New research unveils Europe’s travel industry shifting to alternative payment methods

October 7, 2016

Singapore, 6 October 2016: New research carried out by market research firm Phocuswright, co-sponsored by eNett International, reveals support for alternative payment methods have doubled in the past three years1. Virtual card or Virtual Account Numbers (VANs) lead the charge with nearly 70% of travel companies surveyed supporting or planning to support. Compared with just 36% in 20131, this represents a significant shift away from traditional payment methods and an uplift in innovation across the industry.


Phocuswright surveyed travel companies across Europe, revealing a travel landscape embracing new payments technology. VANs have firmly established themselves as the number one choice after traditional payment methods, with the research predicting they may even overtake EFT and cheque payments overall in the next few years2. For larger travel companies3 VANs have already overtaken traditional methods, with 71% supporting VANs, compared with EFT (62%) cash (52%) and cheque (42%). And when it comes to paying hotels and accommodation, travel companies, regardless of size, cited VANs as the most popular method of payment (24%), second only to traditional credit cards.


However, the research also highlighted that there was still huge opportunity for travel companies to use technology to solve payment pain points and increase efficiency. Over one in four (27%) continue to track payments and commissions manually. Smaller agencies4 spend 12 hours a week on manually processing payments, with larger agencies dedicating at least four staff spending 16 hours a week. With solutions available that seamlessly integrate with booking platforms to automate the process this represents ~€215 million5 unnecessary annual wastage by European agencies.


eNett Managing Director and CEO, Anthony Hynes, said, “The research illustrates how advances in payments technologies are causing a significant shift in payment habits. More and more travel companies are realising the cost and efficiency benefits alternative methods can bring, all by simply changing the way you pay. This is just the start of the FinTech revolution in B2B. I am confident that over the coming years we will see a landscape dominated by innovative payment methods, with VANs challenging traditional card payments and providing a frictionless experience for agencies and suppliers alike.”

ENDS

1. Findings compared with Phocuswright payments unsettled report, 2013, Western European respondents
2. Assumed on-going upwards trend of travel companies’ already supporting or having plans to support virtual cards - 36% in 2013, 70% in 2016 (eNett analysis of research).
3. Agencies turning over >10M
4. Agencies turning over <10M
5. eNett analysis of PhocusWright Payments Unsettled Report 2016 and IATA

 

About eNett International
eNett International simplifies the complexities of payments by connecting travel industry specialism with payments expertise.
We pioneer innovative B2B payment solutions that reduce risk and facilitate even more travel content, at a lower cost. Easily integrated into existing travel booking workflows, our payment solutions deliver financial, data and efficiency rewards for travel agents and industry suppliers.
Our secure Virtual Account Numbers (VANs) enable travel agencies of all sizes to automatically generate a unique MasterCard number and pay their suppliers from directly within their booking flow. And our exclusive, long-term partnership with MasterCard provides access to the world’s fastest payments processing network and 35.9 million payment locations worldwide, wherever a supplier accepts MasterCard online.
We are majority owned by Travelport, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and our VANs are seamlessly integrated into its Travel Commerce Platform.
Further strengthened by our global banking services partner and shareholder Optal, eNett is building a reputation for trusted and practical B2B payment solutions for the travel industry and beyond.

Methodology
Phocuswright, the travel industry research authority, carried out surveys and in-depth interviews with more than 250 travel companies across Europe.

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