Sertifi Says: Reboot Your Thinking About eCommerce to Include eSignatures

  • Sertifi
  • 07.26.11
"Hoteliers have come a long way since the early 2000s," said Doug Rae, Sertifi Director of Sales for Hospitality. "They've fully grasped the importance of eDistribution, eProcurement, and eCommerce. More recently they've become enamored with mobile applications for transaction processing, travel booking and even mobile key room access. What the industry needs to grasp next is the viability of an eSignature platform for hospitality.

"Think of an eSignature platform as today's answer to a Swiss army knife for hospitality sales -- it has the tools needed by virtually every department to fast-track B2B and B2C transactions," he said. "Automating the contract process not only makes properties run more efficiently and at a reduced cost, but it supports a company's 'Green' initiative, streamlines human resources processes, and more quickly puts heads in beds from group and meetings business. Better yet, it's extremely easy to use and costs little to implement."

Scott Anderson, president of High Country Hospitality, a provider of operational, strategic, and marketing consulting services to hotels, mixed-use developments, golf course facilities and shared ownership facilities, said he believes that an eSignature platform would quickly be adopted by Generation X and Generation Y users. This 18- to 32-year-old demographic is the fastest growing segment in America's workforce and spends approximately $200 billion annually on travel. They love instant gratification, are very technology dependent, and have BIG expectations in service delivery. Therefore, asking Gen X or Gen Y customers and/or employees to sign documents electronically is a sure-fire way to get them in your doors faster, either as future guests or new hires.

"Gen Xers and Yers like to do things online quickly vs. their baby-boomer predecessors who prefer reading and transacting in print," Anderson said. "Whether it's vendors targeting hoteliers who prefer to incorporate eSignatures into the RFP and contract process for sales and catering -- because let's face it, it's the Gen X / Gen Yers of the world who are having weddings today -- or human resources execs looking to attract Gen X/Y line-level employees who subsequently prefer to fill out paperwork electronically, the bottom line is business is being transacted quicker and with far less negative impact to the environment."

"Sertifi can quickly help industry suppliers process agreements, which in turn means closing deals faster," Rae said. "In addition, Sertifi has pre-built integration with [NYSE: CRM], the leading enterprise cloud-computing company that is helping hundreds of hotels operate more efficiently with no hardware, no software and no headaches. Hotels working with the platform will immediately benefit by integrating Sertifi to their existing CRM application and by leveraging, Salesforce Mobile, and Visualforce functionality. Website integration increases the ability for hotels to receive executed forms and contracts through in-session signing. Any technology supplier that offers a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform to hotels can immediately begin benefitting from the operational efficiencies that Sertifi provides."

Across the board, Sertifi is reducing the time it takes to get contracts signed by at least 20 percent, resulting in a minimum 10 percent increase in business.

"The list is long of satisfied customers who have achieved a significant return on their investment from Sertifi," Rae said. "By simply rebooting their thinking to incorporate an eSignature platform into their eCommerce processes, hoteliers and vendors alike will be successful in a very short amount of time."


Legalese of eSignatures

Hoteliers questioning the validity of electronic signatures can rest easy knowing there are laws in effect for their protection. In June of 2000, President Clinton signed into law the Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (US E-SIGN ACT) that makes electronic signatures just as legally binding as ink signatures on contracts and documents. In order to avoid each American state from having conflicting laws, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws developed the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). In essence, in the United States, all incompatible state laws are superseded by the ESIGN Act, making eSignatures legally binding in all 50 states.

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