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Travel April Review: Payments under scrutiny, Spain struggles with UK travellers, Loyalty promises

Updated: May 15

Travel Monthly Review Show March: Holiday Late's Pricing, The Budget & Travel, Agent debt, UKInbound

Our expert panel featuring Will Plummer (CEO, Trust My Group), Claire Steiner (UK Director, Global Travel and Tourism Partnership), and James Clarke (General Manager, Travelzoo UK). In this episode we’ll tackle:

  • Latest industry developments: Spain’s traveller numbers, Dynamic pricing and loyalty schemes

  • A look into Travel Payments and how this is adapting for consumers and businesses, we have a special mini-panel with:

Maggie Bazemore, Knowledge Management Director | Mr & Mrs Smith

James Lemon, GTM | Global Industry Lead - Travel & Leisure - Stripe

Peter Gerstle, Business Solutions Director, Head of Travel Loyalty, Collinson

From Spain's fluctuating traveller numbers to the intricacies of dynamic pricing and loyalty schemes, we've covered a broad spectrum of crucial topics for anyone involved in the travel industry.

Spain's Traveller Trends and Experiences Abroad

We kick off the discussion by shedding light on the notable decrease in UK visitor durations in Spain. This trend is influenced by a myriad of factors, including the repercussions of Brexit, the allure of alternative destinations, and Spain's strategic shift towards promoting its lesser-known locales.

The Dynamics of Pricing and the Loyalty Landscape

We discuss dynamic pricing and its burgeoning role in consumer decision-making. We explore how the travel industry's long-standing ambition to implement dynamic pricing is finally realized, thanks to technological advancements. However, this shift comes with its own set of challenges and mixed reactions, particularly within the airline, hotel, and food and beverage sectors.

Loyalty programs are next on the agenda, with the Avis Budget Group's enhanced free loyalty initiative and Expedia Group's unified loyalty program across their platforms taking centre stage. Clare Steiner, a dedicated subscriber, shares her insights on the pivotal role of loyalty in the travel industry, reinforcing the value of customer retention and brand allegiance.

Payment Innovations and the Customer Experience

We also dissect the impact of loyalty programs on consumer behaviour and the evolution of payment methods in travel. We agree on the necessity of offering a variety of payment options to align with consumer expectations and the growing need for flexibility in B2B transactions. We discuss the emergence of 'buy now pay later' schemes and the rising adoption of digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, reflecting on how these trends are reshaping the checkout experience for travellers. We discuss user experience, customer loyalty, and trust in travel payments.

Fraud, Security, and ROI in Payment Systems

We emphasise the strategic importance of data analysis in reducing transaction friction and identifying genuine customers, thereby mitigating fraud. The role of biometrics and human interaction in building customer trust is also discussed, with a focus on how these elements contribute to a secure and personalized experience.

We further explore the return on investment for companies adopting new payment platforms and systems, considering the potential benefits such as increased customer conversion, loyalty, and new revenue streams.

Loyalty Programs: The Integration of Payments and Rewards

The evolving nature of loyalty programs, particularly the integration of payments into loyalty schemes, is a focal point of our discussion. The ability to use loyalty currency at checkout and the role of data, biometrics, and mobile devices in merging payments and loyalty are underscored as key factors in this integration.

Subscription models in travel and hospitality are also touched upon, with us sharing insights on how these programs influence customer acquisition, loyalty, and upselling opportunities.


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Programme Notes

This episode has been automatically transcribed by AI, please excuse any typos or grammatical errors

Ryan Haynes (00:00:21) - It's April, the 2024 edition. Welcome to the Travel Monthly Review Show with our expert panel. Clare Steiner, Will Plummer and James Clarke. This episode will tackle the latest industry developments as Spain's traveller numbers tumble, dynamic pricing and loyalty schemes. Then we'll look into travel payments and how this is adapting for consumers and businesses with a special mini panel including Maggie Bazemore, Knowledge Management Director at Mr and Mrs Smith. James Lemon, Global Industry Travel, Transport & Leisure Lead at Stripe and Peter Gerstle, Business Solutions Director, Head of Travel Loyalty at Collinson. And we cannot end the show without our quick quiz. James has won one round will two Clare nill. I have to see what we can do about that. I'm your host, Ryan Haynes. Let's get on with the show.

Ryan Haynes (00:01:20) - It's fantastic to see listener figures are up. If I can ask, should you enjoy the episode? I encourage you to give it a rating.

