Businesses in the travel industry should always look to improve customer experiences and make their processes more efficient and productive. Customer satisfaction is one thing that matter the most to the hospitality industry. Accidents and frauds are more common in the travel sector than one would care to think. Scammers tend to exploit travellers and tourists, far away from home in a strange place, and make attempts to steal their credentials and credit cards. Simultaneously, stolen identities and credit cards are also often used by businesses to gain travelling and hospitality benefits. Thus fraud prevention tools like identity authentication of customers form an important part of the travel industry’s protocols.
Fraud in the Travel Industry
Businesses in the travel and hospitality sectors end up losing 0.44 per cent of their annual revenues due to fraud. Airlines, on the other hand, end up losing somewhere in between 2.4 to 4.8 billion dollars in revenues to fraud. Collectively, in the year 2017, the travel industry faced an astounding loss of 21 billion US dollars due to fraud. Such staggering losses due to fraud are something that is completely avoidable. However, businesses still seem somewhat reluctant to implement preventive measures. Before getting into the benefits of adopting ID verification in the vein of fraud prevention, businesses need to understand the many ways in which the modern age fraudster can harm their revenues.
Fraudsters nowadays make fake hospitality websites intended to lure unwitting tourists. They tend to book with the hotel’s website thinking it is a legitimate business, but instead end up losing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to such scams. Moreover, scammers also list fake hotels and tourist resorts on online travel agencies. Tourists end up making reservations only to find out later that they were scammed.
Questionable Airline Tickets
Another growing scam in the travel industry is the purchase of suspicious airline tickets. Fraudsters use stolen credit cards to purchase air tickets, later selling them at cheaper rates on social media sites. The travel websites in such cases end up facing chargebacks when the ticket is found to have been purchased with stolen credentials. Similarly, for tourists who go to the airport only to find their tickets have been cancelled as it was purchased fraudulently.
Fake Bookings to Tourist Attractions
Certain scammers also use fake or stolen credentials to book tickets to tourist attractions. People or even travel agents end up purchasing them via social media sites or fake tourism websites. Later, on visiting the attraction they may be told that the ticket was cancelled since it was purchased with stolen credit card. Travel agencies face chargebacks when they end up fraudulently purchased tickets to their customers.
Identity Verification or ID is something can become a lifesaver for the travel industry if it wants to reduce the amount it loses every year due to fraud. Some of the best ways in which ID verification can benefit the travel industry includes;
Shorter Check-in Procedures
Long waiting lines are a common sight at airports and even hotels in vacationing season. They are tiresome for both the customers as well as the staff dealing with them. Identity authentication through online document verification and facial scans can reduce the amount of check-in time to half. At airline counters, the check-in staff can quickly verify passengers’ IDs and thus issue boarding passes. Since online authentication methods are performed in real time through an AI-based system, no time is wasted in human verifications. It can also reduce check-in times for hotels and holiday resorts thus allowing them to direct satisfied customers directly to their rooms. It creates a seamless experience for the travellers, thus increasing their satisfaction levels.
With the millennial generation preferring faster purchasing processes, going digital with ID verification may just be the thing that the travel merchants need to satisfy their customers. They also tend to value safety which makes it all the more important for travel businesses to adopt more effective identity authentication measures.
Reduce Fraud to Increase Customer Trust
When a business faces a lot of chargebacks due to fraudulent transactions, customers tend to lose faith in the business’s safe practices and switch to other, more reliable companies. Fraud also takes a huge chunk of the business’s legitimate revenues in the form of chargebacks and fines. Identity authentication services like document verification and biometric scans can enable businesses to identify fraudsters at the gate and thwart their attempts to gain any benefits. Reducing fraud can enable businesses to improve trust amongst their customers and establish a more loyal client base.
Online verification services verify the customers by digitally scanning their documents to corroborate their details. They then use real-time facial recognition to authenticate the customers to see if the person in the credentials and the person at the check-in counter are one and the same.
Perhaps the most attractive benefit of ID verification for businesses is an increase in revenues. Yes, implementing identity verification systems can actually increase revenues for businesses. The most obvious way is when you reduce the amount of fraud in your business, you reduce the chargebacks and fines thereof. This ultimately leads to an increase in your revenue. Another way it leads to an increase in your revenue stream is by increasing customer trust and establishing good credibility of your business with travellers, leading them to use your services more often.
Additionally, faster customer verification can lead to faster checkouts. Studies estimate that a huge amount of customers tend to leave the purchase process as they find it unnecessarily long. Online identity authentication methods are faster and thus tend to reduce purchase abandonment rates, thereby increasing the number of bookings for a travel business, and hence the revenues.