January 25, 2019

2018 was a rollercoaster ride for the travel industry. From continued airline failures, Brexit uncertainty and the growing use of digital technologies such as AI – travel companies have seen their fair share of ups and downs. The landscape in which travel agents operate has been continuously changing. With this in mind, I wanted to explore a few likely trends and predictions that travel firms should take note of this year:

1. Experiences will become a bigger part of travel agency offerings

Despite the common belief that the role for “bricks and mortar” travel agents is waning, figures from Mintel has revealed that the rise in demand for expert advice is contributing to their revival. Some travellers are becoming overwhelmed by the volume of options available to them online, attracting them to travel agents who offer tangible experiences like VR tours, allowing customers to visualise their holiday before purchase. According to Mintel, 59% of millennials would pay extra for a holiday tailormade to their preferences. OTAs are also offering a wider range of experiences than ever before. For example, Ctrip has now gained a dominant position in its home country, China, by successfully meeting the increasing demand for independent and customised travel, as opposed to package holidays. This trend is only expected to rise in 2019 as OTAs continue to take the industry by storm.

2. The competitive landscape is changing

OTAs are no longer competing with just one another- their biggest threats now come from the likes of Google. As recent comments from the Expedia CEO have demonstrated, Google’s key advantage is the prominence of its search engine, and the grip it has on consumers. The search engine has been very active in recent years, building its own travel offerings, including flights, hotels and tours. The travel space will therefore continue to be extremely competitive, and those that are able to offer the best customer experience will come out on top.

3. The importance of AI & new tech will continue to grow

Technology will continue to be a major factor in all global markets, including the travel industry. AI was a key player in travel during 2018 and will continue to drive successful OTAs into 2019, as the world becomes increasingly connected. The vast majority of travellers will have access to digital assistants or some form of AI through their mobile devices, thus new technologies are creating massive upheavals in customer expectations. Amazon is an example of a company capitalising on new tech to target consumers. Their seamless “one click” payments technology gives consumers from all over the world the flexibility to make transactions with the touch of a button in any preferred currency. The technology even allows Amazon Echo owners to make purchases with a voice command. By taking the pain out of the payment process, and reducing the possibility of shopping-cart abandonment, Amazon is at the forefront of driving customer experience. I expect to see an increase in footprint from Amazon in the travel industry in the years to come.

4. Cultivating workforce engagement to match the demand for customer experience

Whilst customer demands are shifting from monetary value towards a customer-centric experience, workforce dynamic is also changing. In an ever-changing digital environment, with multigenerational employees, it’s important to be able to engage and educate them to deliver the best results. One way of achieving this is to ensure your business has a purpose beyond commercial success, and actively involve your employees in delivering towards this purpose. This increases employee engagement, which in turn improves their delivery for your customers. At eNett, our “Repay the eNett Way” programme gives employees the opportunity to contribute to the wider tourism community and work together to support people living in high growth travel destinations.

5. Travel suppliers will take a closer look at payment options

The progressive rollout of IATA’s Transparency in Payments (TIP) initiative has encouraged airlines to more closely consider the end-to-end payments lifecycle, and in some cases establish their own payment strategies. This has also extended to accommodation providers, who are in a similar fashion evaluating the methods by which they prefer to be paid. Every form of payment offers its own cost, benefit, and risk profile for each party in the value chain. Furthermore, some factors of cost and complexity may be hidden, including indirect costs associated with some forms of payment. I anticipate that in 2019 and beyond, the travel value chain will pay more attention to the intricacies of payments processes – and work with each other to develop innovative payment solutions that benefit all parties.

2019 is shaping up to be another exciting year for the travel industry. In such a dynamic industry, it’s hard to predict exactly what lies ahead, but by focusing on customer experience and investing in technology, travel businesses will remain competitive and capitalise on the growth the industry continues to achieve.

More Blog Posts

14 August 2019

How are travel brands staying relevant this summer (and beyond)?

The European summer is well under way. During a time when travel bookings are rife – especially in the UK, which has been coined as the ‘year of the last-minute summer’ for getaways – it’s important for travel companies to stand out from the crowd if they want to capitalise on the boost in demand. However, with the travel industry becoming more competitive than ever before, this begs the question: how do you stay relevant?

Read more

25 June 2019

eNett 10 years on: A decade of redefining payments

Cast your mind back to 2009, the year Spotify and Twitter became mainstream. When the phrase ‘there’s an app for that’ took off, thanks to the explosion of apps on iPhone, Android and even Blackberry. 10 years ago, also marks the point in time when eNett International entered into a joint venture with Travelport and Optal, which has been a key enabler of the growth and success we’ve enjoyed to date, and the start of our decade as a disruptor.

Read more

19 June 2019

How hotels can solve payment challenges using virtual cards

In our latest “Virtues of VANs for Hotels” report, we outlined the top pain points that hotels are experiencing as a result of payment complexity when using invoices.

Read more

14 May 2019

Our key takeaways from Money 2020 Asia

Money2020 is one of the most influential fintech events across the globe, gathering the world’s decision makers to discuss the disruptive technologies taking hold of the market today and in the future. Read our key takeaways from the event.

Read more

09 April 2019

Protecting your business in the face of rising airline insolvencies.

The increased affordability of air travel is great for travelers, but airlines continue to face mounting pressures. As recently as last week, Iceland’s Wow Air left thousands of passengers stranded after unexpectedly ceasing operations. Read more about why airlines fail.

