Travel firms at risk due to inefficient payments systems, says eNett

Travelport joint-venture eNett has warned the travel industry risks being left behind if it does not adopt new forms of payment methods.

The firm has carried out research among 1,500 respondents in the global travel sector and found that new more innovative forms of payment are not being embraced.

The findings of the research, conducted in tandem with PhoCusWright, will form the basis of eNett Mastercard whitepapers entitled “The Future of Travel Payments”.

A webinar is scheduled to take place today based on the key trends highlighted in the reports.

ENett said all types of travel firm are facing challenges around payments which are impacting on their ability to compete.

The research highlighted the need for the industry to look beyond standard payment fees and take a wider view of the costs including manual processing, reconciliation and reporting, foreign exchange, delayed cash-flow, fraud, and supplier default.

ENett said “hidden costs are creating an unnecessary burden at a time when travel suppliers are already under relentless pressure to cut costs and increase margins”.

The firm claimed smaller agencies with turnover between $1 million and $5 million are having to employ one full-time member of staff to manage payments while larger organisations have an average of 16.

Additionally it claimed 40% of respondents said agents were losing out on unpaid commissions, with many using inefficient procedures to recover payments that cost between 10% and 15%.

Anthony Hynes, managing director and chief executive of eNett International, said: “The travel industry continues to face a tough climate.

“A business’s ability to deliver and succeed in this environment will be dictated by how well-placed it is to control costs, minimise risk, utilise its data and ultimately enhance revenue.

“Deploying innovative new technology can help deliver the changes needed in a simple and straightforward way, meaning agents and tour operators can focus on doing what they do best – meeting and exceeding the expectations of your customer.”

In August 2012, MasterCard Worldwide and eNett International signed a partnership agreement to provide innovative payment and reconciliation solutions for the travel industry through the use of Virtual Account Numbers (VANs).

VANs eliminate the need for physical cards and can alleviate the challenges identified in the report by moving agents to one single payment platform which generates a VAN for each transaction needing to be processed.

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