The future of B2B Payments in the Travel Industry

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The 5th edition of the baVel Travel Summit has successfully concluded. A three-day event, attended by more than 150 professionals from across the travel industry took part in this unique event in the sector, with a mixed program of events including networking or “funworking”, talks and roundtable discussions on innovation in B2B payments and technology trends in the sector.

One of the most eagerly awaited sessions was the talk led by Morten Larsen, Head of Product Marketing in Payments at Booking.com, where he shared with the audience, some of the challenges the booking giant is facing in the payments space. The impact of exchange rates on both users and partners, consistency in pricing and the need to adjust the brand’s overall user experience to local needs in every market, were just some of the points he discussed. Larsen also highlighted the importance of the Agile methodology to enable them to adapt and react with speed to the peculiarities they face in all the markets where they operate, as well as the technological advances in the payments space for each of them.

Representatives from the hotel sector included Melia Hotels International, NH Hotels Group and Hotelbeds Group where they also offered their vision on the challenges with B2B payments.

Corporate payments were the driving force behind the talks at the Summit and were present in practically all the sessions, such as the one led by eNett, Ixaris, Ingenico y Airplus, where they unanimously agreed on the need to constantly innovate, highlighting the Open Payment Alliance (OPA) as the catalyst for the latest innovations.
The OPA, a HEDNA initiative to create a specific channel to distribute B2B Payments in the Industry, was the headline of the event opening and also on the third and final day that included the bi-monthly meeting of this hoteliers association, centered around and focused on electronic distribution.

During this same 5th Edition of the baVel Summit, Voxel presented the very first “Voxel Awards”. Aimed at recognizing the synergies between Voxel and their clients, their evolution together and based on Voxel’s 4 core values: Funtastic Team Players, People Freaks, Challenge Maniacs and Change Lovers, further highlighting: the need to work as a team, empathy and respect towards others, the capacity to take on new challenges and the capacity to adapt to change.

The winners of the 1st Voxel awards were: Thomas Cook and Accor Hotels in the “Funtastic Team Players” category; Melia Hotels International in the “People Freaks” category; MTS Globe in the “Challenge Maniacs” category and finally Hotelbeds Group in the “Change Lovers” category.

The award ceremony closed the second day of the baVel Travel Summit that started with an inspirational session where the popular team sport, “Human Castling” was the medium to promote all 4 Voxel values. The participants at the event had the chance to get to know this wonderful Catalan tradition and its values, of course aligned with Voxel’s own values, which culminated in the group managing to build a 4-tier human castle!

Xavier Ginesta, Voxel’s President, highlights: “Until now there was no specific forum where finance directors and other senior management from companies in the Travel Industry could get together and debate face-to-face the challenges they are facing in the B2B payment space. The baVel Travel Summit has become the meeting point for these professionals and is quickly transforming itself into the global event of reference in the industry on this topic”.

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.