The travel and hospitality market is growing fast but do airlines, travel agents, hotels and other operators have the right security to keep pace?
Deloitte estimates that travel and tourism is one of the world’s fastest-growing sectors in 2018, following a bumper performance the year before. Spending now accounts for more than one-tenth of global GDP. 
Millions of new consumers from emerging and developed markets are entering the global traveler pool. The amount of payment methods is increasing too and so are the number of possible customer contact channels.
This all sounds great ... except that booming markets tend to attract more criminals too.
Pop-up shop scams and more
Travel Daily News claims that fraud in travel payments is now costing agencies a whopping £21 billion each year which is set to rise to £25 billion by 2020. "High value transactions, rapid consumption and the sheer number of suppliers across the globe means travel intermediaries are highly vulnerable to fraud," it reports. 
The travel portal highlights the theft and misuse of credit card details as a particular problem relating to room bookings, ticket purchases, pop-up shops on social media, and fake online travel agencies. The website warns that companies could find themselves outsmarted and out of pocket unless they get informed and take the right steps.
So how's your security doing?
When we go on holiday, most of us like to pack our favourite jeans and fish out that old battered suitcase from the loft. But are those old denims at risk of splitting, so our wallet could fall out? And is the suitcase getting frayed to the point where the contents might spill out on the baggage carousel?
When it comes to security, there's a danger travel companies adopt the same approach: They like what they know ... and it's always worked in the past. The trouble is, yesterday's security is not up to the job any more. It's being stretched across more channels ... and it's wearing worryingly thin.
Expectations have changed. Consumers want to pay using apps, during calls with agents and maybe even within chat sessions. And these are all important if you want to win their business. But the fraudsters have got smarter and they know where to exploit any weakness.
How to tighten up
Rising concern over security isn't hype or scare-mongering. Earlier this year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) took steps to insist travel agents were compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) in the way they store, process and transmit people's payment card data. IATA warned that data breaches could lead to fraud losses, legal penalties, the removal of the ability to take cards and even the risk of going out of business.
But let's be honest: If business is booming and you're fighting to expand (or even cling onto) your market share, then getting sucked into a whole lot of security issues is the last thing on your mind, right?
And there lies the dilemma: Which do we make our number-one priority, growth or security?
The good news is you can have both.
Travel and hospitality businesses don't have to hire specialists, adopt stifling security processes and spend sleepless nights worrying over card fraud. The far easier path to PCI DSS compliance is by finding the right PCI DSS partner who can provide it all for you. They take away the headache, while you focus on your core business and keeping ahead of competitors.
Next-generation tools are available to make light work of verification and security for all your payment channels telephone, web and apps and Live Chat Pay too. You can even prevent sensitive cardholder data from entering your systems altogether, so you can take payments securely without worrying about outside hackers, or rogue agents within your contact centre.
Download your free copy of the Travel & Hospitality Report 2018/19 and read more about security and other top challenges facing businesses in this burgeoning marketplace. It's possible to ramp up security easily and grow trust among your customers without having spend a fortune on new systems.
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