The message came from Dwight Willis, the head of the Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) Digital IT & Innovation Committee, during a business briefing held before the AustCham Phuket Sundowners at Le Méridien Phuket last Friday (May 24).
Mr Willis is CEO of DollarSmart Global, a global online money transfer company with offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.
“The most important things to know is that international payments in the tourism industry are rapidly changing,” Mr Willis told The Phuket News.
“Make sure you know your customer base, where they come and what is their preferred payment channel,” he added.
“The next step is to approach your local Thai financial institution and find one that covers these key channels,” Mr Willis urged.
Mr Willis was in Phuket to relay the findings from a panel discussion held in Bangkok Wednesday last week (May 22) on “Leveraging new and emerging Payment methods in your business”.
The focus of the session in Bangkok was specifically on revenue opportunities as well as transactional cost savings to improve profit, for small and large hotel operators alike, using established global payment/banking institutions including Paypal, TicketMelon, Dollarsmart, Visa and Agoda.
In Phuket, Mr Willis updated AustCham members on developments in innovative payments methods for the hotel and tourism industry on the island.
“The interactive session with the AustCham members provided a great opportunity for the members to discuss their payments issues and what solutions are available to meet their needs,” noted AustCham Executive Director Brendan Cunningham.
Of his key point “Know your customers and where they come from,” Mr Willis explained, “There are multiple different payment channels developing in different countries and different tourists will bring with them needs to make payments through these different channels.”
Citing as examples, Mr Willis elaborated, “[There is] PayTM for Indian customers, Wechat and AliPay for Chinese inbound tourism market and Paypal/Visa for Europeans, Australians, US and some parts of Asia.
“The customer data is all important. Your payment partners should be able to provide you with spending data to augment your data and understand how to get more of the customer spend in Phuket,” he added.
Mr Willis also highlighted how different banks offer different online systems, and the need to identify which ones offer the types of services best suited for each business.
“Thai banks have lots of different payment solutions that can help you connect to automated payment systems. You need to find the right expert in the bank to discuss your requirements and find the right solutions,” Mr Willis said.
“Also important is to negotiate hard on costs and compare bank offerings for most cost-effective option,” he added.
Collections of payments and making payment to suppliers was an important topic to the members.
To this Mr Willis mentioned a few new solutions, such as QR payments and online credit card gateways, that can help members receive monies online from their customers.
The next AustCham event in Phuket will be held at the Banyan Tree Phuket on Friday, July 12. Visit ThePhuketNews.com or AustChamThailand.com for details.