What Every Hotel Brand Needs to Know About Buy Now, Pay Later

Consumer demand for flexible payment options and pent-up wanderlust has helped fuel the explosive growth of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) for travel purchases.

And while airlines, cruise lines, and vacation package providers have been quick to adopt this popular form of payment, hoteliers have been a little late to the game.

Buy Now, Pay Later is now the fastest growing form of payment in the US—and a new survey by Uplift shows how it is making its way into the travel space. Today, 48% of consumers are very likely to use Buy Now, Pay Later for hotel stays, and an additional 31% are somewhat likely to pay with BNPL.

Hotel chains, boutique lodges, and Online Travel Agencies are jumping on flexible payment methods to increase conversion and average daily rates (ADRs). To meet consumer demand and stay competitive, top hospitality brands can no longer ignore offering BNPL at checkout.

First of all, what is Buy Now, Pay Later for hotels?

Buy Now, Pay Later providers, such as Uplift, allow shoppers to book a hotel stay now and spread the cost of the purchase into bite-sized installments, rather than paying the full amount at booking or at checkout.

Compared to credit cards, BNPL can help consumers avoid perils like revolving debt and compounding interest. They only need to make a set payment each month, which they can more easily manage over time.

Hotel brands are getting in on the action by adding BNPL to their payment mix. Guests can book a stay now, the hotel receives the entire payment upfront, and the guest can pay off their getaway over a fixed number of months. And both travelers and hoteliers are loving it:

  • 43% of guests paying with BNPL upgrade their hotel experience*
  • Buy Now, Pay Later increases the average booking window by +40%**
  • Advertising infused with BNPL messaging can yield a 91% increase in Click-Through-Rates while reducing Cost-Per-Click by 76%**

BNPL helps consumers purchase more comfortably, making it a powerful way to welcome a fresh groundswell of new travelers into your customer base while increasing loyalty with existing guests.

What hospitality brands should consider when choosing a BNPL

Here’s how leading hospitality brands tap into this booking boost—and what you need to consider when selecting your Buy Now, Pay Later partner.

Start with a BNPL provider that understands the hospitality industry

Keep in mind: some BNPL providers specialize in funding less expensive impulse buys.

But with travel BNPL, consumers aren’t snagging multiple inexpensive purchases each month—they’re tapping into the service less often but spending significantly more when they do.

While a shopper can pay off a handbag over a few weeks, they’ll usually need more time to pay off a getaway. That’s why it’s important to work with a BNPL outfitted to offer longer terms on bigger ticket purchases. Providers like Uplift have a long history of supporting transactions up to $25,000 (often with zero interest!).

Speedy credit approvals (no matter the requested amount) are one of the top draws of BNPL. A partner that knows the ins and outs of arranging larger payment plans will ensure that more of your guests are approved on their first inquiry. Plus, they’re able to support a variety of payment options like prepaid and post-stay rates.

Find a Buy Now, Pay Later provider with an experienced in-house customer support team

From missed flights to cancellations, travel plans can run into unexpected hiccups. Even if the traveler paid with Buy Now, Pay Later, they’ll need a quick solution to their problem. But not every BNPL provider understands the nuances of the travel industry.

A hospitality-first BNPL knows just how to handle cancellations, refunds, and changes to itineraires. A fully personalized customer service team will help direct your guest to an immediate solution, ensuring their experience with your brand is unforgettable no matter the circumstances.

Grow your direct booking share through targeted ad messaging

The right BNPL provider becomes a key member of your marketing team. They’ll help publicize pay-over-time offerings in campaigns like email and social media.

Communicating flexible payment options early in the research phase increases the likelihood that a price-conscious guest will ultimately book with your brand. Aggressive BNPL promotions increased conversions by at least 5% in some studies!

BNPL guests are also more likely to splurge on upgrades. With less upfront pressure on their pocket, 43% are more willing to opt for more exclusive amenities or room luxuries. In one case study, the Average Order Value (AOV) of guests who booked with travel BNPL Uplift was 12% higher than credit card users.

Build your brand with a hassle-free booking experience (no pop-ups or redirects!)

Studies show that consumers are increasingly devoted to their preferred payment type, turning the tides on brand loyalty. Whereas travelers used to gravitate toward their favorite hotel chains, they’re now enticed by the brands that offer payment flexibility. To draw guests away from online travel agencies (OTA), ensure you’re offering this in-demand payment option on your branded site.

The best BNPL partner for hotels will be one that keeps guests on your site.

Pop-ups and new windows take travelers away from your branded booking experience. The risk here? They forget, get distracted, or worse—stumble across one of your competitors.

A private-label BNPL solution such as Uplift eliminates pesky reservation abandonment by housing the BNPL process right in the same window as your native booking flow. Plus, by selecting a 100% PCI and GDPR-compliant platform, you’ll be able to entice guests with modern payment tech without building it from scratch.

This hassle-free booking path gives you the best of both worlds: you can offer the latest payment strategies while building your own brand relationships. Customers receive an instant decision within a custom experience built for your hotel. They can pick from a handful of installment options and immediately book their dream getaway—while paying for it over time.

Better yet, returning guests are welcome to use loyalty points to foot a portion of the purchase. As more guests chase their preferred ways to pay, a seamless BNPL experience is a must-have.

Enhance your prepaid rate strategies

Using Buy Now, Pay Later for hotels, you can present an attractive offer without slashing revenue. Draw attention to your BNPL offers throughout your website, gently nudging browsing guests towards affordable payment options.

Travelers looking for a deal often flock to inexpensive room types—a rate hotels need to keep low and competitive to capture bookings. Once a guest checks in, front desk agents mitigate oversell risk by awarding free upgrades to unsold rooms. So how can you improve your ability to sell more upgraded room types?

Buy Now, Pay Later pricing boosts the perceived value of premium rooms. A high-ticket room split into more manageable payments makes the upgrade feel more attainable.

By advertising more accessible room rates, that “never-in-a-million-years” groan flips into an enthusiastic email to the boss requesting time off. Customers won’t be scared off by the sticker price, but will see the total split into more enticing installments.

BNPL is a powerful hotel marketing strategy with low risk

Buy Now, Pay Later is also a boon for the bottom line. While other marketing strategies require significant investment, offering BNPL is relatively low risk for a hotelier:

  • BNPL doesn’t strip any margins or commissions from your booking revenue
  • Payment issues are handled by the BNPL provider, meaning no increase in customer support on your end
  • Since you’re paid upfront for the booking, any snags in the customer’s repayment plan are also managed by the BNPL provider

Adding Buy Now, Pay Later to your hotel’s marketing strategy is a cost-effective way you can build your brand and boost your bookings.

Hospitality brands love Buy Now, Pay Later.

For hotels, BNPL is an effective way to captivate unanswered wanderlust or nab a much-needed weekend visit with relatives. “Buy Now, Pay Later has already proven its value across other travel categories,” says Uplift CEO Brian Barth. “We have no doubt it will prove just as popular with consumers shopping for hotel stays.”

Highlighted research:
[1] Uplift partner marketing test: Uplift vs. Purchases made using another form of payment
[2] Uplift partner marketing test: Uplift vs. Purchases made using another form of payment
[3] Uplift partner A/B test