Why time is the new currency

Brightwell article originally published by Hotel-Online titled “Why time is the new currency.” A person holding a tablet with icons on it.

“Time is money” is an often-repeated phrase attributed to Benjamin Franklin. When the aphorism was written, Franklin was pointing out that time spent not working was time not making money.

Fast forward to today’s society and the value, or currency, no longer comes from the time spent working to achieve results, but on the time saved. When interacting with customers, the focus is no longer on spending more time working, but on being more efficient with time.

In the context of the hospitality industry, by giving time back to guests, hotels not only extend value but increase loyalty with their customer base.

The concept of collapsing time

Collapsing time refers to being more efficient with time, which is something the digital generation expects.

Consider today’s convenience-minded consumers who want the world at their fingertips. Click to book, tap to pay, and swipe to go. Hotel guests have grand expectations; they will bail on non-intuitive websites with complex navigations or too many pop-ups and loathe long waits to check in at the front desk. To compete, hotels must think seriously about the time it takes to deliver on the guest experience.

Consumers expect brands to meet their needs with immediacy. In the book, “Make Your Brand Matter,” author Steven G. Soechtig states, “Consumers and business customers alike will pay a premium to gain back time, whether that premium is in hard currency or in loyalty to the brand.”

As expectations for instant experiences accelerate across industries, hotels must reinvent traditional business constructs to offer “phygital” experiences that collapse time across intention and outcome.

For example, consumers are accustomed to checking in for airline trips and lodging from mobile applications. They can order essential items to be delivered wherever they are around the clock. Even entertainment has adapted to fuse digital and physical interactions through innovations like mobile ticketing, reserving seats before setting foot into a cinema, and cashier-less concession ordering in theaters and stadiums. From events to accommodations – it’s all about time and convenience.

The importance of expedient service and correcting mishaps

Consider, for example, a traveler is staying in a hotel and the room is charged twice to her credit card—a mistake made by the hotel. Upon receiving her monthly statement, she calls the hotel to get it removed and is chastised for not finding and reporting the incident within a week. She explains she didn’t know until the billing statement arrived on her mobile device.

In the end, the hotel management agrees to process a refund for the incorrect double charge, but the traveler is told that refunds take 30-45 days to receive – clearly a brand failure. The hotel has wasted her time and, in effect, holds her money hostage. When booking her next travel, this experience may influence her to try out other brands. The hotel chain at fault lost a loyal customer.

This situation is not uncommon in the travel and hospitality industries: Nearly two-thirds (62%) of airline and travel agency leaders participating in a 2023 Outpayce study said travelers perceive chargebacks easier than getting a refund. A chargeback is a transaction refunded directly to a customer’s card after successfully disputing the transaction. In a separate survey, Emplifi found that 86% of consumers will abandon a formerly trusted brand after two inferior customer experiences.

The quicker a hotel can solve a guest’s problem, the more likely it is to extend brand value and loyalty. In this example, the hotel chain could’ve acknowledged the mistake and processed a near-immediate refund, leading to a positive brand interaction as the traveler feels valued and is not inconvenienced.

The growing popularity of reservations booked via online travel agency platforms (OTA) introduces additional complexity when refunds or reimbursements are necessary. According to a Statista Global Consumer Survey, hotels were the most common travel products booked online in the United States in 2022, contributing heavily to the $475b online travel market. *

The payments space responds to global consumer needs

The world has become increasingly international, creating opportunities for the cross-border payments space to collapse time and make global disbursements—in the form of refunds, reimbursements, and other payouts to customers—faster and easier.

As more individuals live, work, and travel between countries, global citizens are demanding immediacy as the norm. Expats sending money home, remote teams collaborating across time zones, workers getting reimbursed for travel, and many more cross-border transactions underpin life in an interconnected world. Because outdated systems like wire transfers and paper checks strain to support instant global commerce, cross-border payment enablers have been showing up with new technologies and processes to keep up with the demand for near real-time access to funds.

The value of making sure time is on your side

Time is the new currency. With the world moving faster and the digital generation expecting immediate results, many hotels are responding to changing demands—making life simpler for both businesses and their guests.

This article was originally published on Hotel-Online.com