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How to Maximize the Travel Boom

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So you can we are a direct credit card acquirer and gateway with orchestration built into our payment stack been around for about 11 years now six offices around the world having hundreds or so payment methods.

And we service a lot of businesses, but we have a big footprint in travel. I’ve been here for about five years nearly. So I’ve seen that growth and it’s been a great industry to be a part of, and, we offer a bespoke solution for our merchants.

Great. Aaron, tell us about

Profit Room. Here at Profit Room we’ve been around since 2008. wE work with hotels directly on their website booking engine and driving those direct reservations from the hotel websites and everything that comes on the front end. Helping with the guest journey and making sure that your business is represented the way that it should be on brands and helping drive those reservations into the hotels.

Fantastic. Simon, tell us a little bit about Kount.

So Kount are a leading fraud prevention solution. We’re technology first we have a pre integration into the shuttle platform. We’ve been in existence since 2007 acquired by Equifax. A couple of years ago now we’re very much a global business working with over 15, 000 merchants.

Directly worldwide very agnostic in terms of industry. Ultimately, if you’re doing business online there’s likely a use case to Kount, but we do work within airline travel and hospitality significantly.

Great. Welcome guys and looking forward to having this conversation with you. We here at shuttle have seen a lot of interest in the travel market. A lot of travel players in various parts of the chain want to improve their technology and make the experience better for their merchants.

And Alongside those bookings that we’ve, that I mentioned at the start, that increase in bookings, we’ve seen a lot of interest fire up in the world of travel and hospitality in the last 12 months as well. But let’s talk a little bit more about trends and Aaron, I’m going to , come to you first.

I’d love to hear from your perspective, what is happening? What are you seeing as trends over the last 12 months at Profit Room?

It’s a really exciting time actually when it comes to travel because if you look back in the last couple of years There’s been a lot of environmental factors that have played into to travel and tourism and we talk a lot about the pandemic and what happened pre pandemic post pandemic within the pandemic But it’s not the only factor that is coming into play these days we have a lot of things going on, inflation War, also the pandemic supply shortage when it comes to different things so there’s a lot of things that are going on at the moment and it’s ever changing.

There’s lots of problems or rebounds, effects from all of these things that are happening in the world today when it comes to travel. What’s really interesting to see, I think from my perspective, given all of these things, especially, the likes of the inflation and so on.

You would think that most bookers are going to be more conservative when it comes to travel, that they’re going to really be skimping on their travel or really think about how much they’re spending and how they’re spending it. But we’re actually seeing the opposite kind of effect. People now they’re not really worried about splurging out on travel.

In fact, they’re going the other way and saying You know what? We’ve got the opportunities right now. Let’s travel. Let’s live it up. Even if we have to spend a little bit more than what we can actually afford. And that’s where it’s going. The type of travel has changed though. People before, a couple of years ago, they would, book a room in a hotel and then they would go out and look for what they’re ever…

Do they want to do and what’s around in town people now are actually looking for destinations They’re looking for experience and activities. So when they’re booking their travel They’re not just going to look for a hotel that they can get a good price for the room Maybe breakfast included they want to go to a destination and they want to have a full experience there was a lot of surveys going around this year, and a lot of statistics done on travel bookings.

Over 73 percent of travellers want something outside of their comfort zone. So they’re really looking for an adventure, they’re really looking for something that’s gonna shock their lives a little bit, because… They’ve probably been at home or locked in the apartment for how many months or working from home because the office no longer exists after the pandemic.

So like 73 percent of people is a big amount of people to be looking for that type of vacation. So what we’re seeing is, especially when it comes to direct reservations, people really need To go into their packages and what experience they need to offer because that’s what people are looking for now.

They’re really going into those adventures and looking for destinations rather than just hotels.

I think that’s really interesting, isn’t it? I think people are wanting the opportunity to not only do something a little different, but actually book all of those experiences potentially before they get to the destination or as early as possible, at the very least discover what those experiences might be.

And so giving them the opportunity to book something is open is there, right? And I don’t know if you will. Thinking about doing some of those things, Aaron, over at profit room. You look, you smile, so maybe you are, I don’t know. Tell me.

