Mobile payments are already commonplace in parts of Asia — China particularly — but as travelers adopt these tools, travel companies will need both local expertise and deep technological capabilities to make sure their guests can pay when and how they like.
The first-ever Skift Forum Asia, held on May 27 at the Equarius Hotel in Singapore, gathered nearly two dozen of the travel industry’s top thinkers and thought leaders for a day-long discussion of the trends shaping the sector.
For Mike Tansey, managing director – AAPAC travel industry leader, Accenture, one of the hottest topics of discussion was mobile payments, and the incredible influence the outbound Chinese traveler is having on hotels not just in Asia but around the world. During a morning session in conversation with Laura Miller, global chief information officer, IHG, Tansey highlighted some of the major fault lines shaping the future of payments.
“Our research shows that 85 percent of all payments in China are done in mobile,” Tansey said, and almost all of those are done through Alipay and WeChat Pay. “But it’s not just a local China market. There are 200 million outbound Chinese travelers, so it’s a big, big challenge for the rest of the world.”
Implementing the technology that consumers demand is non-negotiable, said Miller, sharing the IHG perspective. “As a global company, we have to have a partner who can help us globally,” she said. “Accenture had a great presence in China and was hiring local talent — and that talent knew how to leverage the technology. Using a partnership with Accenture we already had in place, and partnering with local talent, it worked out really great.”
When considering mobile payments, Tansey said, “the most important thing to recognize is that technology is only part of the problem.” Recognizing how travelers are using new technology and meeting those consumers where they are will be the challenges that hospitality companies continue to confront in years to come, Miller said. “Mobile payment is definitely the future,” she added.
Watch the video above for the complete discussion of the trends shaping the global payments landscape and more from the Skift Forum Asia.
Free Daily Newsletter
Sign up for the most popular Skift daily download of news, happening, and headlines in the travel world