Hotel group allows guests to settle bills through M-PESA

Sarova Hotels, Resorts & Game Lodges, in partnership with Kenyan telecoms operator Safaricom, will now offer guests the option of settling their bills through the M-PESA money transfer service.M-PESA

This follows the signing of an agreement between Safaricom and Sarova Hotels after the successful conclusion of a month-long pilot project.

Sarova Hotels claims that it is the first hotel chain globally to implement mobile commerce into its operations. The M-PESA option gives guests the flexibility of settling bills from the various restaurants, to making accommodation payments to ordering flowers into their rooms.

This agreement between Sarova Hotels and Safaricom provides both a reliable and convenient avenue for guests to settle their bills said J.S. Vohra, Sarova Hotels Group managing director.

Speaking at the launch, Safaricom chief executive officer Michael Joseph welcomed the partnership with Sarova, saying it was in tandem with the company’s strategy of improving the utility of phones used on its network and coming up with solutions that are relevant and responsive to the needs of its customers.

“Since launch in March 2007, M-PESA has evolved beyond money transfer into a total mobile commerce solution. With this new service, we are bringing the benefit of secure, real-time transactions to the hospitality industry. We are bringing convenience to customers’ palms as they can book and pay for hospitality services from the convenience of their living rooms. We welcome our subscribers to take advantage of this new service,” said Joseph.

The partnership with Sarova presents growth and a key win for an M-PESA functionality that has already been taken up by a growing number of the country’s utility firms, bus companies and even airlines. With M-PESA’s subscriber base having crossed the 10 million mark, and still growing, the service has taken off in a major way as a bills’ payment platform.

M-PESA does not require users to have a bank account. Account holders purchase electronic funds at M-PESA agent outlets and send the electronic value to any other mobile phone user in the country, who may then redeem it for conventional cash at any M-PESA agent outlet.

According to its website, Sarova Hotels currently has over a thousand rooms in eight hotels in East Africa.