How the Best Western Gold Rush Inn Moved Off Paper Credit Card Authorization Forms & Became PCI Compliant
Danielle Pfeifer has been the General Manager at the Best Western Gold Rush Inn in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada for a bit more than a year. Acquired by its current management in 2008, the property has developed a strong reputation among locals and tourists alike for being one of the best hotels in town. With a diverse set of clientele including locals from the territory that come to avail themselves of the in-town amenities to governmental organizations and tourist companies, the Gold Rush Inn retains a high occupancy rate year-round despite its northerly and remote location.
“We’re a fairly busy property and average an 80 percent occupancy rate throughout the year,” said Pfiefer. “Given our normal clientele that stay at the property, we are constantly processing credit card authorizations for large groups and individuals alike,” she continued.
However, Pfiefer recognized that the way in which the Gold Rush Inn historically processed these credit card transactions presented a couple of key issues.
“We used paper credit card authorization forms for quite a while, over time it became clear this was a problem for a variety of reasons,” she said. “First they were not PCI compliant, meaning if we had an instance of chargebacks or fraud it would be very hard to win that case. However, our real concern was data security. We were very aware that a binder full of paper forms containing guest credit card and other sensitive data was not the ideal way to capture information and presented significant security risks,” she stated.
“Additionally, the process of getting paper forms completed was fairly cumbersome itself. We would send off the form via email and then they would have to print it out, sign it, scan it and send it back,” Pfiefer continued. “This was a big barrier for a lot of our guests as they would often be on the road when they needed to fill out the authorization form.”
With these issues in mind, the General Manager was keen to keep an eye out for convenient solutions that could prevent compliance problems and make life easier for both staff and guests.
Canary’s PCI Compliant Solution for Best Western Properties
Pfeifer learned about Canary’s Digital Authorizations solution from a Best Western newsletter that is sent to all of the properties under its brand.
“My interest was piqued the moment I found out about Canary’s online solution for credit card authorizations,” said the General Manager. “It seemed like exactly what we needed to deal with our security and convenience issues. And the fact that it is endorsed by the Best Western corporate office made me feel confident in reaching out to the Canary team to learn more.”
Pfeifer scheduled a quick call with the Canary team to see how Digital Authorizations worked firsthand and after a brief demo decided the Best Western Gold Rush Inn needed to implement the solution as quickly as possible.
“I was very impressed with what the Canary team showed me and realized implementing Digital Authorizations was a great opportunity to improve the guest experience and ensure we were PCI compliant,” she stated.
Putting an End to Chargebacks
Upon introducing Digital Authorization solution to their payment process, a variety of issues were immediately alleviated — chief among them, the PCI compliance and guest convenience problems that were the main drivers in implementing Canary. However, happily, chargebacks also ceased.
“We haven’t had any chargeback disputes with guests since deploying Canary at our property, which used to happen five or six times per year. There were a variety of reasons they would occur,” said Pfeifer. ”Someone would book a room for someone else and not recognize the charge or there might be some element of human error since all of the forms were filled out by hand. And of course, on occasion we would get hit with friendly fraud in which someone books the room and then would dispute it later for some unknown reason. None of this has been an issue since moving off paper forms and onto Canary,” she continued.
The General Manager’s Verdict on Canary Digital Authorizations
The Gold Rush Inn’s General Manager pointed to Canary’s ease of use as one of its best selling points and said that staff found the solution incredibly easy to use. The rollout of the solution happened quickly and staff were able to start using Digital Authorizations immediately.
Once everything was set up, Pfeifer and her staff noticed a significant decrease in the amount of time it would take to get authorizations completed.
“Digital Authorizations saves us tons of time,” she said. “On average it took about half an hour for us to process a credit card transaction with paper forms, given all of the back and forth that we would have to go through with our clients. Now, we have authorizations completed in minutes. It’s really helped our staff be more efficient.”
Guests also loved the change.
“We’re way up here in the north of Canada and in many ways a lot of the business tools people regularly engage with are pretty archaic. I’ve had lots of guests and group coordinators comment on how much they preferred working with a digital solution. It really helps us meet modern guest expectations,” said Pfeifer. “I highly recommend Canary to any other hotel that wants to end chargebacks and provide a solution their guests will love.”