Yeah, definitely. Packages is definitely part of the, what we offer at profit room and that’s where we shine when it comes to the booking engine and websites.

we’ve also got some great integrations going on at the moment when it comes to activities as well, too. actually capture your outside activities that you offer from the hotel. So maybe, you’re going to Africa, you’re looking to book a safari as well within the package stay, and that is offered by an external system.

So we’re actually integrating that into the booking process so that you’re also booking automatically those activities along with your package and stay at the hotel.

Nice. We’ll come back to some of that in just a moment, Harry, you can go first and actually talk a little bit about some of the trends that you might be seeing since the last 12 months and this increase in travel.

What have you guys seen over at Ecompay? Yeah,

2022, we start to see travel come back into full force, the hockey stick effect, a lot of people called it where the demand was starting to increase, and I think a lot of that’s based on the fact that when people couldn’t travel, they didn’t spend that money that they would use, they saved it.

They put it away and went when we can travel, we will go. And in 2022, we started to see parts of that, and obviously that was hampered by inflation, war, and various other things. But now in 2023, those shackles are less. Not there, but they’re less. And people are starting to go I really miss traveling around the world and doing certain things.

So I’m going to really go for it and, stretch that bit further to get that extra experience. Additionally, I’ve noticed that a few of my… My friends have started to work from home, but not home somewhere in Italy, somewhere nice or wherever. And that’s still, incorporated within that.

So they’re still doing their online works and webinars and and doing zoom calls and so forth. We’re doing it from a beach or from a various locations that’s a really interesting development, and it just means that the volume of traffic in terms of processing revenue is still there.

But the number one thing we’ve seen amongst our merchants is looking at additional payment methods. So you mentioned Americans coming over to Europe a lot more, they’re buying from suppliers, they never have so having that additional sort of payment methods in there and also a certain seal of approval, I think it’s been really interesting.

Google and Apple pay being the most obvious one because, I use Google and Apple pay when I go down the shop. So why not use it online? And that argument has become increasingly strong amongst all people. It’s not just millennials or Gen Z, but it’s everyone, my mum and dad included, and they’re in their 60s.

Yeah, it’s an interesting trend. And the really nice thing is we’re seeing some of these travel merchants really refill their coffers after a tough couple of years. And just one quick one as well. This summer for Australia and New Zealand is the first summer that Australia has been fully open. So any merchants that are specializing in that area are only just getting the full whack of the return. And it’s really cool to see.

Brilliant. Aaron, you can finally get back to Australia.

There you go. Simon coming to you with all of this boom, extra booking more payment volume happening from everyone keen to travel again, you must be seeing some trends in terms of both friendly for fraud and intentional fraud from criminals.

Yeah, absolutely. Those the volumes of orders going through and transactions related to.

Travel and hospitality. Definitely right up there again. I think 2024 will actually be over and beyond pre pandemic levels. So clearly everybody is getting back to going on holiday and maybe even putting more emphasis on, holiday vacation and having fun than pre pandemic.

But from a fraud perspective globally, we do see many differing challenges. Really for a variety of reasons some of that specific to region certain payment types being prevalent in some countries That you know, maybe are still growing out their maturity around ecom and payments Latam for example, you know heavily reliant on payment links which can be shared over text message You know clearly not the most secure payment method and fraudsters generally more often than not, they’re very good at what they do very effective at spotting weaknesses and then targeting at scale, whether that is specific to a region or a vertical.

Traditionally, hospitality bookings has always been quite a big target for fraudsters. I think what bookings hospitality and airlines all suffer with is their reliance often on third party marketplaces completing bookings for them. And on their behalf, they lose some control over their four strategy um, and as a result, they’re unable to deploy this single fraud strategy.

And internally as teams, what we… have seen with COVID is, whilst the numbers are back in terms of bookings, internal staff and headcounts tend to be, lower than pre pandemic. So that should, hopefully see more of a trend coming over to automation of solutions and having a tech led approach to things like fraud prevention.

But, we talked about LATAM emerging markets for payments. Even within Europe, from a trend perspective, we’ve seen the implementation of SCA, which as a result by its design was put in place to reduce fraud. But what it’s seen is fraudsters kind of pivot and maneuver from their traditional methods.

And the scale hasn’t necessarily been there. within travel for fraudsters because of SCA, the general sort of standard credit card fraud that SCA is fairly good at combating, but what they’re seeing is that they’re completing fewer fraud attacks on higher value items and that has, added even more fraudsters to the way of travel given the given the sort of, the instance of travel booking.

