Online Payments – What are the risks?

Right now we are at the beginning of an important transformation phase in online payments, and at Availpro our goal is to help hotels foresee new trends and get ready benefit from them. That’s why we are releasing a series of blog posts about the future of payment in the hotel industry. For the last week of discussing this topic, our CTO Antoine Buhl gives you recommendations to make payment safe for your hotel and for your guests.
#4 – Online payments – what are the risks?

You cannot talk about online payments without mentioning security, and unfortunately the hotel industry is still seen as an easy target by hackers.

Most security solution providers attempt to instil a sense of fear, and talk about all of these terrible hackers. In a way, they have a point, because over the past four or five years, many hacker groups and organisations have become adept at pinpointing our industry, skillfully extracting guests’ credit card information.

With the compromisation of credit card details, almost all major international channels have suffered wide scale card piracy in recent years. Hilton, InterContinental and Hyatt are examples. Recently, there was also Orbitz Travel, which lost 880,000 bank card numbers over a period of two years (source: BankInfo Security, 20 March 2018)

Worldwide payment fraud reaches tens of billions of dollars. And the bad news is that it is increasing at monumental speed. It’s on the up for two reasons: the first is that card and online payments, especially in Asian countries, are increasing rapidly. And in the mobile environment, security is a major element and many players simply aren’t ready.

The hotel industry is late to the game in terms of security and how it handles credit card information. For example, some hoteliers still receive bank card numbers by email, or there are pieces of paper flying about in their office with credit card numbers scrawled on them. But the major likes of Visa and MasterCard are investing in security in order to make these practices disappear.

So how can hoteliers address the security problem? They must work with providers who have certifications that match in payment and in card management. This is called Payment Card Industry Security (PCI DSS).

Only then can the problem of high cancellation rates be addressed, because reservations can easily be made with invalid cards, which then in turn generate cancellations. Then there is the matter of fraud, where people attempt to use someone else’s card.

And when you do have a reservation, created with by an invalid card or fraud, it is a reservation that remains blocked, and does not necessarily get put back on the market.

Another solution is to consider automation for your booking engine platform, and via your OTA Channel Manager This will save you time, and lead to bookings that are more reliable and secure, which can optimise availability – leading to better sales.

With some OTAs you can now offer automated reservation. It collects the booker’s bank card details, and sends you this information. At Availpro, we also have a solution so that when your customer makes a booking on, we automatically allow your channel manager to collect the customer’s bank card information, which is then sent to a payment platform.

In the case of booking with prepayment, this method instantly debits the customer’s credit card. And in the case of a reservation without prepayment, it will check the card. And at the end of the chain, either integrate the payment into the PMS or send it to you.

How your hotel operates payments also comes into play (Make the most of mobile payments) when dealing with risk, regarding whether you opt for the gateway of collector method.

With the collector, the challenge mechanism is simple: the customer disputes the payment with their bank, which will almost automatically reverse the payment. Then, the bank will charge the collector that was debited so that the money must return to where it was. It is therefore the collector who takes charge of the dispute process, called “chargeback”.

But in the case of the gateway mechanism, any dispute management falls with your bank and your property.

We work with different payment providers such as PayPal, Orgone, 3C, Saferpay etc. that automate all means of payment.


For more info about automated payment solutions, you can check our PSP Connect infographics here or read the full series of articles:



Antoine-Buhl Antoine Buhl – Chief Technology Officer – Availpro

Antoine became an entrepreneur after finishing his studies, and helped set up various start-up companies, including Hypnotizer (video streaming) and PixVillage (peer-to-peer photo sharing). He joined Availpro to develop both platforms and products. Antoine is passionate about building innovative apps, and the processes that lead up to their success.