P.E.I. golf courses embrace mobile payment options to attract Chinese tourists
P.E.I.’s Finest Golf is picking up on the WeChatter and catering to the cashless Chinese consumer in Atlantic Canada. The three golf courses on Prince Edward Island run by the provincially-owned company are now offering mobile phone payment options WeChat and Alipay in hopes of spurring more tee-offs by tourists. The Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island (TIAPEI) initialized a growth strategy in 2017 to tap into the Chinese travel market and this goes hand-in-hand (or shall we say phone-in-phone) with understanding the preferred habits of the Chinese consumer.
“We thought it was an interesting solution for Asian guests, so they can use a form of payment they are familiar with,” says Ryan Garrett, the general manager of P.E.I.’s Finest Golf. The three golf courses owned by the provincial government (Brudenell River Golf Course, The Links at Crowbush Cove and Dundarave Golf Course) now all have POS terminals accepting payments made from golfers’ phones. In China, 90 per cent of transactions are completed via Alipay or WeChat. With Chinese students making up 10 per cent of the international students at the University of Prince Edward Island, going cashless may see an increase in profits for P.E.I.’s Finest Golf.
“There’s a little camera on the back that picks up the QR code on the person’s phone, and it’s done. It’s even easier than our credit card machines,” says Garrett, who notes the fees for the three terminals used at the courses are on par with MasterCard or VISA. MotionPay Technologies Inc., the company that supplies and services the terminals, has reps based in Halifax. Since introducing WeChat and Alipay payment options to the Canadian market in 2017, they now have more than 1,500 clients across Canada, ranging from local corner stores to luxury brands like Pandora and Westin Hotels.
With the Chinese government loosening travel restrictions for its citizens, the number of independent Chinese travelers is on the rise and TIAPEI wants to tap in by having customers not tap at all (there are more than a billion WeChat users worldwide). “We are hoping it will turn into a bigger part of our business,” explains Garrett.
Tourism is a big deal for P.E.I.: the industry provides more than 7,700 jobs and contributes 6.4 per cent of the province’s GDP.