Tends to be digital, you’re making that payment. It’s not necessarily a shippable good. It’s a downloadable ticket and also you’re buying it way in advance of actually, The booking or the flight taking place so that leaves a big sort of Avenue Or fraudsters to, take effect.

Within Europe, like I say, SCA, it’s changed how fraudsters are necessarily targeting airlines and booking industry. But whilst the volume of fraudulent instances have reduced, the actual value of fraud has remained the same. Because happening less often, but happening on higher value options.

it’s interesting, isn’t it? We’ve seen more and more fraud protection services come to the market, and yet we still see an increase in fraud because the counter is that there’s more and more fraudsters out there, and despite best efforts it takes a while for people to adopt the right tools and the right practices to actually protect themselves , around what’s going on.

Cool. What I’ve seen happening in the last 12 months is The increase in direct booking. So yes, we have these aggregators, these marketplaces for channels. We have tour operators and online travel agents. But I think one of the key things, and it’s really thanks to Mr. Google. So thanks so much Google, but they’ve opened up the ability for hotels.

To compete, at least in search with some of the aggregators and marketplaces and get their offer out there. And Aaron, I suppose that’s been helpful for you guys over profit room because you can give the hoteliers the tool sets that they need to actually run their own bookings

like I was saying people aren’t worried about booking travel now or spending money on on experiences. But they’re still looking to save their money. They don’t want to flush it down the toilet, so they’ve just shifted the way that they’re actually saving money and most people now are looking for great packages, great deals, great specials online, and they’re searching more and more for those for those good deals.

Online which gives us a unique advantage and why the increase in direct traffic has been so extreme lately because people are really on the search and yeah, like you said, thanks to google they’re searching they’re looking and they’re finding the best deals if you’re giving that to them on your direct website.

So it’s unique Or a new kind of technique of really searching out for the best deals available and not just going directly to your common OTA channel and booking the reservation there, but really searching for that deal is is really helping drive direct revenue to the hotels.

Harry, I’d love you to comment on some of those some of those things that you’re seeing around the world, especially in regards to like local payment methods, where actually the hotel is now able to sell direct and accept payments directly.

As well but do it in a local currency if they’ve got local bookers.

Yeah, it’s really important to have those local currencies people will feel more ease paying in the currency.

They recognize with the payment method they recognize In fact, I know a few travel merchants that use the payment methods or the currencies as a selling tool So they’ll say we have this payment method book a flight with us as opposed to book a flight with us. We have this payment method and it’s a really effective tool and it’s something I recommend to all merchants to use because that’s the sign of credibility to a certain extent for especially new customers.

But more, moreover, it’s about the kind of capitalizing on those new emerging markets. I think Latin America is a really interesting area really hard area to get involved in, particularly from the payments industry, but any industry really. So doing your research on those payment methods, what’s around.

Then using your payment provider, if they can, to facilitate access to those methods and the currencies. I think it’s critical. Asking someone in Argentina to use USD, it could be the reason why they don’t book with you, for example.

Let me slide over to some of these challenges that we might see currently in the market and merchants might be facing.

And I’ll probably come to you, Simon, to ask you about your experience with some of these challenges, specifically fraud. With increased bookings and things like chargebacks there’s the opportunity for… Merchants to face a kind of myriad or an increased volume of these challenges. What have you seen at Kount that your customers have been facing challenge wise?

Yeah, sure. Yeah lots and lots of, challenges and yeah, chargebacks is a fairly new one. Mentioned it already, but SCA in Europe. Whilst that’s cut off some of the pre authorization types of fraud, what that has done is push a lot to more friendly fraud. So chargebacks for holidays is becoming fairly popular.

For a myriad of reasons, some of them almost laughable, where people are. Sold a holiday when they’re looking through the brochure, they see sunshine and fantastic whether they go on holiday and then try and launch a charge back when they get back to say it was raining for the for the entire time that they were there.

But whilst that is rare and almost laughable. There is a new window with chargebacks and I think chargebacks always were that well known with consumers. If I have a problem with a product who would I take up that problem with? I think, a lot of people would automatically assume the merchant that you made the purchase with, but chargebacks open up a new window of opportunity where you can go to your issuing bank.

