Outdated Payment Processes Hinder Travel Company Growth

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While the travel industry continues to make new gains, consumers today expect travel companies to offer the lowest prices and a flawless purchasing experience to win their business. At the same time, lodging providers and other industry vendors are pushing travel companies for a larger chunk of the profits on their sales. Inefficient manual payment methods could be holding them back from responding to these challenges and opportunities.

Many travel companies manually track all bookings, invoices and accounts receivable. These companies report spending more on staff resources handling invoice reconciliation and payment than on any other payment-related process. They also report having trouble collecting commissions, and one in five say they have lost commissions on as much as 10 percent of their hotel bookings, which researchers attribute to their use of manual accounting practices.*

These shifting market pressures offer a chance for travel companies to gain a competitive advantage over their peers—but only if they can reduce waste and inefficiencies that currently plague their back-end payment processes. Many companies still cling to outmoded manual payment models that, according to one research firm, are “riddled with inefficiencies” and require burdensome overhead—commonly resulting in accounting errors, payment delays and “breakage” in the transaction process and, ultimately, lost revenue.

In the past, these models were tolerable, but to be competitive today, travel companies need to automate manual payment tasks and have access to real-time data about transactions.

This American Express whitepaper explores opportunities and risks faced by travel companies, specifically how outdated payment processes are holding these businesses back, and ways more sophisticated payment processes can help reduce time, waste, errors and fraud to gain a competitive advantage.

*Explore American Express Travel Payments Solutions

* Payment Unsettled: Cost, Opportunity and Disruption in Travel’s Complex Payment Landscape. (PhoCusWright, October, 2013).