Ask an Expert: Servicing the Hospitality Industry

Ask an Expert: Servicing the Hospitality Industry

As we prepare for HITEC 2015 – the world’s largest gathering of hospitality finance and technical professionals – we sat down with the leader of CSI globalVCard’s hospitality team, Mark Kates. Mark has been with CSI globalVCard for several years, but as you’ll read, his knowledge of the hospitality industry expands beyond his years at CSI.


The hospitality industry is known for extraordinary service. Isn’t that intimidating when it’s your turn to do the servicing?

If you’re from outside of the hospitality industry, I think it can be very intimidating. But that’s not the case for our team. It’s what we live for. I worked in high end hotels and have my degree in hospitality, and when we’re hiring we look for the same.


Why would hospitality training be important for a payments company?

It’s certainly not the work hours that attract a person to the hospitality industry. It’s usually a passion for customer service. That’s the characteristic we look for at CSI because going above and beyond for our customers every day is what really sets us apart.

The training received in the hospitality industry greatly benefits our team members and our ability to project a warmth on the phone when talking with customers and vendors, and genuinely caring about their needs or concerns.

It’s also about understanding our customer’s business. Most of us have worked in hospitality environments and we understand what our customers go through because we lived it too. We’re better able to communicate with them.


When you onboard a new hospitality client, what is their biggest concern?

I’d say there are two concerns: one is control and the other is vendor acceptance.  These are both a big part of why I love my job – we’re always able to turn these around and exceed their expectations.

  1. When it comes to control, I know it’s not easy to give someone access to financial data like payables. CFOs feel like they’re losing control. With our electronic accounts payable system, we’re able to immediately reassure them that we’re not relinquishing control, but in fact are giving them even more control and oversight into their payables.
  2. Vendor acceptance is a favorite of ours. CFOs usually come to us and say, “there is no way you’re going to get 40% of our vendors to accept this payment.” We prove them wrong every time.