Ryan Haynes (00:01:27) - Share it with your colleagues and teams and repost it on LinkedIn. It really does help to continually grow and hopefully in time, I can invest further to make this a real industry community platform and take it out on the road for in-person events. And if you feel you have a story to share, want to be a guest and have something to say? Email us at

Ryan Haynes (00:02:02) - Pleasure to have you back here. Thank you ever so much. We've had Easter. We're now firmly in April. Spring is not just tapping on the door. The door is wide open. My laundry's on the line. You've been on holiday. James, how was Jersey?

James Clarke (00:02:17) - Jersey was wonderful. Thank you. And, yeah, we had a lovely family holiday in Jersey. The weather didn't necessarily play ball, but we still got out and we did everything that we wanted to do, and we ate very well as a family. And we enjoyed all the trips that we did each day.

James Clarke (00:02:34) - So yeah, a wonderful family holiday.

Ryan Haynes (00:02:37) - And a bit of an educational one. on your sixth visit, you, got to have a little look around. What was it?

James Clarke (00:02:43) - Yeah. So, I've been. To be fair, I've spent more time in Jersey on business than I have on pleasure. But it was nice to return on, this this occasion with the family and. Yeah, go do a little bit more of the, the big tourist attractions in Jersey. And probably they're what they're most famous for is their The War Tunnels, which is a fascinating, set of tunnels that were built during the wartime, which has now been turned into almost like a look back in history. And it plays out the whole story of the war and Jersey's involvement with that. So it was an incredible, really incredible experience.

Ryan Haynes (00:03:20) - Excellent. Good to hear. Now, Will had another incredible experience, traveling to South Africa and Botswana. How was that trip with the family?

Will Plummer (00:03:28) - Yeah, very very nice. I can't complain, very spoilt.

Will Plummer (00:03:31) - So did a little bit of work in Cape Town and then went up to Botswana. saw four out of the five big five. Beautiful time on safari and then a bit of R&R over Durban way afterwards. So very spoilt and very lucky. But yeah, we had a great time and a great break.

Ryan Haynes (00:03:48) - And how is your kids now?

Will Plummer (00:03:50) - So our kids are 10 and 12 and kind of the right age for Safari. Really took it in. Didn't moan too much on the Safari truck, which is when they're a bit younger. They they do. But you know, you see the magic and you know, in their eyes, I think James would agree. you know, there's something very enjoyable about that sort of reflective enjoyment from giving them an experience. We all love travel. That's why we're in the industry and kind of to get them to enjoy the buzz is something magical.

Ryan Haynes (00:04:19) - Excellent. Really good to hear. I mean, my first trip was a camping trip, up by Gloucester and I was the only camper, whilst I was there, which was was quite a novelty actually, being able to have, you know, choose any picture I wanted to and have the toilet facilities all to myself, which, as you can imagine, when you're on a campsite, it's it's nicer than sort of walking into somewhere.

Ryan Haynes (00:04:40) - Somewhere else has been already. and I've got a couple of camp trips coming up. I'm staycationing. But, Clare, you're about to jet away.

Clare Steiner (00:04:49) - Well, yes. Quite a short jet away to Amsterdam. I'm off to Amsterdam in ten days time. So, yes, for a bit of a party and lots of museums. Actually, I'm going to do a whole museum thing as well, so it should be good, but it is actually a hen party, so. But I suspect not my kind of hen party. You know, these young millennials, they're all about, you know, the the experience and the museums. So but I am really looking forward to it. You can come.

Ryan Haynes (00:05:15) - I'll tell you. The hen party rule book is well and truly been torn up, hasn't it then?

Clare Steiner (00:05:20) - Definitely very different from mine and my friends, that's for sure.

Ryan Haynes (00:05:24) - But nothing better than starting a travel show by talking actually about travel, is there, and what we've been up to. But when it comes to actually industry events, a couple of you have a few things on Clare.

Ryan Haynes (00:05:35) - you've got a couple of things coming up.

Clare Steiner (00:05:36) - Yeah, I have I'm an ambassador for the water charity, fabulous Water charity who could just drop. And we have coming up this second of what is now an annual event, which is the Travel United Cup, which is a football tournament for all sorts of groups and companies sponsored by Royal Caribbean and Visit Malta. And it's taking place this year at Fulham Football Club. So the chance for all the teams to actually play on a premier pitch, which would be amazing families are all invited as well, because it's going to be at the end of the August half of the August, the May half term. And yeah, it's in also with the Street Soccer Foundation. So two charities, hopefully lots of money to be raised for them. And then coming up after that, is the Institute of Travel and Tourism's conference, annual conference, which this year is in Greece. So I'm looking forward to that great speaker lineup. and always a good event now.