And make a claim and there’s a widespread belief within the merchant world that consumers have too much of a commanding position within charge backs. So we are seeing especially with COVID people not being able to go on holiday because they’ve got COVID. Maybe some travel businesses, travel agencies not, being able to come out.

cope with the demand of refunds, maybe not having the clearest kind of message around their refund policy. And then, instantly being met by chargeback requests from consumers. This led to, a number of issues. Ultimately, the more chargebacks you get raised as a business the more questions get raised by the banks that are working for you.

And that can lead to a number of challenges. But then internal internally from a chargeback perspective very difficult to maintain. So being able to, cut them off straight from the off we’d count as a preauthorization fraud tool. We’re ingesting chargeback data and it tends to be that if a consumer has completed chargebacks on one product, they will have done it on multiple products.

There is a bit of a belief that it’s a gaming of the system a lot of the time. So being able to identify these known individuals completing chargebacks and you making a decision on how you want to work with that customer can be very important. But yeah, we’ve seen a high a high rise in different types of frauds around travel.

We’ve talked about um, the shopping around of customers and everybody looking for the best price that has led to a rise in the resale of travel tickets online. Thank So a fraudster actually purchasing tickets with a with a stolen credit card or logging into somebody’s account, performing account takeover, purchasing tickets, reselling them online to an unwitting consumer.

And often the only way that consumer realizes they’ve brought a a fraudulently. Issued or resold ticket is when they get to the airport to say to be greeted that they can’t actually get on board of that plane. Number of different issues what we’re also seeing is as well as the resale piece is something called triangulization fraud.

So this is where again, somebody is shopping around for the best. price online. They’re being greeted by a fake website offering an amazing price. Purchasing that ticket as they believe they’re, rightly ordering completing that order. And actually purchasing a ticket for somebody else.

You’ve got this triangulation fraud with the fraudster sat in the middle One individual consumer buying a ticket. They’re actually buying that ticket for another individual who uses the ticket makes the payment to the fraudster that goes and flies on this airplane journey only for the third person who’s actually made the payment for it to, to realize that they’ve got nothing in the realms of what they believe they were paying for.

So lots and lots of different instances, all different types of fraud, all leaving a consumer out of pocket and leaving, a merchant with a fraud record. .

I hadn’t even realized that. that people would be effectively buying and reselling tickets for travel. But of course it happens in other industries all the time. And I guess that’s one of the advantages of going direct as you can to the place where you want to stay or the travel operator that you want to actually travel with Aaron, what is keeping your customers up at night at the moment?

There’s several things I think from our perspective. That is. A bit of a challenge in the industry for now. One of them is the operational side of things. So after the pandemic, and with all of the stuff that’s been going on in the world there’s not as many workers or it’s not as affordable as to keep workers within the hotel.

at the moment. So operationally speaking it’s a big challenge if you don’t have your systems automated. So I think that’s one of the big challenges in the industry. We just don’t have the staff and utilizing the staff that we have for the guest experience rather than, there’s nothing worse than going into a hotel and there’s a receptionist standing at the desk, like typing in every piece of data, taking manual charges.

At the hotel when they get in, they’re like, okay, you have 19. 35 left, like nobody wants to do that anymore. So I think one of the things that we work a lot with hotels is really automating their check in process. Knowing your segments as well is a really big thing, I think, within the industry now. There, there’s so many channels and there’s so many platforms out there that you can really book over. And people are searching everywhere. So I think it’s important for hotels. Nowadays to really target the segment that they’re looking for, it could be corporate travel and it could be leisure travel.

It could be, 20 to 30 year olds or 50 to 60 year olds, depending on what you’re offering has really targeting that segment and how they search for reservations or all those packages is really important at the moment. And of course, the guest journey, I think, is probably the next big challenge there.

It’s so important, I think, that the guest enjoys their experience when they’re searching, when they land on your website, the whole way through knowing what’s on offer and what exactly they’re booking, the policies around what they’re booking. Like I said, I think the days are over where you just book at a hotel and then you turn up three months later and you go in there with your credit card and they like take a picture of your credit card and start putting it through some machine or something.

