Coronavirus: Voxel Group’s early adopter scheme drives up interest in Open Payments Alliance

Meliá, World2Meet, Logitravel, Abreu and Prestige are among firms who have joined

The first members of a new Open Payment Alliance (OPA) for travel backed by Mastercard and Spain’s Voxel Group have been announced.

Hotel chain Meliá, World2Meet, Logitravel, Abreu and Prestige are among the first travel companies to take advantage of an Early Adopters Programme.

The alliance has been established to promote a new B2B payments standard in travel, and two weeks from launch of the early adopter scheme dozens of firms are said to have shown an interest.

The Early Adopters Programme sponsors the integration costs of companies that adopt the payment manager and make B2B payments with virtual credit cards.

Chiara Quaia, vice president of travel business development at Mastercard, said: “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.”

Voxel said as well as reducing start-up and integration costs, early adopters “benefit from the competitive advantage of being able to operate in a lower risk scenario while other companies continue to battle with credit insurers”.

The firm added companies using the scheme will also see reduced costs deriving from B2B payment and collection automation and simplification, and from greater flexibility for payment methods.

Voxel president, Xavier Ginesta, said: “The fact that we can count on hotels and bedbanks along with operators and PMSs in the Early Adopters Programme is highly significant of the importance of the new B2B payment standard for the entire tourist industry.

“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.”

Gaspar Llabrés, Meliá Hotels International senior director for credit and insurance, said: “Meliá works with strategic partners around the world, such as Voxel and Mastercard at the Open Payment 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”.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the travel sector and company revenues has had a significant impact on the availability of credit and credit insurance for all travel firms potentially hampering their ability to recover from the crisis.

The Open Payments Alliance was established to address inefficiencies in the payments processes in travel, but says it is more essential now due to the pandemic.

Logitravel chief finance officer, Jesús Pons, said: “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 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.

In addition to contributing to risk mitigation, OPA optimises 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.