Flywire, a company that solves complex payment problems for leading businesses and institutions, today announced the general availability of a new offering for adventure travel. The solution targets the significant inefficiencies and points of friction that exist in the payment and disbursement process in the travel segment for offerings such as experiential activities and tours to exotic locales.
Travel industry analyst Phocuswright estimates that the travel activities market will reach $183 billion globally by 2020. While it represents a massive opportunity for online travel agents (OTAs) and tour operators, the payment process has proven to be a stumbling block when it comes to assuring great experiences for guests. Accepting payments is fairly standard, but adventure travel itineraries often involve multiple tour operators and service providers, many in remote locales. Typically, 70-80% of the funds the OTA receives from guests has to be disbursed to multiple entities over a period of months, often in different currencies.
These factors require OTAs to manage a number of different complexities including:
- Splitting the cost of individual services by guest
- Managing disbursements to tour operators on multiple currencies, across multiple borders, on multiple payment platforms
- Protecting themselves against currency fluctuations between the time of guest payment to disbursement to tour operators
- The need to answer payment-related support questions for end-customers and tour operators around the world
“Adventure travel is a fast-growing opportunity but the payment side of it adds a whole new level of complexity,” said Colin Smyth, industry director of Flywire’s travel segment. “The reality is most OTAs and tour operators don’t want to be in the payments business if they can avoid it. At the same time, they also understand that payments represent an important part of the customer experience. A lot can go wrong if payments and disbursements aren’t handled properly. They can’t ignore it.”
Flywire’s new travel solution leverages the company’s considerable expertise in managing complex payment and receivables processes for business and institutions around the world. It offers OTAs and Tour Operators the key capabilities they need — from initial guest booking and payment through disbursement to tour operators and service providers — to help them capitalize on the surge in demand for adventure travel, while enabling a seamless payment experience for guests – no matter how complex the payment logistics. These include:
- 24/7 tracking of both guest payments and operator disbursements
- Protection against fraud and currency fluctuation risk, especially in exotic locales
- Easy collection and tracking of deposits and handling chargebacks in the event of cancellations
- Efficient disbursements to multiple local entities in different currencies – all from the same platform
- Multi-lingual payment-related support for end-customers.
The solution has been in limited availability since early 2019 and is already being used by over 50 clients around the world including online travel agencies such as Expedia and tour operators including White Desert, Northern Escape and Tropical Birding.
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