May 21, 2020
For all of us tracking the impacts of the pandemic, you’d be well aware that the travel and tourism industry has been significantly impacted. But, while this new landscape we find ourselves in is undoubtedly challenging, our industry is responding creatively, not only from a business perspective but in supporting global communities and relief efforts too.
So, how is the industry responding?
Fighting for the future
Through its newly launched ‘Tourism Recovery V’ initiative, Trip.com is offering consumers to pre-pay for ‘very good deals’ on attractions and hotels so that they can shore up bookings when travel resumes. Not only does this provide a convenient booking experience for consumers, but it supports the company’s travel partners where they need it most at the moment: their cash flow.
Agoda responded to a surge in the number of contacts for booking adjustments and cancellations with a new product extension it calls ‘EasyCancel’. The feature allows participating partner hotels and properties worldwide to offer their guests greater booking flexibility and the option to cancel up to 24 hours before arrival. EasyCancel was developed in less than two weeks and showcases great cross-team collaboration between Product, Partner Services and Customer Experience Group departments.
Meanwhile, Expedia Group has reviewed its own business operations, dispensing with many of its usual processes, including quarterly goal setting. Instead, it is urging its people to do all they can to support the immediate needs of travel partners; acting, where possible, to aid their survival. To achieve this, the company is redeploying staff working on longer-term projects to support emergency efforts to keep providers afloat and maintain communication with concerned customers.
Similarly, at eNett, we are encouraging our own teams to go above and beyond in supporting our customers through this unprecedented storm. We’re redeploying members of our team to help process increased refund dispute enquiries, keep payments processes running smoothly and generally support those who are experiencing severe pressure or uncertainty. With the main goal to help our customers bounce back in a strong position as soon as travel picks up again.
Giving back despite disruption
Many in the industry are also mobilising to support wider pandemic relief efforts. For example, Trip.com is again doing its part, donating one million surgical masks to countries tackling coronavirus, with these life-saving provisions being sent around the world to South Korea, Canada, the UK, Australia, Serbia and beyond.
Hotels across the board have also donated free accommodation to key workers during this time. From guest houses to some of the biggest names in the five-star luxury scene, despite the challenges facing travel, hundreds of businesses continue to step up to support their communities.
At eNett, we’ve partnered with The Care Project Foundation to support Thai communities, elephants and their carers. The pandemic’s ongoing impact on tourism has resulted in many elephant camps in Chiang Mai ceasing operation, leaving elephants stranded in villages and their carers unable to work. Our team is fundraising to provide valuable support to the animals and equip local communities with the tools and knowledge to live alongside them responsibly and productively. This forms part of our wider CSR programme ‘Repay the eNett Way’ to support the communities most impacted by tourism.
The road ahead
In spite of the current challenges in travel and tourism, what is certain, is that the continued health of the industry is key to many economies around the world. In fact, it’s one of the most effective ways to build thriving communities and reduce poverty. But to do this, it needs a strong, synergistic sector that is well-represented throughout the consumer journey, from OTAs and travel agents to experience providers, accommodation and transport.
It’s essential that our industry continues to fight to safeguard jobs and travel options for end-travellers. While challenges will still remain, this will help give our industry the best chance of emerging from this disruption with the resources in place to meet consumer travel demands in the future.
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.