Online payment options for Destination Management Company

You have a thriving travel business and have also setup your online presence? Great! It must be heart-warming to see queries coming in magically through your website. The next thing to do is setup a way to accept online payments from your clients. If you are new to travel technology, you could leave this to experts ( or try it on your own. In either case it is only better to have some know-how of it before taking the plunge. 

There may be many questions, in your mind, about the various online payment solutions and you need to analyse clearly on what would be the best payment option for you. As per reports, website s having more than four payment options are likely to have higher sales figure by 12% as compared to those offering only one. This means multiple payment options can enhance more online payment processing and in return mullah for you.

Following are the keys to identify the right online payment solution:

  • Merchant account: Setting a merchant account is the first step towards receiving payments. Merchant account is a bank account that allows a customer to receive payment through credit and debit card.
  • Payment gateway: Payment gateway is a processor which helps in secured transaction of credit card information between the merchant and the customer and also between the merchant and the payment processor.
  • Payment processor: This processor assures secured information and anti-fraud measures between the customer and the merchant.
  • PCI compliance: Payment mode is set in such a way that meets the rules and regulations as per Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
  • ACH payments: It must have ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments options to support electronic credit and debit transfers, allowing customers for transaction through bank accounts for any type of bill or purchase.

Following are the global leaders of online payment solutions.

PayPal: PayPal is considered as the most popular payment options, processing about 11.5 million payments per day in recent times. It’s a secured digital payment revolution processing with 162 million active wallets and which are available in 203 markets. PayPal gives people better ways to connect with their money. It offers an easy solution to send money without sharing financial information and with the flexibility to pay using their PayPal account balances, bank accounts, PayPal Credit and credit cards. It allows customers to get paid in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds to their bank accounts in 57 currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 26 currencies.
Fee: PayPal takes 2.9% and $0.30 per-transaction and has no setup or monthly fees.

Dwolla:  This new online payment option is the competitor to PayPal. It has common features like the PayPal. Recently, it has supported payments to over $ 1 million per day.

Fee: There are no transaction charges less than$10 but it charges$0.25 over $10.

Google Wallet:  Google wallet is the new name for Google Checkout. It is regarded as the updated mode of payment option to send and receive money.

In competition with Paypal, Google introduced Google wallet as online payment solution. Google wallet permits users for safe, simple and has quick transfer to and from your bank account. The options like credit card processing and the ability to send out invoices are the common features of google wallet and PayPal.
Fee: Google Wallet/checkout fees start at 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction for sales less than $3,000. The percentage they charge depends on their monthly sales volume.

WePay:  This is a payment processor which assists internet users and merchants to accept online payments with credit cards and bank account. WePay is also trying to focus on specific user with their newly added e-store page tool and help customers to take payments conveniently.
Fee: WePay charges a 2.9% transaction fee (with a $0.50 minimum) for credit card transactions and $0.30 for bank payments. It does not have any setup or monthly costs.

Authorize.Net: This is one of the popular payment gateways with over 300,000 merchants on its site who utilizes Authorize.Net to accept payment. It is one of the common payment modes for e- commerce website and also the travel portal. For five consecutive years, it has seized the Achievement in Customer Excellence (ACE) award.
Fee: It takes a $0.10 per transaction fee.Authorize.Net has a $99 setup fee and monthly costs of $20.

Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments permit its consumers to receive money using its API (and to send money out via ACH). These days the entire popular crowd funding site uses Amazon payments as their online payment option.
Fee: Amazon payments fees start at 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction for payments over $10.The fee is 5.0% and $0.05 per-transaction for $0.10 per transaction fee.

Stripe:  Stripe is one more payment solution that acts as a merchant account for its providers, helps in handling all PCI compliance and merchant approvals. It provides an excellent payment solution for web developers who would like to integrate a payment system into their projects utilizing Stripe’s robust API.
Fee: Stripe fee is 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction with no setup or monthly fees.

Braintree: It is a popular online payment options because of its features to handle global payment, as well as payment gateway, merchant account, credit card processor and mobile payment processor. It also supports ACH payments and can be used as a payroll system.
Fee: Braintree fee is 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction for qualified cards. There is no set-up or monthly fees.
ProPay offers similar features like PayPal. It has the capacity to receive and send money anywhere in the world and can generate recurring billing and a built-in shopping cart. The added advantage that ProPay has over the others is that it is also accepted by eBay and it can process credit and debit cards on your iOS or Android phones.

