Meliá, World2Meet, Logitravel, Abreu and Prestige are some of the first travel firms to join the Open Payment Alliance, through the Early Adopters program created by Voxel Group and Mastercard to advance a new standard for B2B payments in the industry. In just 15 days, over a dozen companies, including hotels, tour operators, bedbanks and PMSs have already shown interest in the initiative.
The Early Adopters Program sponsors the integration costs of companies that adopt the Payment Manager and make B2B payments with virtual credit cards, thanks to an agreement between Voxel Group and Mastercard. In the words of Chiara Quaia, Vice President of Travel Business Development at Mastercard, “the easiest and most effective method to make B2B payments is to use the existing virtual card payment products to manage the end-to-end process for all parties involved in the ecosystem.”
For his part, Voxel President Xavier Ginesta explains that “the fact that we can count on hotels and bedbanks along with operators and PMSs in the Early Adopters program is highly significant of the importance of the new B2B payment standard for the entire tourist industry.” In the opinion of Mr Ginesta, “the objective of the program is to form a working group made up of different types of companies that will co-design a set of best practices in the use of the Payment Manager and the OPA standard in order to transform the way B2B payments are carried out in the industry.”
In addition to reducing start-up and integration costs, program participants will be able to benefit from the competitive advantage of being able to operate in a lower risk scenario while other companies continue to battle with credit insurers, as well as enjoying reduced costs deriving from B2B payment and collection circuit automation and simplification, and greater flexibility for payment methods that best suit their business provisions.
As explained by Meliá Hotels International Senior Director for Credit & Insurance Gaspar Llabrés “Meliá works with strategic partners around the world, such as Voxel and Mastercard at the Open Paymen Alliance, to maximize the potential of digital technology, especially in the new scenario. Given the lower availability of credit from insurers, companies will have to resort to other methods, such as the Payment Manager, to mitigate risk”.
In this sense, Logitravel CFO Jesús Pons remarks that “in the new scenario with significantly lower risk coverage, we must find new ways to collect earlier and secure operations, and the Payment Manager is undoubtedly the tool that will give us greater flexibility to adopt new payment methods that we did not need until now because insurance was sufficient.”
The post-Covid-19 scenario: innovation and risk minimization
Despite the fact that the Open Payment Alliance was originally born of the need to eliminate inefficiencies and to optimize B2B payments in the travel industry, the OPA now makes more sense than ever in the post-Covid-19 world in which reservation volumes have fallen dramatically, profit margins are getting narrower and narrower, and trust among OTAs, bedbanks and hotels has waned as insurance companies reduce credit availability for the sector.
The Open Payment Alliance is an independent initiative created by and for the industry within HEDNA and HTNG, providing transparency and traceability throughout the payment process and spreading risk amongst all parties: hotels, OTAs and bedbanks. In addition to contributing to risk mitigation, OPA optimizes processing costs, automates payment, collection and reconciliation processes, offers flexibility in terms of payment methods, integrates with PMSs and ERPs, eliminates manual processing, eliminates legal problems and simplifies electronic invoice payment processes.
The OPA Early Adopters Program sponsored by Mastercard and powered by Voxel is open for travel companies, PMSs and CRSs.