Photograph — Tech.Africa

Kenya’s Safaricom has partnered with Travelport, a global travel reservation provider, to integrate its payments service, M-Pesa into the latter’s system. With the agreement, customers of the travel company are getting a simplified payment process that will enable them to book trips, hotel accommodation, and hire transport by using M-Pesa to pay.

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

The solution enables agents to accept M-PESA as a cashless payment choice which means more potential customers can be easily reached. By fully automating travel reservations, it eradicates the previous need for agents to manually reconcile customer reservations on the Travelport platform.

“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.

According to information from the Central Bank of Kenya, mobile payments are the most preferred form of cashless payments in the country. In April 2019, it accounted for more than 90 percent of such payments.

Earlier this year, M-Pesa partnered with Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, to ease the flow of transactions for online shoppers in Kenya. The deal allows Kenyan shoppers to buy goods on the site using the M-Pesa mobile payment service.

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.

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.

By Tobiloba Ishola.

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