take payments at any step of the booking process.