Read more

13 March 2019

With the 2019 Rugby World Cup on the horizon, how should travel companies prepare for big ticketed events?

Travel businesses around the world are in the midst of selling travel, accommodation and packages to the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Read what your travel agency can do to leverage prominent events and ensure your team is ready.

Read more

14 February 2019

Why travel businesses need to be prepared for further PSD2 legislation.

This time last year the travel industry raised concerns around the process of surcharging being banned under the European Payment Services Directive (PSD2). Later this year there’s still more to come from PSD2. Read about how this will impact consumer and B2B payments.

Read more

05 December 2018

Why travel agents (and airlines!) should jump aboard the VAN wagon

If you work in travel and tourism, you’ll no doubt have heard at least some discussion around the acceptance of payments between airlines and travel agents. Click here to read the view of our CEO Anthony Hynes.

Read more

14 November 2018


According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, five of the world’s ten fastest growing tourism cities are in Asia, putting the region at the forefront of tourism in the foreseeable future. Compared to major western economies, such as the U.S., U.K. and Germany, where GDP grew at less than 2.5% year-on-year in 2017, the APAC market grew at a much faster pace. China’s GDP, the second largest worldwide, increased by 6.9% in 2017, whilst India, rose by 6.6% during the same period.

Read more

26 September 2018

Technology and travel – the past, present and future.

Over the past 20 years, technology has played a role in the growth of the tourism and travel industry. This blog explores recent technological advances and how technologies like big data, artificial intelligence and digital platforms can be harnessed to boost growth and improve the customer experience.

Read more

03 September 2018

Why the travel industry should take a leaf out of Amazon’s book

It’s predicted that Amazon, the $900+ billion tech giant that is revolutionising customer experience , may disrupt the online travel industry next. So what can online travel agents (OTAs) learn from the retail giant to ensure they too do not get left behind?

Read more

31 July 2018

European summer 2018: experience trends are changing travel industry traditions

European summertime is a notoriously busy period for the travel industry, as travellers all over the continent jump at the chance to book flights to seek out sunnier destinations. In the UK, some airports have claimed that 2018 will be the “busiest summer ever”, expecting millions to pass through their doors between July and September.

Read more

25 June 2018

Nine milestones since 2009

Yesterday marked nine years since we started the eNett journey back in 2009. From day one, our aim has always been to shake up the industry by helping travel companies take the cost and complexity out of payments. And the proof is in the pudding, as the uptake for Virtual Account Number (VAN) technology has taken eNett from strength to strength.

Read more

29 May 2018

Our Vision for GDPR

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation is coming into effect on 25 May 2018. eNett believes personal data, privacy and security are of the utmost importance for all. In line with this, we are in the process of making changes globally.

Read more

17 May 2018

How OTAs are navigating the changing landscape of the travel industry

Nowadays, travellers have many options available to them to help choose destinations, compare prices and make reservations independently and easily. Competition in the travel industry is high, and margins are low. It’s clear that online travel agencies (OTAs) can’t do business in the way they used to.

Read more

11 April 2018

How fraudsters are targeting OTAs

Fake hotels are fast becoming a massive issue for OTAs, leaving them out of pocket. And they’re becoming ever more sophisticated and believable too. What can OTAs do to protect themselves from this growing threat?

Read more

22 February 2018

Costing US$21B a year - it pays to know about fraud in travel payments

In 2017 the impact of fraud is estimated to have cost travel intermediaries US$21B. By 2020 the impact of fraud is expected to cost US$25B, driven by both a migration from offline to online, and an expected uptick in the rate of fraud. Understanding fraud and its true impact and cost to travel businesses is the first step to combating it.

Read more

07 February 2018

Future-proofing your business for 2018

Anthony Hynes gives his top four considerations travel companies should be thinking about to get ahead in 2018.

Read more

12 December 2017

A Year in Review for Travel

2017 is shaping up to be a record-breaking year for the travel industry. eNett MD and CEO, Anthony Hynes, recaps of some of the highs and lows over the past year, and ways travel companies can continue the growth trajectory in 2018

Read more

16 November 2017

Tackling Fraud in the Travel Industry

As part of International Fraud Awareness Week, eNett MD and CEO, Anthony Hynes gives his view on how travel agencies can tackle increasing levels of fraud in the travel industry.

Read more

30 October 2017

Key to tapping Asian travel market is payments

As part of International Fraud Awareness Week, eNett MD and CEO, Anthony Hynes gives his view on how travel agencies can tackle increasing levels of fraud in the travel industry.

Read more

27 September 2017

We’re backing World Tourism Day’s drive for sustainable tourism

Travel and tourism grow every year. Many underprivileged communities across the globe are being displaced - especially those in high-growth travel destinations. 'Repay the eNett Way' is our hands-on approach to make a difference in these communities.

Read more

29 August 2017

Great employee experience = great customer experience

A unique value proposition is one thing, the second step you take when launching a business is just as important.

Read more

01 August 2017

How Virtual Account Numbers Simplify B2B Travel Payments

Travel agencies are wasting time and money - it doesn't need to be this way. There is a solution today, it's faster, easier and safer than many other traditional methods too!

Read more

22 June 2017

Eight Entrepreneurial Essentials

From a tiny no-frills office near Heathrow airport, to offices in Asia, Australia, Europe and America just eight years later - what a journey!

Read more