Ryan Haynes (00:06:29) - Well, last a conference.

Ryan Haynes (00:06:31) - Tell us about it.

Will Plummer (00:06:34) - Yeah. So we're taking part in the latter conference in good old Windsor, actually at the end of June. So great chance to meet, you know, lots of members, lots of providers and sort of network more than anything else. Always a good event. So looking forward to taking part in that. and seeing Sunny Windsor, not quite as exciting as the Greek Islands, but, you know, I'll take it.

Ryan Haynes (00:06:57) - No, but James is getting his bow tie out yet again, I believe for the dinner.

James Clarke (00:07:03) - Yes. Yeah, I've got two exciting events this week. So we recently joined, at us, and it's, it's the annual, the annual leaders dinner that I'll be attending on Tuesday, evening. and the event brings together basically the travel trade leaders to discuss the developments for eight Arts and the tour in an adventure sector as a whole, and ultimately to try to bring everyone together to explore ways, to work together and create that kind of mutual benefit. So I have that on Tuesday evening.

James Clarke (00:07:35) - but I won't be staying up too late because on the Wednesday morning, I will be on stage, and presenting because very excitingly, travelzoo in had worked with Magee and clear and we will be, sharing and announcing the latest UK and Ireland passenger data and basically the market research that we've conducted. so that will be, on Wednesday morning. I look forward to sharing that data with me and presenting to to all the cruise lines and agents out there.

Ryan Haynes (00:08:10) - Now, our theme for the next month for May is going to be all cruise and cruise liners. so we'll be able to hear some of that data. So look out for that. Stay tuned. because, we're hoping to have some extra cruise specialists come and join our discussions, on the Travel Monthly review show. Right. Coming up next, the industry news.

Ryan Haynes (00:08:35) - So industry news, we're picking 2 or 3 subjects this time to look at. And actually they tap into our topic for this month payments and finance. So it's going to be quite heavy.

Ryan Haynes (00:08:48) - But we're going to try and lighten it for you because, you know, our three personalities here know how to make some of these topics a little bit more fun and light than they need to be. But starting off with a non related payment subject, Spain. To tackle a decrease in UK visitor durations, the Spanish tourist office has reported that UK visitors average day last year was 6.91 days, down from 7.29 days. That's a decrease of 5%. and now that's in contrast to the overall trend, where average stay among visitors is growing by 2.5% over that period. So, 7.5% in total has been lost really by Spain of the UK market. Now. I mean, big thing obviously since 2019 the thing called Brexit has happened. people have had a lot of holiday homes over there. I don't think they necessarily understand, you know, the position that they're in, and what opportunity and they have to be able to visit under those, singing visa laws. But then, also we've seen places like Greece and Turkey, start to take the mantle as key destinations.

Ryan Haynes (00:09:59) - What's your perspective, on this then? Particularly from that demand generation side and outbound tourism and what we're seeing within the marketplace.

James Clarke (00:10:08) - So I think just just from my perspective, Ryan, I think first I'd want to look at maybe potentially one of the reasons for the cause in the numbers that have been released and potentially is, you know, last year, the back end of particularly the back end of 2023, there was a lot of focus from Spain, with promoting tertiary destinations, a big sustainability push, as a destination. And there's nothing wrong with that. Of course, it's what we what we're all striving for. But ultimately that could be one of the causes. Because if you're pushing people, and particularly tourists, to more of those smaller destinations, you're not necessarily going to stay there for a long time. It's more of a test and test and learn situation, you know, go, go and test out severely. If you've previously been to Barcelona, well, then you may only stay a couple of nights while you learn and see if Seville is a destination that you'd like to go back to, where previously, Spain has had a very buoyant, mass market kind of book repeat, book repeat, experience for for British tourists.

James Clarke (00:11:11) - so I think that's probably maybe one of the, the causes, the other, you know, challenge that Spain has is ultimately the competition from other destinations and the great value that you can get in destinations such as, you know, in this market somewhere, like a Turkey and Egypt and places like that where prices are a lot lower, maybe longer durations cost, you can get the same price as ten nights in Egypt or 14 nights in Egypt or Turkey. Then you may pay for seven in Spain. So we've got to remember that the consumer in this market is very money conscious, and they want to get their best value.

