August 28, 2020
Travel Agency & Airline Payments Blog Series
Is the travel industry missing a trick by letting B2B payments fall through the cracks?
I believe so. And therefore, it’s time to talk about a missed opportunity when it comes to suppliers thinking about B2B travel payments. Specifically, that agents and airlines should be aligning their B2B payment strategies to support the focus on retailing and the necessity to adapt to the “merchant model”. Here are my thoughts on the subject:
Over the years, technology has changed the face of travel in many ways. Changing the customer buying and payment experience, fostering increased competition globally with the rise of online retailing and enabling travel companies to better understand their customers and enhance the end-to-end traveler journey.
As the travel distribution landscape has changed, so too has the business model of the travel suppliers working within it. Over the years, we’ve noticed that both airlines and travel agencies have a keen focus on adopting the retailing model to give their customers the best possible experience (and rightly so), including shoring up their B2C payments processes. However, only focusing on this aspect of how they do payments, ends up leaving a gap in their business strategy when it comes to how they transact with each other. For travel agents, this means having a solid strategy on how they pay suppliers once they have received payment from customers. And for airlines, this means not only considering the best way to accept payment from their customers, but also from their agents too. Not thinking about this aspect of the way they do payments, ultimately has a negative impact on the end customer they’re trying to serve in the first place.
To successfully operate the retailing model, travel agencies have identified the need to control the payment transaction. This means adopting the “merchant model” so agents can still deliver the customer experience that allows them to remain competitive and retain customers.
Some airlines have already identified the impact to their business and customers’ experience from the way they receive B2B payments; and are now linking payments with their distribution strategy. However, this needs to be considered more widely across our industry. When both parties begin to appreciate the impact from the missed opportunity of working together, they can begin to have constructive commercial discussions and ultimately agree on a payment strategy that benefits all parties in the travel value chain. And now, as the travel industry begins to recover from the various Government-imposed travel restrictions associated with COVID-19, it has never been more important to have these conversations.
eNett is committed to working with airlines, travel agencies and other stakeholders to provide travel payment solutions that benefit all participants in the value chain. We see this missed opportunity as a very important topic and therefore would like to keep the conversation going.
So, over the coming weeks, our Airline Partnerships team at eNett will be discussing various angles on this topic, expanding on the limitations of the current B2B travel landscape, diving deeper into how airlines and agents can work together to benefit both parties, and ultimately how they can leverage payments to optimise their customer’s experience with the ‘merchant model’.
Look out for their blogs on our website and social channels.
About eNett International
We’re B2B payments game changers. Our products are innovative. Our service is fast. Our customers’ transactions are safe. And we’re easy to deal with.
We listen to our customers and fix things that should work better. Our payment solutions provide a better experience and help them grow.
eNett’s Virtual Account Numbers (VANs) allow travel agencies to generate a unique 16-digit Mastercard number used to pay travel suppliers quickly, efficiently and with less risk. A unique number is used for each booking or payment transaction, so VANs are a secure way to pay and be paid. And they’re welcome anywhere Mastercard is accepted online.
We’re majority owned by Travelport, and our VANs are seamlessly integrated into its Travel Commerce Platform.
Further enhanced by our global banking services partner and shareholder Optal, eNett’s fast, easy and safe payments solutions are solving the payments challenges of leading travel agencies around the globe.