UK: In our third session focus feature ahead of the inaugural STRz Summit in London on Wednesday 18 October, we dive into the world of travel payment solutions.
This session will provide a deep dive into the regulatory landscape, including the acceleration of professionalisation in the sector. It will also offer tips on how to move dialogue forward with regulators, and how the industry can combat negative public perceptions to continue innovating.
With the rise of neobanks, fintech startups and digital currencies [e.g. cryptocurrency], this session will allow a group of industry tech powerhouses to discuss the latest innovations and product launches to make transacting easier, as well as the potential risks and benefits within the digital trust and security landscape.
- James Lemon, global lead – travel, transport, leisure & automotive, Stripe
- Lennert De Jong, president, hospitality, Planet
Stripe and Planet are two of the most recognisable online payment technology platforms around the world, and both have made recent steps into the travel and hospitality sectors, including in the short-term rental space.
On one hand, Stripe brings together everything that consumers need to instantly onboard service providers, manage payments and payouts, optimise checkouts and beat fraud, send payments flexibly and quickly, and more. The company powers payments for large businesses including global online travel agency Booking.com with a suite of products designed to increase retention and scale their operations globally.
Now supporting processing charges in 135+ countries, Stripe can present prices in a customer’s native currency and avoid conversion costs for customers.
In the short-term rental market, Stripe aims to power an automated payment platform for property managers.
Planet, on the other hand, is a newer entrant into the short-term rental sector, having acquired management software and services provider, Avantio, in July last year. Avantio is being managed as an innovation unit, completely maintained within the Planet structure, to accelerate innovation in new capabilities, including evolving its technology, developing new products and expanding the company.
The integrated software, payment and technology solutions provider has adopted a high growth strategy that combines software and payments to create connected commerce solutions, including in the vacation rental segment. The company already provides integrated software, payment and technology solutions for its customers in the hospitality and retail sectors and worldwide, via a network of global financial services partners.
In March 2022, Planet also combined with Proximis, Datatrans, protel Hotelsoftware and Hoist Group to create a connected, commerce technology offering across hotels and vacation rentals that delivers a more consistent, convenient and rich, personalised experience for guests.
As the investment and payments landscape has evolved though, so too has the banking landscape, with neobanks [also known as digital-only banks] emerging to take on traditional banks and make their entrance into the travel sector.
While traditional banks operate with some physical branches, neobanks can operate independently with their own banking licences, whose services can be completed entirely online via a desktop or a mobile app. The pandemic fuelled a significant uptake in digital-only bank account openings, particularly among younger generations seeking digital solutions that are not held back by core legacy technology, including features such as overdraft protection and sign-up incentives.
As well as reporting rapid growth, neobanks such as Chase [owned by JP Morgan], Revolut and Nubank are entering the travel category as they aim to build up their so-called ‘super app’ functionality. Doing this allows the banks to not only strengthen their margins, but also establish greater customer loyalty at a time when more and more consumers will shop around for the best deals.
Despite their rise to prominence, neobanks are being targeted by scammers and fraudsters at a higher rate than legacy banks due to their ease of use. As a result, the digital-only banks are facing increasing scrutiny and pressure to tighten their security measures.
Another topic sure to arise during the discussion at the Summit concerns complaints from hosts and property owners who have [at times] faced obstacles receiving payments from online travel agencies such as Airbnb and Booking.com. Airbnb hosts made their voices heard when they were unable to access a $250 million relief fund created by the company at the start of the pandemic, while Booking.com is currently the subject of an expedited probe by the competition watchdog in Hungary [GVH] due to debts owned to hosts and other property owners in the country.
Payments remain a big talking point in the short-term rental segment, and more broadly in travel, so this session is not to be missed at the STRz Summit.