Will Plummer (00:11:45) - Yeah, I think that's right. Actually. What what James is saying and one thing I've I've thought about in terms of Spain is Spain is probably a victim of its own success. You know, it's done very well over the years for being sort of a lower cost destination, fabulous destination. And I'm lucky enough that I go every year. But, you know, throughout Covid, when travel opened up, Spain was one of those corridors that people could still go to.

Will Plummer (00:12:10) - it was reasonably accessible. The limitations were, you know, reasonable when it did open up. And I think people have got a bit more ambitious. you know, to James's point, other destinations have come up. They want to do other things. cost is is one of those things that factors in and, you know, maybe Greece, Italy is as accessible as cost effective as Spain was. And I think Spain has a few other challenges. The news that came out in the last few weeks that they're doing away with the the golden visa. So if you buy a residence there, you don't automatically get, you know, your residence visa. And my dad lives out there in the, in the south of Spain. You know, they've got a water shortage in the south of Spain at the moment. You know, all the reservoirs are dried up. They haven't had sufficient rain. And I think there will be logistical challenges this summer. You know, at the moment there's a restriction on how much water, individuals can use.

Will Plummer (00:13:08) - You can't use the swimming pools at the moment. I assume this is preventative so that when the tourists come in the summer, that won't be an issue. But it's not being spoken about. And I think Spain has some challenges and I love the destination, but unfortunately it's it's in the mix with a lot of other places and it really needs to work very hard. Balancing out its ambition to be, you know, more sustainable, but yet get the Masters back and, you know, look after everyone. So. Let's see what happens.

Clare Steiner (00:13:41) - I was just going to add about the mass tourism, just to sort of press you on that a bit, is the fact that I think another challenge around the mass tourism is just is to have the numbers, but without the overtourism. And of course, what we're starting to see in some of the things in the Belarus isn't that recently, you know, protests over the numbers of tourists and that could spread. So I think, again, that's just another challenge to throw into the mix.

Clare Steiner (00:14:04) - And as people hear about this on the news and they hear about the challenges of, you know, getting in and the visas and all that sort of stuff, it will change it. But I completely agree with James, in the fact that I think there's just there's there's more choice out there and more, you know, newer destinations are coming through the people going, oh, do you know what? I might have gone to Spain for the last ten years, but I've never been to I mean, Albania is one that I think is really going to start growing and have opportunities, and that's a lot cheaper. So people are very cost conscious as well.

Ryan Haynes (00:14:32) - Right? Talking about costs and being cost conscious, will dynamic pricing impact consumers choice as it's coming for everything in travel? First it was Ubers, then it was Wendy Burgers. Now it's JetBlue adding peak pricing to checked luggage. So comparing flight prices with fees has just got that little bit more difficult. also when you look at what's happening with restaurant touring, in the UK, we have a pub and bar chain called Slug and Lettuce, which they've announced they will start charging more for beer during peak hours.

Ryan Haynes (00:15:03) - And this trend is spreading, and I've certainly heard a lot more about it within the food and beverage sector here in the UK. what's your thoughts on this? will it put you off? I mean, I'm certainly one that if I go in and I see a price one day and I go in and see a price a different day for the same burger and chips, it will completely put me off that restaurant and, make me question, sort of like what? You know, the commercial, strategies there and, you know, sort of their, their commitment to their customers. I know we're seeing it. We've always seen it in hotels. We see it in airlines. And do you think it's fair to be adding it to every single product and service within travel?

Will Plummer (00:15:42) - I mean, I personally think that's probably the reality that we live in. I think dynamic pricing has been talked about as long as I've been in travel, you know. 20 years or so in terms of everyone's ambition to try and do it.

Will Plummer (00:15:56) - Obviously, as you say, the hotels, the airlines have done it successfully. I think to an extent this is a knee jerk reaction. I think what will happen is there will be some kind of balance because people will, you know, vote with their feet in terms of trends, will change in terms of where they go. There'll be restrictions, obviously, things like school holidays, which we're already seeing in hotels and airlines, but I think there'll be a balance out. I think one of the reasons why it's sort of coming to fruition now is the technology has caught up on this side of things. You know, for years everyone talked about dynamic pricing. We want to do this. We want to look at our loads. We want to look at our peak seasons and try and flatten out that the peaks and troughs. But the technology wasn't there or not up to space and a lot of areas to to sort of deal with that. In most cases it is now. so that's one big plus.