Those days are gone, like we, we shouldn’t have that anymore. Things like scheduled payments. Having those policies set up so that the guest knows exactly what they’re expecting when they’re going to pay there might be an upfront deposit of 50%. Two weeks before check in date, they get another 30 percent and then the day of arrival, they pay the last installments and then they arrive at the hotel. It can all be automated and it doesn’t require anybody to be doing this manually anymore. When it comes to payments, I think it’s a big problem as well within Within that section, there’s nothing worse than going through an entire process of booking, which with Profit Room is fantastic, because it’s very short and very simple.

But then you get to the checkout, you put in your card details, and for some reason the card gets denied. You can’t find the alternative payment method you want to book with. Maybe it’s not, Apple Pay, whatever it might be, isn’t available on the platform that you’re booking with, especially when it comes to direct reservations.

As you said, in LATAM, there’s so many different alternative payment methods that they use there. Trying to offer that to all of your clients worldwide is a really big challenge and making sure that you capture those reservations. So that’s where Shuttle and platforms like that really come into play because not only can you…

Capture those reservations, but if there’s an issue, you can orchestrate that there’s fallbacks that it’s routed in the right direction to really capture all of those payments around the world and not miss any of those because whatever provider you have isn’t necessarily. Supporting that at the moment.

So it’s a really big challenge. I think payments is a really good one to, to talk about because, at the end of the day, if the payment fails, the reservation fails and you don’t capture that inventory. Really having a focus on that, I think is a super important thing at the moment and how you’re going to make sure you really captivate all of those bookings.

There’s some gold there. I hope everyone listening or anyone listening in the future can take some of that away, but I think you’re right. The kind of experience with travel starts with the search and the booking. And actually for me, that does influence my choice of who and how I book myself.

And I’ve been traveling personally and professionally a little bit. Lately staying in different hotels using different modes of transport and it’s really amazing the experience, the difference in experience when you come to, let’s say, check out or even get onto a train or a plane, like how they deal with you, you might be at a hotel, you’re trying to check out and you’re looking for the one staff member that they’ve got on because they have to be lean and you just need to check out and get out of there, but you can’t until you actually, Give them your key back and they charge you manually, but others, you can drop your key in somewhere and check out online or whatever it might be.

And they can just charge the card on file. It’s so convenient. It really comes down to that customer convenience now and making things convenient typically is actually operationally smart for the hotel as well. I think so it’s been a sort of seismic shift in terms of the experience, but there’s a lot of,

a lot of difference between the good performers and the not so good ones out there right now Harry tell us a little bit just on the payment stuff in terms of how you guys might work with a merchant, a hotelier to actually help them understand the payment landscape and help them accept more Transactions, because I know you do that.

That’s part of what EconPay is great at actually sitting alongside a merchant and helping them accept more payments at the end of the

day. Yeah, the first thing I do is I look at their web traffic, where is it coming from? And then I compare that directly with where their booking is coming from.

And just see if there’s an instant optimization there by adding a payment method because they get, I don’t know, a lot of Dutch visitors to their website, but their Dutch conversion is 0. 1%. I look at their website, they don’t have ideal. You add that and you instantly convert, twice, three times, even four times that traffic.

So that’s a quick win, easy, ready to go. But then the additional thing is also being smarter with how you approach the customers. Like we talked about payment links previously between us, obviously as being an alternative to virtual terminals or moto bookings, where the customer may not feel comfortable giving you their card data over the phone.

There’s also things like IVRs. And this is when the set, the handset of the customer can be used to enter the card data again. So the customer feels more protected, but also so your staff are protected from PCI risk. So there’s lots of different things that can provide extra balance to your overall payment offering.

And I think. Merchants, not just hoteliers and travel merchants need to consider payments as a part of their offering, you do all that work with your marketing to make your website look great, make the holiday look amazing, you get all these best suppliers and the rest of it, and it can all be undone by just having a bad checkout experience, and we all know that it’s a golden rule.

It’s an easy thing. You talk about a lot on LinkedIn, and, that is a really small and easy way of making things a lot easier for you. And we touched on chargebacks in Simon’s piece there. I think that’s a really interesting piece to be, because chargebacks are one of these things that consumers will do for literally anything.