A key thing to note is that these global players might not be present in all countries and you will have to check for that beforehand. Through the above information, I have tried to give you a basic familiarity with terminology and various options available in payment industry. If you are going to make a decision soon, I would recommend a detailed discussion with some expert on available payment options in your country.

How to distribute Travel Inventory online?

Today travel operators, big or small, have a desire to move their business online. They know online distribution is the fastest way to sell inventory. It also allows to have direct connectivity with global suppliers. This blog post is lesson 101 on distributing your inventory online.

Following are the steps through which tour operators can sell online -

Step 1 : Get Cloud based Reservation System: Cloud based inventory management systems are on on-demand web-based software applications for travel management companies that allows them to better manage their inventory contracts. Most of the reputed systems, like moxiter, allow you to manage each of your travel products (hotels, transfers, tickets, cruise, etc)
    1. Easy to Adopt.
    2. Access from anywhere.
    3. Save time on rate calculation.
    4. Tracking inventory in real-time.

Step 2 : Digitize contracted rates: Travel agencies have contracted rates for their business which is mostly in PDF format. Once you have got the inventory management system, its time to digitize the contracts that you have with various suppliers. This is the most important step, as you must ensure that the staff responsible for feeding contracts is well-trained for the system and makes absolutely zero error. Going with the optional service of contract-feeding offered by your system provider is recommended.

Step 3: Invite your agent network: With contracts fed and system in-place, its time to get your business online. Invite your agents to try your brand new online reservation system. Travel agents are generally hesitant to change the way of doing business so you will have to clearly outline how it would benefit them.
    1. Receive orders via your site.
    2. Process through your supplier directly.
    3. Efficiently control and manage the system.

Recommended way is to start by inviting 5-10 agents who you have good relations with. Remember that every reservation system needs to be customized according to your business processes and now is the time when you need to get that done. Once satisfied, invite all your travel agents, sit back and relax!

Step 4 : Channel Managers: Your existing business has moved online. Great, now you will reap rewards of efficient operations and short turnaround time. But where is increased direct business? You have a digitized inventory, that is a goldmine you are sitting on. Time to look out for proper channels to sell more or generate new leads. For a B2B Company it is important to channelize inventory through XML, APIs, agent booking tools and also white-label travel booking engine. Options at hand are aggregators and OTAs which come in handy at this point to forge partnerships in geographies you have not existed before.

Step 5 : [optional] B2C website: Your B2B business is soaring and this step is optional. In my interactions with over 150 DMCs, only few have wanted to get into B2C because greater profit-margins come at greater cost. But if you are ambitious and want to have a of your own, here is what you need to do. Get a nice looking B2C website up and running with all the payment options configured. You need to keep in mind that direct customer needs are to be handled with finesse.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you have any questions or want to share your experience of moving your business online please drop a comment below.

When should you upgrade your Travel technology platform

Got a minute? Think about the speed at which technology is changing around you. Last year's gadgets already need replacement. Your cherished photographs and videos now appear 'blurry'. When you are running a business and are answerable to a lot of people, you need to be on top of this change. Any one of these can be detrimental to your yearly plans. Within a short span the technology you use for your travel business can become outdated or it somehow fails to cater to your requirements. Well, that should be a good reminder that you have to upgrade your technology infrastructure. It is a challenging job to look for loopholes in your current IT system but here are a few checkpoints for evaluating your tech platform.

Responsive design: Is your company website built on principles of Responsive design? It allows designers and developers to create website that can accommodate a variety of screen size, panning, scrolling and easy navigation. If you are unable to update any of the cited features then you should upgrade your platform because-
  • With the extensive use of smart phones and tablets in recent times, it has become mandatory to use responsive design to project your website and its service on all screen size. 
  • To attract user’s attention you need to implement responsive philosophy where you can create an ideal path for them to follow. 
  • It is easy to gather information on what device is being used for browsing or the visiting time of the day, their location and their visits how long they’ve been on the site. 

Mobile strategy: Mobile has become an integral part of the travel industry. There is a massive growth of mobile device. It is projected that the total number of people using 'apps' on mobiles is going to surpass desktop and laptop by 2015. Things to keep in mind -
  • Out of every five smartphone users two will definitely use their mobile device to make a purchase. 
  • Mobile users want organized information as per their requirement. Without a dedicated mobile app, its not going to happen.

