Challenges faced by the travel & hospitality industry

Sabrina Ruiz

Segment Marketing Manager Travel & Hospitality – GSV at Worldline

If you work in the travel and hospitality industry and are in the process of defining your business strategy for 2023, you’ll want to hear all about the discussions that took place during Con-X 2022.  This year the event centred on the themes of adapt, pivot and grow and was held in Mallorca on 31st May, bringing together the best minds in travel & hospitality in Europe to discuss the latest industry trends.

Worldline reports on the key points that came out of the discussions.

 

There are four major challenges shared across most of the companies working in the travel & hospitality industry:

  1. The shrinking labour force.. During the Covid-19 pandemic, workers shifted from the travel & hospitality industry to other sectors. This, coupled with the low salaries and the long working hours  makes it difficult to get this labour force back.
  2. Technology adoption. Technology is seen as the enabler to overcome understaffing and maintain the same service level offered to customers.
  3. In an industry where the pre-travelling experience is mostly conducted online, providing a consistent and seamless user experience is key. Removing complexity during the booking process, giving flexibility to users to make changes and cancellations if needed, offering users multiple options when booking and establishing the offer the way the customer expects are some of the topics to consider when defining your online customer journey. Travelling is much more than a flight and a hotel room, it is also an experience shared with your loved ones.
  4. The rise in travel costs that will, no doubt, have an impact on travel figures this summer.

 

The three pillars to define a winning payment strategy for the  industry

The travel and hospitality industry is going through an in-depth transformation. To keep up with this rapid changing environment, it is important to constantly review the service model offered to adapt to customer needs, pivot, when necessary, our strategy, offering and processes to consolidate revenue growth

 

ADAPT to new customer needs

Players that can reduce complexity during the booking process will gain a significant advantage over their competitors. When building your next travel experience you need to consider several elements as  travelling is much more than a flight plus a hotel. Bringing all the necessary elements  in one platform, in a unique travel hub, will undoubtedly  reduce complexity during the booking process. To make this a reality, the different players involved must collaborate and share data using a cloud-based platform. Currently, some players  conglomerate all the customer data but are not allowed to share this data with the different providers involved for legal reasons.

An example of this lack of communication between providers would be a no-show charge due to a flight delay.

In this situation, if data sharing was allowed the hotel would have been advised of the flight delay and would not have implemented a no-show charge.

 

PIVOT to redefine travel & hospitality offerings to the new reality

Uncertainty remains one of the key stoppers for travel booking. More and more travellers are booking their holidays within a shorter time frame to reduce this uncertainty risk. To mitigate this , it’s becoming  necessary to offer flexibility in both changes and cancellation policies. To make this possible, collaborating with partners that can provide secure options to travellers so that they gain confidence is key.

As an example, hopper.com provides price freeze services for flights and hotels for a specific period. This service offers customers more flexibility when deciding their travelling dates, with the peace of mind of always having a fixed price.

Another significant transformation taking place is the merging between hotels and short-term rentals. Short-term rentals have recently experienced an amazing growth. Traditional hotels are pivoting to this new type of accommodations to serve the new business nomads that take advantage of home office policies to combine business and fun and extend their stays when travelling. Some hotels also offer flexible desk facilities to attract people to work from the hotel as a way to  complement their standard accommodation revenue stream.

Related to these new ways of working the whole concept of business travel has been redefined. We used to travel to meet with customers or attend events, but now the main purpose of business travel is shifting to build a common culture. It’s all about getting together, getting to know your peers, socialising etc.

Because of this shift there is an Increase of the number of businesspeople travelling. Professions that traditionally didn’t require travelling at all, now travel from time to time for team meetings, offsites etc.

 

GROW your business thanks to an optimised service model

Digitalisation and process automation are buzz words we  hear all the time. Travel & hospitality companies are reviewing their service models to see how they can be more efficient.  Technology adoption will play a key role in this transformation. Technology adoption is not about replacing people with technology, but about using technology to support administrative and back-office tasks so that employees can enrich their jobs by spending more time close to the customer and working in real time.

With these changes we will achieve the double objective of offering a higher quality service to our customers and improving the satisfaction level of our employees.

 

Conclusion

Now more than ever, travel & hospitality players must anticipate the full recovery of the sector by upgrading their payment infrastructure and invest in innovative new systems. This will help drive revenue and meet the changing needs of customers, who have been experiencing increased digitalisation and demand the most convenient and seamless methods of payment when travelling on holiday or business.

There are five key priorities travel & hospitality professionals should keep in mind when making their choice:

  • a seamless check-in/check-out, fully integrated with PMS
  • implementing biometric payment which reduces fraud whilst enabling contactless transactions
  • modular solutions (which allow companies to pick and choose the options that work for them)
  • AI and machine learning
  • In-app payments for ancillary services such as room and concierge services.

Find out more about Worldline’s Travel & Hospitality payment solution here: WL Hospitality Suite - Dedicated Payment Solution for Hospitality (worldline.com)

 

About the author

Sabrina Ruiz works as Segment Marketing Manager for Travel & Hospitality, Global Sales & Verticals at Worldline.

She joined Worldline in 2019 with over 10 years of experience in business development and marketing, creating value in the tech and payment industry. Sabrina is passionate about professional challenges that imply constant learning and growth. This includes bringing people, businesses and technology together with a focus on digitalization and facilitation of day-to-day delivery in a post-Covid world.

About Worldline

Worldline [Euronext: WLN] is a global leader in the payments industry and the technology partner of choice for merchants, banks and acquirers. Powered by 20,000 employees in more than 50 countries, Worldline provides its clients with sustainable, trusted and innovative solutions fostering their growth. Services offered by Worldline include instore and online commercial acquiring, highly secure payment transaction processing and numerous digital services. In 2021 Worldline generated a proforma revenue close to 4 billion euros. worldline.com

Worldline’s corporate purpose (“raison d’être”) is to design and operate leading digital payment and transactional solutions that enable sustainable economic growth and reinforce trust and security in our societies. Worldline makes them environmentally friendly, widely accessible, and supports social transformation.