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The event, hosted by leading payment provider Elavon, focused on travel payment themes with some 36 airlines and 15 hospitality providers in attendance. To kick off the symposium, Robert Guest, the American Editor for the Economist, touched upon numerous pressing international topics including oil prices, the emergence of Chinese travellers and the Russian economy and the impact that they could have on the travel industry as a whole.
The 12th edition of the Elavon Travel Symposium brought together key players in the payments and travel industry for a lively event in New Orleans, and I had the pleasure of representing Amadeus together with Celia Pereiro , Head of Travel Payments, and a few of my colleagues.
Jay Hawkins, Senior Economist from Visa, continued the discussion as he provided insights on the US economy based on Visa consumer Cards trends. Hawkins said that the increase in job growth, with unemployment hovering around 5%, and the decrease in the debt to income ratio, coupled with an increase in overall spending, paints a promising picture for the coming years.
More specifically in travel payments, Elavon President and CEO, Simon Haslam said payment trends are punctuated by the ongoing shift from cash to card spending driven by innovative technology and increased connectivity. Haslam said that mobile payments are now key, with 45% of airlines seeing mobile as a way to increase revenues.
Pamela A. Joseph, Vice Chairman, U.S. Bancorp Services also stressed this point, confirming that mobile payments are clearly a reality with expectations set at an impressive 172% growth rate in the US within the next five years. Other hot payment topics discussed during the event included tokenization, new payment scheme requirements like ancillaries and chargebacks, dynamic currency conversion and the payment landscape in Latin America.
Finally, Celia joined a panel of experts, including representatives from payment providers Adyen and Ingenico, to discuss ways to ‘Make the Big Payments Easy’. She mentioned the value Amadeus offers with its Payment Platform as a single access point specifically tailored to the travel industry, in addition to its flexibility which allows it to adapt the payment flow to the complexity of the industry.
Overall, we had a fantastic time at the event and would like to thank Symposium hosts Elavon for giving Amadeus an opportunity to engage with key travel and payment industry players in constructive discussions.