Day Room Booking: Normally customers plan a trip and look for night stay but the scenario has changed to day room booking for the recent time. This concept of day room is very popular within European and American countries where as this concept is in the early stage in Asian countries. You can upgrade your system to support day room booking as this concept can generate more sales for you because-
  • Day room booking is meant for transit customers. 
  • Meant for customers waiting for connecting flights and refreshing. 
  • Meant for Executive meetings - a new MICE segment?. 
  • No booking fees and also you don’t have to pay the tariff for the entire day. 

Booking segmentation: Booking segregation is increasing as an important tool for the travel platform where you have to opt for individual count and the number of days of the vacation. Here children’s age segregation plays a pivotal role on the charges of the booking in the travel portals. If your system is unable to provide lower charges to children then you need to upgrade. Segregation of booking charges is important because children below 5 years are not charged whereas children in the age group of 5 to 10 are charged full or half that differ with the individual company rules and regulation.

The future of the travel industry will flourish with the drastic changes in technology. So simply by redesigning your website and better browsing will help you to an extent but you need a consistent technology upgradation process to compete online. You will also have to adapt the latest in travel technology just to keep the ensure the current business growth and its about time that you incorporate this in your company policy. The best way would be to go for a SaaS travel software platform (like which ensures that you are always ahead of the curve and ready to run with the latest travel technology.

Indians have always dreamt of travelling to foreign destinations. This fantasy was aided and also experienced through Indian Cinema which has always been betting its fortunes on exotic shooting locations. Until recently, traveling abroad was confined to rich travellers. The reason which was holding the large middle class population of the country from experiencing overseas visit was primarily money. 
But in a recent trent, spike has been observed in the growing number of Indian outbound travellers.

As per World Travel and Tourism Council, Indian tourism industry generates INR 6.4 trillion in 2012 which is equal to 6.6% of the nation’s GDP that year. The future prospect of growth of this sector is predicted to be 7.9% from 2013 to 2023. The buzz of the potential Indian market is attracting the tour operators to increase their sale. This gives India the third rank among countries with the fastest growing tourism industries over the next decade.
Outbound Travellers from India is expected to be 50 million by year 2020.

Reasons for influx of Indian tourist on foreign land

Out bound will grow by 300% by 2020
Realising the potential of India’s market, travel companies have got more reasons to celebrate. Introduction of direct flights from the metros has helped DMC’s to convince customers for international destinations.

New government emphasis on tourism
As per new national policies for the development and promotion of tourism the Ministry consults and collaborates with other stakeholders in the sector for convenient traveling to other countries. This is a two way strategy. If Indians are going abroad then the influx of foreign visitors will also come here.

This will increase overseas tourist in Indian tourism industry.
  • The easy access tourist visa has made traveling overseas more convenient in recent time.
  • Visa requirements vary depending on the nationality of your passport, the length of your stay, whether you will leave the airport, the nature of your trip, your point of entry, and the areas you will be visiting.
  • To successfully get this, you must demonstrate to the consul that you are definitely going to return home after your stay in their country.
  • Employment is not allowed unless it is issued together or in conjunction with a working holiday visa.

High potential market in the early days:  This can be regarded as the beginning of a new travel domain for the tourism industry in India. This will surely build up over time. Indian outbound spending has crossed INR 15 billion by 2011. And it is anticipate that it will increase more.

Identify potential Indian Tourists:
With the rise in income, Experts realize two categories of Indian travelers are growing, at the top end and the bottom end. The current population of India is 1,271,702,542 (1.27 billion) as of January 15, 2015, out of which India's middle class segments the report estimates, will grow from the present 5% to 50% by 2030.
  • As per figure 11.5 million Indians traveled abroad while 740.21 million travels domestically. It is expected that 50 million Indians will travel abroad in 2020.
  • Australia tourism hopes to get 300,000 Indian tourists by 2020.
  • South Africa Tourism Board says India has become one of the key tourism generating nations for their country.
  • Indian tourist arrivals to Thailand crossed the 1-million mark for the first time in 2012.
Key travel destinations will be – Thailand, Australia, South Africa, Singapore, US, Malayasia, China.
Booming outbound countries for Indians are Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, United States, China, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Japan, Turkey, Abu Dubai, Indonesia, South Korea, Macau and Poland. Many of these countries have set their offices in India in order to meet the demand for outbound tours for the Indians.

The Indian middle class has started travelling abroad thereby creating new opportunities. If you as an inbound tour operator happen to serve destinations that are sought after by Indians, then this might be the right time to invest in having a "India strategy". We at moxiter can help you get started with an Indian agent network to tie up with. Time to plan for a bigger pie out of 50million Indian travellers!