- 18th March 2019
In the hot seat with Jonathan O'Connor - Chief Commercial Officer at Secure Trading
Having recently hit the headlines for accelerating their expansion into the hospitality sector, we decided to delve into the Chief Commercial Officer of Secure Trading, Jonathan O'Connor's views and history on the Guestline partnership. Secure Trading have been powering payments for hotels worldwide for the last 20 years, below we find out more on what that means for hoteliers and how Secure Trading alongside Guestline can deliver extra revenue through commission and reduced cart abandoment.
Hi, Jonathan, thank you for taking time out to chat with us. What is your role, could you describe your job in a nutshell please?
I have joined the Secure Trading team as Chief Commercial Officer with a clear mandate to motivate the sales team! Our strategy moving forward will be to streamline our offering to exceed merchants’ expectations, and the key to our sales drive will be our delivery of crystal clear, targeted and relevant messaging.
I want to help to develop Secure Trading’s personality into one that proactively shows that we care about our clients, by focusing on personal touch and support, and this should be reflected in our business. So, in a nutshell, my job at Secure Trading is to ensure everyone here understands our customers and are able deliver what they want and need!
Sound's like an exciting time for both you, and Secure Trading! Why did you want to collaborate with Guestline?
It’s clear that Guestline are at the very forefront of the industry when it comes to hospitality software solutions, and at Secure Trading we naturally only want to collaborate with the best. But perhaps more importantly, Guestline share our ideals of flexibility and allowing customers to build the solution that’s right for them by taking the time to find out about their business. Both Secure Trading and Guestline want to support hoteliers by allowing them to benefit from the best technology coupled with experience and reliability. Our partnership is a testament to this!
How will this new partnership benefit mutual clients?
Using both of our solutions together means they will have a solution tailored exactly to their needs – they won’t pay for ancillary products they don’t use! Clients will enjoy industry-beating technology that is user-friendly and easily accessible – even without heavy technical knowledge. Secure Trading also have an unrivalled reliability – we have 100% uptime over the last 17 years, ensuring that we help Guestline’s clients to never stop selling! The partnership essentially represents two teams working to find the best solution for clients to ensure that their customers can book and pay easily.
We couldn't agree more Jonathan, how long have you been in the industry?
Our gateway has been around for 19 years, and I’ve been in payments for nearly as long as that! I’ve been part of, managed and created some hugely exciting projects and teams over the years at several major companies, and I’m relishing helping to drive Secure Trading forward.
What sets your “company” apart from the rest?
First and foremost, our team culture. We focus on customer service, and our support team are our longest-serving team, so they really know their stuff. Secure Trading ensure that all of our support teams are UK/EMEA based, so our customers receive friendly, useful advice from industry experts rather than hanging on the telephone to a call centre on the other side of the world! We also have a strong focus on tech and security – our tokenisation and NFC technology are above and beyond the rest of the industry.
What challenges/common issues does your software resolve for hoteliers?
We offer local payment methods which let people pay in the method they trust, and which gives them the best value. When combined with Dynamic Currency Conversion, which instantly converts the price at the checkout into the customer’s home currency, this gives merchants extra revenue though commission and reduced cart abandonment.
Additionally, tokenisation removes a big Payment Card Industry (PCI) burden; different integration options mean hoteliers don’t need an IT qualification to get up-and-running.
What should hoteliers be focusing on for the next 12 months?
With the on-going technological advancements in the hotel industry, the way that mobile can facilitate convenience will be a key area. Apps to check-in and gain room access are becoming more and more widespread but using apps to allow customers to pay for any extra spa services and food and drink can also be a big influence on convenience for the customer.
Tokenisation, pre-authorisation, card on file, recurring payments and card-not-present technologies all allow hoteliers to offer customers more convenient ways to pay for their extra services using mobile technology without the need to re-enter their details each time. This means that guests can connect more quickly and easily with hotel services.
What is the most exciting technology within the industry at the moment?
Self-service, through mobile or even robots. This empowers customers and provides transparency and insight to manage their own stay and budget, meanwhile giving them ease-of-use and removing human error. A key driver of convenience in the industry is the increasing availability of options to pay through Alternative Payment Methods, such as PayPal, Alipay and ApplePay. Increased security measures are also being developed and deployed, such as tokenisation.
Any future tech trend predictions?
Room service without humans! From making your order via mobile through to robots automatically delivering the food – a truly cyber hotel experience!
Thank you for this Jonathan, it's been great to get a better understanding of Secure Trading's goals. Last but not least, one piece of advice for newcomers to the hospitality industry?
No matter what industry you are in the industry trends are almost always the same at the moment. Know and understand your customers, use this information to delight them and be proactive in gaining reviews on as many platforms as you can. Peer to peer review is free and can’t be beaten as a trustworthy marketing tool if they are honest. Take the time to respond to bad reviews in a constructive, polite and humble manner.
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