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The Strategy Behind the Selection

Bay Lakes is a leading provider of property management software for the hospitality industry. Remaining on the front side of innovation is very important to us. That’s why when we set out on our mission to choose an integrated payments partner, we did so strategically and carefully.

First of all, we wanted our new payments partner to approach business the same way we do. Bay Lakes is an industry leader because of our business approach:

  1. We keep customers our top priority.
  2. We proactively monitor the marketplace for emerging trends.
  3. Developing trends and consumer preferences drive our innovation.

We have found that any gaps in the values and mindset of our partners make it difficult to provide our clients the level of support and service they deserve.

The technology behind payment processing is constantly changing. It was necessary for Bay Lakes to find a forward-looking partner that is staying current with all the latest requirements. This partner needed to be aligned with the three points noted above because our customers deserve the best customer service, support, and technology available.

Criteria for Choosing Our Integrated Payments Partner

We needed our payment partner to do the following:

  1. Treat our customers the way we treat them
  2. Deliver expertise and guidance for solving problems
  3. Bring the technology that enables us to deliver product innovation

After careful vetting, we chose our ideal integrated payments partner – the one that could deliver on all three of our priorities. We chose Wind River.

Treating Customers the Way We Treat Them

Like Bay Lakes, Wind River’s customers are their top priority. For over 20 years, they’ve hung their hat on their After the Handshake service promise. Most noteworthy for us and our clients were:

  • No contracts required
  • Access to knowledgeable and timely support
  • Dedicated relationship managers who actually get to know their customers
  • Qualification monitoring for lower rates
  • Heightened emphasis on data security

Many providers make all kinds of claims about their service but, in my book, actions always speak louder than words. What are the actions of their customers? In the case of Wind River, their customer retention rate leads the industry at over 90 percent. We are confident the care of our customers is safe with Wind River.

Delivering Expertise and Guidance

It’s mind-boggling how quickly the world of payments has changed. Admittedly, neither Bay Lakes nor our customers are subject matter experts with payments. We’re experts in hospitality. Hence, we need ongoing, skillful guidance to help us solve problems and provide future direction.

Problem-Solving

When Bay Lakes was reviewing potential integrated payment partners, Wind River’s consultative approach to solving problems jumped out at us. Not just payment problems, but security concerns, chargebacks and policies as well. They listened to our needs. They investigated the best solution. And they took action.

I like this approach to solving problems. It gets the job done, and it’s the same way Bay Lakes solves problems for our customers. It is the shared values and customer commitment that makes for the most successful business partnerships.

Here are a few examples of issues resolved by Wind River.

Failing to Qualify for Lodging Rates

As with any business, finding ways to reduce costs is key. Bay Lakes discovered that many of our customers’ integrated payments weren’t qualifying for lodging rates of the major card brands. Wind River quickly identified the root cause and crafted a solution for us.

Prior to Wind River, the technology we leveraged had some limitations that prevented the necessary data from being transferred properly. For this reason, our customers often missed out on the best rates. In contrast, the integrated payments technology that Wind River brought to our property management software does not have these limitations. As a result, the right data is now being passed, and lodging rates apply.

Multiple Providers Meant Paying Higher Fees

Our previous payment environment included multiple providers. Not only did this create inconsistent levels of service and support, it was more costly for our customers. Wind River eliminated this issue by bringing the best gateway technology and payment processing, along with transparent pricing and consolidated billing. This resulted in easy-to-understand invoices and cost saving – a feature our customers really appreciate.

Creating a Path to End-to-End Encryption

Wind River enabled us to store and encrypt payment information using tokenization, which allowed us to add end-to-end encryption in our payment process. This delivered three key benefits to our customers. 1) It enhanced their data security, 2) reduced their risk of a data breach, and 3) brought them out of scope for PCI compliance certification. That meant saying goodbye to unnecessary non-compliance fees.

Technology that Allows Us to Execute

Rather than swiping cards and entering PINs, consumers have been moving toward the convenience of mobile and contactless payments. This was a growing trend even before the pandemic. Once COVID-19 surfaced, customers began actively looking for more low touch payment methods.

Prior to March, we already had our plan to respond to this growing consumer desire by adding contactless payments to our environment. This includes accepting payments from Near Field Communication (NFC) cards, mobile wallets, and payment-enabled watches, etc.

Wind River executed on our plan. They brought touch-free payment capabilities and introduced sleek new terminals that enhanced the check-in and check-out experience of guests. This keeps our properties current with customer preferences, enhances safety at POS, and equips them with the latest technology.

Technology that Allows Us to Innovate

A common practice is to mold business needs to fit a given solution. In contrast, Wind River brings the right technology to address specific needs. That’s an important difference to Bay Lakes as we strive to continually innovate the capabilities within our software. We need to know that our integrated payments partner can bring the best technology to enable the innovation we want for our customers.

Summary

When it comes down to it, there are three reasons why Bay Lakes chose as our Wind River integrated payments partner.

  1. Service
  2. Expertise
  3. Technology

We at Bay Lakes are excited to finally have a partner we can count on. We look forward to many years of mutual success.


Greg Swain founded Bay Lakes Information Systems in 1984 to make managing properties easier. Working closely with clients and maintaining focus on the hospitality and tourism industry, Greg has seen the company grow from a regional presence to one with clients across North America.