800 travel agents to automate payments through M-Pesa

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Global Travel reservations provider Travelport has integrated Safaricom’s M-Pesa into its systems to enable travel consultants and agents to directly bill and invoice with M-Pesa.

Safaricom has partnered with Travelport marking a global first.

The integration will empower more than 800 travel agencies to simplify travel payments, book clients’ trips, hotel accommodation, hire transport and use M-Pesa to pay.

800 travel agents, customers

This development brings M-Pesa to Travelport’s more than 800 travel agents and their customers.

“We are pleased that the travel industry is set to benefit from increased efficiency and ease of doing business, reducing the time and effort it takes to make bookings and reservations,” said Michael Joseph, Chief Executive Officer, Safaricom.

By fully automating booking and ticketing, M-Pesa eradicates the previous need for agents to manually reconcile customer reservations on the Travelport platform.

This integration further enables more agents to easily accept M-Pesa as a cashless payment choice which in turn means they can reach more potential customers.

“Our commerce platform aims to offer the ultimate travel experience for today’s connected digital age. Having M-Pesa as a payment choice enables our travel agents to effectively tailor their products to meet the demands of the modern traveller,” said Nita Nagi, Regional Manager, Travelport.

Some of the travel agencies in Kenya that have integrated their systems with Travelport include Carlson Wagonlit Travel Kenya, FCm Travel Solutions Kenya, Incentive Travel, Acharya Travel and Travel N’ Style.

Safaricom’s deal with Travelport marks the second such in the last three months.

Mobile money convenience

In May, Safaricom partnered with BuuPass to enable online booking and payment for bus ticketing through M-Pesa.

The growing uptake of the service in the travel sector comes amidst preference for mobile payments.

The convenience of using mobile money for payments has seen Safaricom rake in billions from transaction charges.

In the three months to June 2018, mobile money transactions hit almost Sh2 Trillion. This has grown since then with data from the Central Bank of Kenya showing that mobile payments were the most preferred form of cashless payments in the country.

As of April 2019, mobile money transactions accounted for more than 90 per cent of payments.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) revealed that the demand for mobile money services grew through the last third quarter of the FY 2018/19.

CA statistics indicate that active mobile money transfer subscriptions and agents stood at 32.0 million and 223,084 respectively.

A total of 784.4 million transactions were made valued at Kshs 2.122 trillion. During the period, consumers spent 1.84 trillion Kenya Shillings to purchase goods and services, which involved 571.5 million transactions.

The person-to-person transfers were valued at 737.0 billion Kenya shillings.

During the quarter under review, Safaricom posted a market share of 62.4 per cent in mobile subscriptions down from 63.3 per cent registered in the previous quarter.

On the other hand, Airtel Networks Limited gained 2.7 percentage points to post a market share of 26.1 per cent.

Telkom’s market share dropped to 7.9 per cent from 9.0 per cent reported in the previous quarter.

Similarly, Finserve Africa Limited lost 0.8 percentage points to register a market share of 3.4 per cent. Mobile Pay Limited market share remained unchanged from last quarter at 0.2 per cent.

This means that Safaricom is taking the giant share of the revenues across the board.

Read: Kenya is killing its internet, future success, Mobile money lenders meteoric growth in Kenya

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