A M-PESA customer makes a transaction. Safaricom’s deal with Travelport marks the second such in the last three months. www.businesstoday.co.ke
A M-PESA customer makes a transaction. Safaricom’s deal with Travelport marks the second such in the last three months. [Photo//Business Today/File]

Safaricom has marked a global first after signing a deal with Travelport that will  empower more than 800 travel agencies to simplify travel payments, book clients’ trips, hotel accommodation, hire transport and conveniently pay by M-PESA.

“Today’s development brings the speed and convenience of M-PESA to Travelport, the more than 800 travel agents they serve, and their customers,” said Michael Joseph, Chief Executive Officer, Safaricom.

“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,” he added.

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

It 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.

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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.

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.

Data from the Central Bank of Kenya shows that mobile payments were the most preferred form of cashless payments in the country, accounting for more than 90 percent of such payments in April 2019.

Travelport operates a travel commerce platform providing distribution, technology, payment and other solutions for the global travel and tourism industry.

The company facilitates travel commerce by connecting the world’s leading travel providers with online and offline travel buyers in a proprietary business-to-business (B2B) travel platform.

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