Streamline travel agents’ group payments

Offline travel agencies
multi-person payments
Tal Dadia
March 18, 2024

For travel agencies, organizing group trips can be both lucrative and challenging. While this is a potential moneymaker, one of the main logistical challenges involves handling payments from multiple participants. Group payments can streamline the booking process and offer convenience, but they also introduce risks that can potentially harm your business if not managed properly.

As a travel agent, your business may have already been impacted by the rise of online travel agencies. A TravelPerk report shows that in 2023, 72% of travelers said they preferred to book trips online, compared to only 12% who decided on using a travel agency. Further, it revealed that by 2028, 76% of all revenue in the tourism and travel sector will come from online sales. This means you simply don’t have room to take on the financial implication of risks, and need a solution that can help you streamline the process, especially for group bookings.

What are the risks?

One of the primary risks associated with group payments is the increased potential for fraud and chargebacks. When dealing with many transactions, especially from various sources, verifying the authenticity of each payment becomes challenging. Fraudsters may use stolen credit card information to book travel packages, leading to chargebacks once the fraud is discovered. Chargebacks not only result in lost revenue but also administrative costs and potential penalties from payment processors.

In addition, employees in your agency might make a mistake. Simply entering one digit incorrectly in one person’s credit card payment can mess up a booking, which will have a negative impact on your agency’s cash flow, as well as its reputation.

Since group travel often involves friends, family members, or acquaintances pooling resources to pay for a trip, disputes can also arise when members disagree over the details of the travel plan or if someone fails to contribute their share after the booking has been made. Such situations can leave the travel agency in a difficult position, having to mediate disputes or even face cancellations.

Cancellations are a fact of life in the travel industry, but they become more complicated with group bookings. Processing refunds for a group involves additional administrative work and can be complicated by the booking terms. For instance, if a single member cancels a non-refundable group booking, it can create tension among the remaining participants and the agency.

How to mitigate these risks

Despite these challenges, you have a variety of strategies you can use to handle the risks that come with taking group payments over the phone or by email:

  • Implement robust payment verification processes: To combat fraud, agencies must implement rigorous payment verification processes. This could include requiring additional identification for payment, using secure payment gateways that offer advanced fraud detection (which, of course, doesn’t apply if you’re still taking phone payments), and verifying the authenticity of group leaders or the person making the booking.
  • Clear communication and contracts: Before accepting payments from groups, you must ensure all travel package terms and conditions are clearly communicated and agreed upon by all members. Drafting a contract that outlines payment obligations, cancellation policies, and dispute resolution procedures can provide legal protection and clarity for both the agency and its clients.
  • Flexible payment options: This is a tough one, considering most people choose to pay travel agents by credit card, but these days, with digital wallets and crypto, many customers expect more payment flexibility.

Split pay could be the solution you are looking for

86% of travel agents surveyed by TravelPerk favored modernizing their customers’ experiences to boost online travel sales for their businesses. An online split payment solution, like Antic, is an excellent way to do it. With split pay, each member of a group can directly contribute their share of the payment through a unified platform, reducing the administrative burden on your agency and employees and significantly decreasing both the risks mentioned above and the amount of labor needed to make accepting payments over the phone or email work.

How does it work? Antic lets you create a digital group where your customers can pay. You simply add the trip details and send out a link to your customers. They each click to create a profile, make their payment using whatever payment method they prefer (credit card, virtual card, etc) and their contribution is recorded.

Pictured: Antic lets you create a group for every group travel booking
Pictured: Send the link to every member of the group to make safe payment in just a few clicks

In addition, a timer is added to the group – fully configurable to your agency’s needs – to create urgency and drive the group’s action. So you won’t need to track down and nag people to confirm and get the payment processed.

Once the group reaches full funding status, you’re paid out in one sum that’s easier to process, costs less, and is simpler to track and reconcile. Antic is also fully secure and simple for anyone to use, regardless of their level of tech skills.

Travelers expect split payments

While group payments present certain risks for travel agencies, these can be effectively managed with careful planning, clear communication, and the implementation of secure payment processes. Or you can save time by implementing a secure solution like Antic, which lets you streamline your payment processes and meet your customers’ expectations.