Our chat with Duane Tough, President Payability & keynote speaker at the Co-Brand Partnerships Conference held in Chicago on 26 & 27 May 2015.
From A Traveller’s Lens
“Aggregation of points/rewards” is the most over-rated concept in the travel sector, believes Duane Tough, President – Payabillity
Nothing like experiencing a product yourself that you are responsible for and then improvising upon the same to enhance its utility.
As an inventor of patents pending in payment acceptance, loyalty, localization and currency management systems, Toronto, Canada-based Duane Tough, President – Payabillity believes there are lots of areas where the overall journey of a traveller can be improved. As for payments, Tough tries to use as many options as possible to come to grips with emerging trends.
Let’s hear out what Tough has to say about the world of payments, loyalty, and his journey as a traveller. Excerpts from interview with Airline Information:
AI: When you reflect upon your career in the world of payments, what would you term as the defining moment?
I can’t say ‘one’ moment was defining – I think that the whole payments lifecycle of ‘never being boring’ and always being able to learn more is the motivator for me. I try and use as many as payment methods as possible. It really depends on the jurisdiction – cash, open network cards, closed network cards… I was in Las Vegas recently and purposely spent the whole day paying for everything with casino chips!
In Canada they have several wireless and NFC networks that compete for a relatively small market- Interac (a national debit network) Visa, MC, and all pale to what Starbucks does on its network in Canada - adding more seems overkill to the consumer in markets like Canada.
AI: As a traveller, what excites you most about completing a transaction in air travel today?
Many air travel payment items excite me, the progress of onboard payments, the pre-pay and ‘layaway’ plans for ticket purchasing, corporate travel management, flight expense reporting along with personal and corporate reward reconciliations into reporting.
AI: What would you like to see improving as far as operations of the airlines in general is concerned?
Airlines are very good at communicating what ‘they do’ to the traveller, if they enhanced the offerings of communication to ‘time to pass through security’, ‘real time taxi waits’ and more along the lines of what the ‘person’ does in the whole lifecycle of their travel- not just what the person does with the airline – it would be better.
AI: Technology and devices have a lot to offer to travellers, and accordingly delight them. How easy or challenging is it for even a tech-savvy traveller to embrace new forms of payments?
I think the tech involved with airlines is greatly assisted by the “fintech” industry as a whole educating the consumers that in turn understand more of what the airlines offer in technology and payments.
AI: How should airlines gear up for payments strategy today in an omni-channel payment environment?
Anything you can buy online, over the phone or at the counter you should be able to do anywhere with any device with multiple payment methods, I should not be told at the boarding gate that they can’t take my cash to upgrade or that points (as a currency now) need to be done online – I have been rejected many times in different ways with almost every airline.
AI: Can you cite examples of some of your inspiration/ experiences as a traveller and how you incorporated the same in your work?
Staff - I have seen the staff of many airlines go above and beyond in making the experience much more enjoyable. As a mostly business traveller I dread a lot of flights- when I hear the humour or the attention of that one staff member before during or after a flight I forget about the dread and enjoy more of the experience.
AI: What according to you is the over-rated concept/ theme in the travel sector?
Aggregation of points/ rewards – no one understands code share points and redemption transfers and expiries- all those offers are just confusing to most people and end up being a ‘whatever’ moment that does not contribute to the decision of where, when and who to travel with.
AI: What according to you is the next big thing in payments as well as air travel?
These would be: