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Transforming Travel & Tourism Tech with the Power of Instant Payouts

Published: June 13, 2024

Transforming Travel & Tourism Tech with the Power of Instant Payouts

Technology within the travel and tourism industry is evolving rapidly, driven by innovations that enhance customer experience and operational efficiency. One area that still faces significant challenges is the speed and transparency of financial transactions.

From customer refunds to employee payouts and vendor payments, the traditional methods in place, such as cash tips, ACH transfers, and even paper checks, are slow and inefficient. This creates a need for better, more instant payout solutions, and an opportunity for the industry to transform its financial operations with cutting-edge technology.

The Challenges of Traditional Payment Methods: Popular Use Cases

Before diving into ways in which digital payouts can level-up a businesses’ approach to payments, let’s walk through some of the most popular use cases in which outdated payment methods are creating bottlenecks or inefficiencies.

Customer Refunds

Travel industry customers often need to be refunded for charges or reservation holds on their accounts. Currently, the refund process uses an ACH transfer and can take anywhere from 5-7 business days, and in some cases, up to two weeks, leading to customer frustration and lowering overall satisfaction. This delay is exacerbated if the customer’s card on file has expired, necessitating a manual check to be mailed, which is both time-consuming and risky.

Employee Tip Payouts

The reliance on ACH payments and scheduled payroll dates for employee tip payouts is another frustrating bottleneck. As customers are opting for cashless tipping and can now pre-pay tips, tip on site, or send a tip from a targeted follow up email, these electronic methods can lead to payout delays, especially for tipped employees who once relied on day-of cash payments.

Vendor Payments

It is not uncommon for tour operators to manually deliver checks to hotels to pay commissions. When reservation platforms handle these transfers, they often charge facilitation fees as high as 20% of the ticket price. Instant payment solutions can automate and expedite these transactions, reducing costs and eliminating unnecessary delays.

The Opportunity of Instant Payments

Considering the delays and inefficiencies of traditional payment methods, instant payments present a real opportunity revitalize and revolutionize payments within the hospitality space, leading to a variety of benefits and applications:

Enhanced Customer Experience

By integrating instant payout solutions, businesses industry-wide can significantly improve the customer experience, whether they’re working with tipped employees, customers, or vendors. Across all these cases, payments can be processed and delivered in minutes rather than days, alleviating frustration and enhancing loyalty.

Improved Operational Efficiency

For employees, instant tip payouts mean they receive their earnings immediately, which is especially beneficial for those who live paycheck to paycheck. This not only improves employee satisfaction but also streamlines payroll operations. In fact, companies like Kickfin, in the tipping space, have already implemented instant payouts.

Cost-Effective Vendor Payments

Automating vendor payments through instant payout solutions can save time and reduce costs. Ingo Payments, for example, facilitates instant, automated payments directly to vendors, eliminating the need for manual check delivery and high facilitation fees. This results in more efficient financial operations and better relationships with vendors.

Streamlined Travel Insurance Payouts

Travel insurance payouts can also benefit from instant disbursement services. Quick, reliable payouts mean customers receive their insurance funds without unnecessary delays, enhancing their overall experience and trust in the service and creating more opportunities to grow customer loyalty.

Boosting Customer Incentives and Rewards Programs

Instant payments can boost the effectiveness of loyalty programs and promotional incentives, such as:

Loyalty Programs: Funds for loyalty programs or customer rewards can be disbursed instantly, making them readily available for future bookings and enhancing customer engagement.

Promotional Incentives: Instant promotional incentives or cashback offers can be credited directly to customers’ accounts, encouraging repeat bookings and increasing customer satisfaction.

For the above use cases and more, Ingo Payments offers a PCI-compliant iFrame solution to securely capture and process the payment information, all within a travel operator’s own digital experience. Ingo also offers a fully outsourced payment experience with our white-labeled customer engagement platform.

In the full-service scenario, Ingo handles customer notifications on the client’s behalf when a disbursement is ready. The recipient is brought into a secure portal to authenticate, provide their current payment information and choose to receive funds instantly to any account they choose. These integration options ensure that travel tech companies have the flexibility they need to leverage the power of instant payouts.


The travel and tourism industries stand to gain significantly from the adoption of a suite of instant payout solutions. By addressing the inefficiencies of current payment methods, the industry can enhance financial transparency and speed, benefiting customers, employees, and vendors alike. Many companies throughout the hospitality industry, including companies like 7Shifts, are leading the charge by offering digital payout solutions.

Ingo Payments offers the technology and expertise to facilitate these changes, providing a streamlined, efficient solution for the industry’s financial operations, proving that integrating instant payments is not just an upgrade—it’s a transformation that can lead to greater efficiency, lower costs, and higher satisfaction across all stakeholders.

As the travel and tourism industries continue to evolve, embracing instant payouts will be a key to staying competitive and delivering superior service across the board.