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Crypto for the European hospitality sector: past, present and future

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The European hospitality sector currently encompasses over 2 million businesses, including hotels, resorts, private accommodation, restaurants, and bars, and represents between 2% and 3% of the European Union’s total GDP. The sector employs over 10 million people and, for some countries such as Spain and France, constitutes one of the main sources of revenue. Having suffered a devastating blow in 2020 and 2021, in the throes and aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, hotel bookings are about 20% above 2019 levels on average, with an increase in international tourism set to rise further due to major events such as the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. 

An evolving trend for mobile and nomadic lifestyles has led a population with more free time than ever before to take advantage and travel, spending more time and money on experiences than on goods. In an attempt to make these experiences as easy, fast, and hassle-free as possible, one company, in particular, has found a way to streamline client management processes for hotels, restaurants, and bars. Human Touch Systems has developed an integral, all-in-one system that allows hospitality staff to manage clients’ arrival, departure, and payment from one easy-to-use application. But that’s not all; Human Touch Systems has now partnered with ForumPay to offer their clients the possibility of accepting crypto as payment from modern, digital-savvy travelers. 

This article takes a closer look at the current state of the hospitality sector in Europe, Human Touch Systems’ home region, and how it has flourished since the Covid-19 pandemic that put the world on pause in 2020. How is the sector expected to progress in 2024? Which trends are sparking a transformation? And how is Human Touch Systems’ seamless client management system succeeding in enhancing user experiences across the continent?

The European hotel sector post-pandemic

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the hospitality sector has faced immense challenges, dramatically affecting its global footprint. The industry, which contributes significantly to the global GDP (the travel and tourism industry reported global revenue of $685 billion in 2019), saw a drastic decline as travel restrictions and lockdowns brought tourism to a near halt. Hotels and restaurants, particularly those in popular tourist destinations, experienced severe financial setbacks, and many were forced to close temporarily. However, the sector has shown resilience and adaptability, gradually recovering in major cities, partly due to higher average daily rates (ADRs) and innovative technological solutions. The adoption of contactless technologies and digital services has not only helped mitigate some of the pandemic’s impacts but also enhanced operational efficiency and guest satisfaction, positioning the industry for a more resilient future.

The outlook for 2024

In 2024, The European hospitality sector is set to gain further momentum as domestic and short-haul leisure travel lead demand for hotel accommodation in many countries. As we move further away from the painful pandemic era, many experts are forecasting a rebound in business travel, albeit at a slower pace, supported by a growing tendency for remote and hybrid work, with employees taking advantage of more frequent and extended trips both nationally and abroad. The Olympic Games in Paris have also spurred much growth in the local sector, with investment in the luxury hotel sector in Paris increasing by 20% in preparation for the much-anticipated event.

Innovations in technology will also begin to have an impact on the hospitality sector, such as developments in AI and machine learning, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrencies, as these digital assets make their way into the mainstream. There are significant benefits to introducing crypto in its capacity as a legitimate and fungible means of exchange into the hospitality sector, transforming how businesses operate, from managing room reservations to guest experiences. Cryptocurrencies offer secure, fast, direct transactions between the client and business, reduced costs, enhanced privacy and client trust, and a competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive market. 

Seamless, contactless services

As the number of travelers increases, including both business and leisure trips, so do their expectations. Digital innovations have flooded through almost every customer-focused sector with a view to improving processes, procedures, wait times and costs, but the hospitality sector has been slower than most to embrace the transformation. One major trend in digital innovations is to prioritize contactless, seamless experiences that cater to modern travelers. This shift is driven not only by the lingering effects of the pandemic but also by the evolving expectations for convenience and efficiency. 

Technologies such as digital keys or voice or tablet-controlled room automation have become integral, allowing guests to navigate their stay with minimal physical contact and reduced wait times. This transformation is hugely beneficial for both faces of the hospitality sector: businesses and clients alike. By leveraging technology and speeding up often lengthy processes such as check-in and check-out, businesses are able to enhance operational efficiency, reduce the risk of human error, and provide a safer and highly satisfying guest experience, setting themselves apart in a very competitive market.

Human Touch Systems

Human Touch Systems is a B2B company that works with hotels, bars, and restaurants in the hospitality industry. Their innovative technology helps businesses streamline their client management operations, including check-in, check-out, and payment, by integrating these operations into one convenient, seamless system. By way of example, from the moment guests arrive to each breakfast, evening drink, or spa treatment right through to their departure, hotels can keep a tab of each new charge and accept payment from guests before they leave, all within the same platform. With a view to enhancing the client experience by reducing wait times, enabling fast, safe payments, and offering clients more payment options, Human Touch Systems has now partnered with ForumPay to offer their clients the chance to accept crypto payments from travelers.  

Having received clear signals from their market that customers are looking to leverage their crypto funds while traveling, Human Touch Systems reached out to ForumPay. Our crypto-to-FIAT payment gateway was exactly the kind of solution they needed. ForumPay enables businesses to accept crypto payments from customers, but receive the payment in the FIAT currency of their choice, i.e., dollars, pounds, or euros. In this sense, the process is much like accepting payment through traditional means, such as credit or debit card payments. What’s more, crypto payments are final, with zero-risk chargebacks. This is a significant benefit for the hospitality industry, which often suffers from cancellations and even fraudulent activity. 

ForumPay can integrate into any existing online workflow or PoS platform thanks to our open API, which makes it simple to seamlessly facilitate crypto payments within our partners’ current payment ecosystems. Following Human Touch Systems’ integration, hotel and restaurant staff are now able to confirm crypto payments within seconds on a portable PoS device, enabling customers to continue with their day without delay and greatly enhancing their experience. Crypto payments, whilst transparent, are also private. For guests who wish to avoid sharing their location with banks and credit and debit card companies, crypto offers a convenient alternative given that decentralized finance transactions cannot be tracked by third parties, such as financial institutions. 

We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Human Touch Systems long into the future as we work together to facilitate crypto transactions for businesses in the hospitality sector. If you are a hotel, restaurant, or bar and have yet to start accepting payments in cryptocurrency, book a meeting with one of our crypto payment experts to find out more about Human Touch Systems and ForumPay. They’re available to answer all your questions. 

Alternatively, visit forumpay.com for more information.

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ForumPay does not disclose financial advice. Anything shared is strictly to inform, entertain, or share thoughts and ideas. Please seek a registered financial advisor if you are looking for financial advice.

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