March 23, 2017
eNett International, a leading provider of dedicated B2B payment solutions, is calling on the travel industry to enhance its financial and operational processes to free up employees to spend more time with customers.
One-click payments, contactless services and direct mobile billing have revolutionised payments in many B2C industries, but B2B payments in the travel sector are often still handled manually. Technology such as Virtual Account Numbers (VANs) can be used to automate this process, speeding up customer-to-intermediary payments to enhance the customer experience of online checkouts. Automating the payments process also enables employees to take on higher value, more motivating activity with customers.
The report released today explores how improvements in customer experience (CX) can drive business performance for travel companies. Using case studies and expert analysis on the benefits of improving both customer and employee experience, the insights in the report are particularly relevant for leaders in the travel industry. A CX Calculator is also available, illustrating the financial and operational gains that can be achieved.
The research and analysis conducted by leading CX consultants Smith+Co., on behalf of eNett, identifies a number of learnings for the travel industry:
Improving customer experience directly impacts business performance: the analysis reveals that a 5% increase in customer loyalty can boost profits by up to 85%1. Industry analyst firm, Forrester, has found that a one-point gain in the Customer Experience Index translated into extra revenue worth $65 million for an upscale hotel chain2.
Wider choice is the energy behind customer experience: customers are looking for more choice and more exotic destinations. A comparison between the range of destination listings and the number of customer recommendations a travel agent receives, shows that those offering more choice have more satisfied customers who are prepared to share their experience with others.
Streamline internal processes: offering more destinations means expanding the network of suppliers, currencies and security checks required. The research shows that the number of European travel companies accepting payments in more than ten different currencies has doubled from 6% to 12% in the past three years. Companies that rely solely on their bank for international payments could be paying up to 3% more compared to alternative options - a cost which could significantly erode margins3. Technology such as Virtual Account Numbers (VANs) automate these processes, providing an easier, faster and safer way of adding new destinations and locking in exchange rates to avoid currency fluctuations.
Create a relationship business: a direct correlation has also been made between staff satisfaction ratings of their employer within the travel industry and the willingness of customers to recommend the brand. The travel sector is a good example of a market where a fusion of digital processes and human touchpoints can be either positive and harmonious, or problematic. This applies to users’ experience of websites and apps but also to the effectiveness of back-office operations. Critical but time-consuming tasks like payment reconciliation can impact employee motivation and reduce the time available for more interesting and higher value activities such as spending time with customers.
Anthony Hynes, Managing Director and CEO of eNett International says, “In the fast-moving, competitive travel industry, customer experience is an important differentiator for brands and has a direct impact on the bottom line. Leveraging innovative payment solutions like eNett Virtual Account Numbers (VANs) can power an increase in the number of listings and suppliers, driving customer experience and advocacy. Employees throughout the organisation are freed up from manual tasks, enabling them to spend more time talking to customers and delivering the best possible customer service.”