Will Plummer (00:16:54) - But as I say, people will vote with their feet. And I think what you'll see ultimately is a flattening of those of those peaks and troughs. And so there'll be some initial kneejerk and unhappy reactions, but it will probably work out for the better. You know, you won't go to the pub during that period. You'll go another period and suddenly then that business has got, you know, a longer, more sustainable business around it. So it's positive there may be some pain initially.

Ryan Haynes (00:17:23) - I'd be interesting because I mean, you know, peak periods tend to be happy hour when the prices tend to be dropped. So I don't really understand what they're trying to achieve. in some of this, is a bit peculiar. I mean, that's that's why you, you sort of, like, put those attractive prices out there, surely.

James Clarke (00:17:40) - Well, that that's exactly my point is funny, isn't it? It's it's the it's someone's like inverted the happy hour model. The point of creating these lower price periods of time was to encourage footfall.

James Clarke (00:17:52) - You're now trying to discourage footfall footfall by increasing prices. And the same with airlines. I would look at it as if it was me I would look at in a different set of eyes. I would say instead of trying to charge greater prices when we're at capacity, look at all the opportunities where you could lower prices and say, hey, there's a bargain fair here. We throw a bargain because the flight's quiet. So channel people like Disney do around, you know, people around a theme park to where you want them to go, rather than trying to almost penalise them for wanting to go at a particular time. I just the model to me is very frustrating and I, I agree with Will. What what will ultimately happen is you'll just discourage people until a business realises actually this is more damaging, particularly to the brand, because I think the first brand who comes out and actually says, why would we do this? Why would we penalise our our customers will be the winner.

Ryan Haynes (00:18:47) - Well, from discouragement to encouragement, loyalty programs, Avis Budget Group, has just launched their new enhanced free loyalty initiative, Avis Preferred, that offers instant rewards, including a 10% discount from the first rental.

Ryan Haynes (00:19:04) - And Expedia Group has launched their single loyalty programs that include, Expedia, Vrbo, joining forces there so all guests can earn rewards across the three platforms. The only disadvantage here is that customers will earn less because their original 10% back based is now reduced to about 2%. So, loyalty programs, I mean, it's a time, right? It's a time of year really, seasonality-wise, to really promote loyalty programs, to get them engaged in advance of the travel, big travel season. Are you a member firstly, of any loyalty programs? Claire, you are one who sort of chases these opportunities.

Clare Steiner (00:19:51) - Well, yes and no. So, I think loyalty has got quite a lot to do with it going forward. And we'll certainly have like everybody, you know, nectar has been there forever. And you know, they say that to know more about you than anyone else in the world, you know, because of the data that they collect on you. I'm actually so I'm, I've been a loyal, subscriber for a number of years because I do quite a lot of travelling around the UK in particular, and similar to hotels.

Clare Steiner (00:20:16) - And for me, it's great because I can, you know, if I'm got an early flight, I can use my, my reward nights to stay at a hotel near the airport and all that sort of stuff, which, you know, decreases the cost for me, however. So I was very disappointed to see that I was actually going to be losing out with the new loyalty program. And as a result, I'm now much more likely to go, okay, which other loyalty programs, you know, like Avios or something, you know, can I go through the sort of the nectar prices hotels because they do it now? Will I get more now doing it through that? So I think, you know, lots of programs. I like the fact that I feel I'm getting something for nothing. I think there's a psychological. Stick to it. But because of that, because of the reduction in what I win, as a result of that, they're losing some of their loyalty, potentially.

Clare Steiner (00:20:59) - I mean, I've still got to work out which is best. But so for me as a consumer, I'm slightly disappointed.

James Clarke (00:21:06) - Clare touched on a point there about Avios. I think they've an air miles. I think virtually everyone has joined in some form or another an airline reward scheme. and it was kind of a no-brainer when people felt that they were able to receive air miles for travelling. So that was obviously a very clever scheme. And then so many other businesses, whether if it was Tesco or Nectar, have all gone on to this kind of scheme, one of the dangerous elements of it now, I think particularly with the shops, it's almost forcing you to sign up to become a member because they're all saying you will only get cheaper prices if you're a member, which again, goes against this whole concept of just trying to provide people access to their goods. But then again, the customer is key, and what they're trying to do is, as Claire said, is obtain information so they can then improve their service and ultimately drive prices down and increase their, customer service.

