CXFS 2021


Mastercard Is Transforming Travel Experience with a New Digital Platform

brought to you by WBR Insights

Credit cards are incredibly useful tools to have on you when traveling.

Not only do they offer a convenient method of paying for goods and services, they are also accepted in nearly every country you may want to visit (no worries about different currencies), and many come with a range of additional features - such as insurance against fraud, and reward systems like air miles to be redeemed against future trips - which can be indispensable to the wanderlust-afflicted traveler.

Now, Mastercard is setting the bar even higher with the development of a new digital platform to help travelers to benefit even more from their membership.

A Common Problem

There are few situations more disappointing than a long-anticipated vacation being spoiled because the hotel you booked with is not quite as advertised.

Maybe the room isn't as clean or modern as you were led to believe. Maybe certain advertised facilities were out of order at the time of your stay. Or, maybe parts of the hotel were still under construction.

Unfortunately, none of these situations are unusual, as any frequent flyer will tell you. Until recently, customers were expected to either put up with them or try to navigate through the hotel's own complaints procedures - which are often opaque and frustrating, especially when you throw a language barrier into the mix.

"Travel is the ultimate experience. It's aspirational," said International Marketing and Management Executive at Mastercard, Francis Hondal. "Think about a family or an individual traveler who has been planning a major trip, only to get to a hotel and find it's a disaster. It's such a big disappointment and dealing with it is not what anyone wants to do on vacation - they want to relax and enjoy."

A Digital Solution

As experienced players in the travel finance space, Mastercard is more than aware of this problem and has decided the time has come for a solution. This is why it's launched a new digital platform designed to offer its traveling customers unprecedented peace of mind when it comes to booking a hotel stay.

The platform will initially only be available to World and World Elite cardholders in the US and will provide them with two great new features.

First, the Hotel Price Guarantee. This feature means, should a customer book a hotel and discover later they could have got it at a lower price, Mastercard will refund the difference to their card. In an era of comparison sites and constantly fluctuating prices, it can be difficult to know the best time to book - and few things are more frustrating than making a booking only to later discover that a better price was available. With the Mastercard price guarantee, customers can book with confidence, knowing they will only pay the lowest price available.

The second feature is perhaps the more unique and innovative of the two. The Hotel Stay Guarantee means that, should a Mastercard traveler encounter one of the scenarios described above, or for any other reason be dissatisfied with the hotel they have booked, Mastercard will help them out. A Lifestyle Manager will be available 24/7, who customers can contact to act on their behalf to negotiate with the hotel and attempt to resolve the issue.

Should an impasse be reached, Mastercard will arrange for the customer to be relocated to a location of comparable quality (the service is only available for hotels with a three-star rating or higher) and cover any associated costs at the new hotel, up to the value of $1,000. Not only will the customer then find themselves in a hotel which more closely meets their expectations, but they won't be inconvenienced by any additional costs either.

"Last summer, my sister booked a family vacation at a resort known for its water park," said Hondal. "It had nothing but amazing reviews and the approval of her most important, and vocal, critics - her two teenage sons. They were all looking forward to the trip for months, but they arrived to find the slides and lazy river under construction. The relaxing vacation my sister was hoping would help her family reset turned into the exact opposite, with very vocal disappointment all around. Even though it's too late to help my sister on her waterpark excursion, it's not too late to help her - and you - on the next trip!"

Final Thoughts

Anything which can help take the uncertainty out of booking a holiday can only be good for overall customer experience. With its new digital platform and associated benefits, Mastercard has made great strides towards solving this problem.

You can hear Mastercard's Senior Vice President of Experience Design, Karen Pascoe, speak at CXFS 2019, taking place in July at the Westin Copley Place, Boston MA.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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