So what you need, and this is where I’ll do an internal plug for us, is a payment provider that is willing to fight some of those chargebacks for you, and to really Deep take a deep dive into what went wrong when you lose a charge back so that you can basically prevent those sort of situations happening again, whether that mean editing terms, conditions, editing, payment flows, whatever it is those sort of little things can be there the marginal gains that people talk about. The the British Olympic team always talk about marginal gains. How can we get that extra two, 3%? And that’s what I think everyone should apply in not just business, but your life as well. How can I get that two or three extra percent from everything that you’re doing?

And payments is not away from that. It’s definitely something you should be using. And broadly speaking, using your payment provider. Go demand things from them, go knock on their door and say, we want this, we need this is a problem, don’t just accept it as the status quo, because we will do it, we just need you to push us in some situations, obviously not us, we’ll do it without asking, of course but some providers, they do need to push and, it’s definitely within your right to do

yeah, absolutely. And I think, the reason that we’re having this conversation, the reason that we’re in the businesses that we are in is so that merchants can actually sell more, right? They, that that’s what they want to do. They want to make more money, but ultimately they need to do that by selling more.

And so if you can increase the sales by one or 2 percent across the board, That actually outstrips a lot of the savings or the hard negotiations you might have around, your booking platform or your payment provider chopping off 0. 1 percent or even, driving down some other costs that you’ve got in the business, actually, if you’re smart about actually creating a great experience and selling more and ultimately, I talked to Simon a little bit about that too with reducing those, reducing the impact of negative sales.

That, that’s what you want to do. You want to drive up conversion and and have more customers at the end of the day. And I’ll just shift this on as we come towards the end of our session today to think about, some takeaways or some things that you guys would have.

Merchants focus on if they want to optimize and improve their processes, some of the things you’ve already mentioned, but I guess maybe if you’ve got one or two or even three things that you’d want people to focus on in their business from your perspective, that would actually make a one, 2 percent difference to their sales.

What would those things be? Maybe Simon, you can go first, but what would you say? What should people focusing focus on or optimize just to really ultimately sell more

So I think it segues nicely into this from the previous conversation as well.

But yeah, margins are often very low in travel at the point of payment. It’s when get things get real from a consumer. it Could be spending two or three thousand pounds of your hard earned money on a holiday, that you’re going to get to do once a year. So it’s a big event for you as an individual consumer putting all of that money and trust into one payment.

You need to make sure that the company that’s taking that money, has got the adequate processes in place to make sure that you’re not at risk for fraud. But then vice versa, the company that you’re making that booking with. If you’re a a hotel and you need to sell, 150 out of your 200 rooms every night to be making money.

Every one of those bookings is really important and to get somebody, cancelling 24 hours before sort of anything like that or be a victim of fraud, it creates a massive impact and at that point of payment there’s a real richness of data. A takeaway would be.

You know at that payment event, you know utilize that data that you were seeing as a business what that can mean Potentially it can be you know a strategy like harry has said around, presenting a certain payment type it can be you know, knowing an individual who’s cancelled on you before and only offering them a You know pay at the point of booking rather than pay at the end of your stay, but just layering in that intelligence and yes, everybody wants to stop fraud, but What we also want to do is identify trust at the same time.

So layering in, solutions and technology to give you confidence and, often fraud can be seen as cost, a cost of doing business online, but switching that mindset and also the mindset that deploying any kind of fraud tool is actually going to increase false positives incur additional internal operation costs for working through those false positives.

Or, decreasing customer experience or stopping, good orders coming through. It really has flipped from that as a, a technology first industry around. Yes, stopping fraud, but identifying that trust. So these marginal gains that Harry talked about and increasing approvals by identifying and giving confidence to your customers.

The right ones that deserve good customer experience, give it to them versus those that shouldn’t be accessing your service at all, or should only access it in a way that you are comfortable as a business as. yEah, just, using the technology that’s out there, layering in, some of the intelligence that you can derive from the online interaction that you’re seeing, this digital persona that you’re able to really home in on when you’re seeing somebody doing business on your website and using that as a way of, increasing revenue.

There’s a lot of technology that can really help businesses grow. It’s. I suppose working through what’s available through, maybe different platforms that you’re using, as a bolt on service, and then, maybe holding some of those third parties that you work with and you sell your goods as well to account a little bit more, making sure you’re working with businesses who have got your best interests at heart, and that can be, them having a a layered fraud prevention solution within their own technology.

