Looking to Gain a Competitive Edge?
Customers expect travel companies to provide low prices and flawless purchase experiences. An American Express whitepaper report, Outdated Payment Processes Hinder Travel Company Growth, suggests travel companies could better meet those needs by eliminating waste and inefficiencies associated with outdated, manual payment processes. To flourish, travel companies must be competitive. Designing a seamless and effective payment process is one way to stay at the head of the pack.
According to the findings in Outdated Payment Processes Hinder Travel Company Growth, both business and pleasure travel are on the rise. Travelers expect online travel purchases to be as efficient as their other online shopping purchases. The American Express report points out that travel companies that cannot offer reliable transaction processes lose business, every time.
A purchase experience must be user-friendly with regard to its front- and back-end features. The American Express report delineates that most travel companies have focused, almost myopically, on the front-end aspect of their operations. While strong marketing campaigns bring in business, customers flee if their overall purchase experience is flawed. As noted in the report, "To compete today, travel companies need to have seamlessly connected business infrastructure that allows them to deliver the best deals, at a great price, the moment travelers decide to make a purchase."
Expenses Associated with Manual Payment Systems
An October 2013 travel spending report from PhoCusWrightiv showed that more than half of all traditional travel agencies, and nearly 40 percent of online travel agencies, manually track bookings, invoices and accounts receivable. These manual methods can create inefficiencies, result in potential errors and cost your company money—paying people to manually enter this data is expensive. "The high rate of error is exacerbated by the complex purchasing environment," said Jessica Patel, VP of Travel Industry Sales for American Express. "By automating their payment process, travel companies can pull resources away from the back office, and focus on better servicing customers and meeting their travel needs."
Manual payment methods can also lead to fraud. "Fraud causes the most concern among companies with a major online presence—namely OTAs, airlines and larger firms," notes the PhoCusWright report. Furthermore, it can be difficult to identify fraud or payment errors until late in the process, due to the lack of transparency associated with manual payment processes.
The Benefits of Adding a Manual Payment Process
The travel marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive. The report concludes that by automating payment processes, firms gain much needed transparency, improve their reporting capabilities, increase efficiency and reduce waste.
Updating your payment process could help your firm capture the competitive edge you are seeking.
Click here to read the American Express whitepaper report Outdated Payment Processes Hinder Travel Company Growth in its entirety.
Written by Lisa Stickler, staff writer for Groups Today magazine.