Virtual payments take centre stage
While the dust settles following deregulation and the industry gets on with business, enett International is seeing an upswing in interest for virtual payment options as agencies and suppliers look for more certainty in the payment process. In an extensive interview with travelbulletin, enett International CEO Anthony Hynes (pictured) spoke at length of the changing travel environment, claiming that the B2B environment has “dramatically” changed over the last five years. As firms increasingly look to do business online, he said the entire value chain was looking for more efficiencies in the payment process, particularly with the rise of dynamic pricing and instant payments. Integrated payment methods that feed into distribution platforms were also gaining ground to minimise time lag with traditional payment options, he added. But Hynes singled out deregulation as the greatest opportunity for enett in Australia as agents and suppliers take a more proactive role in the payment process. “Issuing tickets in a deregulated environment comes with an increased risk, so protection is more important than ever,” he said. Noting that enett’s virtual payment options provided protection across the entire value chain, he said traditional options such as store cards did not provide adequate coverage in the instance of agency or supplier failure. Nor did the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP), Hynes added. “The BSP is a very efficient mechanism but there is still risk involved with that,” he said. “There is also a lot of risk for hoteliers with a lot of credit card fraud going on.” Hynes said existing payment methods were “not working” for many agencies and added that the use of virtual numbers was now coming to the foreground as agents and suppliers become more “cautious” in how they do business following deregulation. “Agencies are being really selective with suppliers, and suppliers are more selective of distribution. They are also more proactive than ever before in implementing procedures in how they interact with each other,” he said. With a host of payment providers on the market, Hynes said there was “significant” competition in the market. However, he stressed that enett’s travel domain knowledge set it apart from major competitors. “We know how airline accounting systems work. Many of our people are ex-travel industry representatives who bring that knowledge into our business, and that translates to product innovation,” he said. Hynes also flagged plans to expand the company’s global footprint to better connect with its expanding global client base. “It’s increasingly difficult to run a global business out of Melbourne,” he confided, adding that enett plans to expand into a further 12-15 countries in the next 18 months.