Yeah, that’s good. And I like the overarching point that actually building understanding of your customer base and a relationship with them helps you build trust and marry experiences to them. I think that’s really important. And it comes back to that point we were talking about earlier with the opportunity with direct bookings just to know those repeat customers versus new customers.

And perhaps some of those processes that you might want to put in place for the different types of audiences really helps and rewards those those guys that are coming back to book with you again. Aaron from your perspective. What are those things that people can take away? I know you had a good list before but what would be your couple of things that people should walk away with


Yeah I think there’s just a few main points.

n ‘

For me, the best one operationally is always work smart and not hard, There’s so much technology out there available to us these days, really look at your tech stack make sure that all of those pain points that you have within the hotel, within the guest experience, within the checkout session, whatever it might be there’s technology out there to ease those pains.

Really think about that. Make sure you have the right tech stack for your business and make sure that everything works for you. If you’re having trouble with fraud, maybe account can help. If you’re having trouble with payments, maybe e com help can pay. There’s so much out there that you can look at too.

So really make sure that your technology is working for your business and that it’s going well. The second, I think the biggest point, which is always a massive one of mine is knowing your brand as well. So really. Knowing that, your logos, your colors the brand of your website, the brand of your product is really on, on key the whole time from the whole guest experience, make sure that everybody knows what brand that they’re looking at and then it stays with that brand that applies also to follow up emails to maybe email campaigns afterwards.

Abandoned carts, anything like that. All of these products that help within the booking experience or to retain those guests make sure it’s on brand and make sure that you have everything on the brand of your products. The more you improve that guest experience, the more that you have a really nice flow and make sure you do it yourself, make sure you go through the flow, do your whole booking process because it’s going to have those guests coming back to you when they go home.

Those guests are going to say to. Their friends, their family. Oh, I had such a great stay, I booked at this hotel and everything was perfect from the start to the end. It was so easy, I didn’t have to do anything. I got there, they greeted me, took me to my room, everything was done for me.

And that word of mouth is going to go around as well. There’s reviews online that you’re going to get. And the more five star reviews you get, the better it is for your business, the more money that you make. So really make sure you take care of that guest experience and that all of the technology is working for you properly.

Yeah. Awesome. Like that. Harry, what can you leave those listeners with today that would actually make a difference to them?

Yeah, there’s some absolute gems in what Aaron’s just said there, but the one thing I wrote down was don’t settle. The travel industry is a very old industry in a lot of ways, very traditional industry where people still pay for stuff over the phone, even send checks for their holiday bookings.

I know it’s rare, but it does happen. But I think the one. positive. One of the few positives come out of the pandemic is a lot of these companies become more tech savvy, more aware that there are much greater things they can do with their websites and with their payment flows and with their online experience for their customers than simply show a brochure, customer books.

There are so many more things they can do now. And I think the key is to look at partners that can help you do that. But also any partners that you have pushed to get the perfect experience, if you’re getting the just about experience, you should be asking the question, I think the British kind of have this attitude of that will do, when we’re asked how we are.

Lots of people say not too bad, things like that. But I think if the industry really tries to change that and become okay We don’t want, you don’t want to let perfect be the enemy of the good, but you also want to look at how you’ve made things better. And I think the travel industry is no, it’s not absorbed from that.

It’s not just retail that has to keep changing. It’s also industries like travel. So yes, that’s the number one in terms of just don’t settle for. what you have and always look for the things that can make it better. We talked about currencies, payment methods, experiences, that stuff will source itself out as you look at to, look to add all these other payment methods and other technologies that are out there.

But yeah and remember as well that the travel industry is a fun industry. It’s an experience industry. It’s about giving people the best time of their lives for the however long they’re going on that holiday. So I think maintaining that, that wonder. With how you engage with your audience, I think it’s also really important.

That’s great, guys. Really helpful. And from each one of you some great perspective and gems that people can go away and implement. You’re right, effectively travel is a, is about an experience. And as consumers in a digital economy now, our expectations for experience.

Is not only lifted and elevated to a new level constantly, but that there is a expectation across the board, regardless of what we’re dealing with, whether it’s travel, retail food and beverage, whatever it might be, we expect that consistency of because technology has facilitated that.

So thank you so much from Aaron from Profit Room, Harry from Ecompay and Simon. From count and me, myself  Nick Duns  at Shuttle.