James Clarke (00:22:00) - So it benefits from a lot of these member memberships and loyalty programs. I think, from my own personal perspective at Travelzoo, you know, our membership was relatively, a very simple membership. It was a free membership for many, many years. We're a paid membership now, but a very low-value membership of a few pounds a month. And what that few pounds a month allows you to do is access multiple savings and deals, on lifestyle products all the way through to travel products. And I think what most, most people will look at it, and especially our members and they'll see it as to spend a couple of pounds a month, but to save hundreds or if not, you know, thousands. When you look at some of the cruise products that we promote, it's worthwhile. And I think the key is with any loyalty program is to overall reward for what you're trying to charge. And, you know, I think if you look at a subscription service like Amazon Prime, in the very early days, everyone said it was such a no-brainer.

James Clarke (00:23:00) - And probably even now, it's got to a point where people are starting to question it as prices go up and up and up, because there's always that tipping point of what you can either charge or what you can get away with from a, from a consumer, from a, a company to, to what a customer slash member will seem as an acceptable amount.

Will Plummer (00:23:20) - I think loyalty is the wrong word. for a lot of this. James kind of touched on it there. It's almost this, this kind of right of access to a lot of things. You know, it's this personalization that these companies want. It's the data that they want to store. You know, I use British Airways Avios, I have bookers, I have Is that loyalty? You know, I'm spreading myself over a number of different platforms and looking for the best deal. I have to say I don't pay for loyalty. I'm not sort of signed up and subscribing to the likes of Travelzoo or anything. obviously should be James.

Will Plummer (00:23:58) - Sorry. but it is loyalty. I'm not fixed on one particular thing. I'm not sort of tied my master, tied my flag to the mast for bookers. I will shop around with the booking. I will shop around with different airlines. I'm looking for the best deals. So I need to be part of these programs to. Get access. But I question the term loyalty on this.

Clare Steiner (00:24:23) - I get where you're coming from. I think picking up on what James said I think it's about what's in it for you, isn't it? What's the reward for you? And I think also then it becomes in what's in a name. So, you know, they're sort of called loyalty programs. Whether or not they make you more loyal. I think depends on what you get. So for me, you know, if I'm getting more bang for my buck from that particular program, I will be more loyal to them. But like you, I also agree that you do.

Clare Steiner (00:24:48) - You know, there are so many choices out there now that you want to go out and find what's going to be best for you based on your requirements at that time as well. Right?

Ryan Haynes (00:24:55) - Coming up next, our topic is payments.

Ryan Haynes (00:25:02) - So payments is the name of the show today, and we are going to be having a mini panel discussion in just a moment looking at payments. but what is your favourite way to pay? What stories do you have of travel paying and what disappoints you about payments. I remember I was about 8 or 9 years old going to Tenerife. I had this laminated card, my dad gave me some pesetas, and there I was going into little tourist shops, and I was trying to work out how many pesetas was a pound and what I was buying for that magnet, or that postcard that I was buying for grandma. since then, it has become euros. Everything became way too easy and too simple. but I do remember the days of the old traveller cheques and having to go and exchange those.

Ryan Haynes (00:25:47) - And that one time that I was in San Francisco at 20 years old, I'd run out of money. I had to call mum by pay back on the phone, and I had to ask her to wire me some money. Now everything's digital, buy now, pay later, or you just put it on your credit card. I mean, what about you guys? well, James, Clare, any memories of those moments when you travelled and had to make payments? The good, the bad and the ugly?

Clare Steiner (00:26:18) - My dad gave me a $50 traveller's check when I first started travelling on my own, or with friends. And I had it for about 20 years. He was my. It was my safety money. and it was dollars because he said you can pretty much use dollars anywhere. and I literally had it for years. So I'll always remember that. and I think for me, the only time was when I was travelling down to the south of France in my car with a girlfriend. This is 30 years ago.

Clare Steiner (00:26:43) - We ran out of money in the south of France and we didn't. We didn't want to ring off our friends because we would be embarrassed. And randomly we got chatting to these, these fellow Brits and it and they lent us some money and then we sent them a cheque when we got home. I mean, talk about trust and I'll, but we talk about it all the time, she and I and just the fact that these I mean, there were young lads and I don't know, you know, there's probably other reasons why they wanted to give us some money. You know, that sounds terrible, but no, honestly, the trust that they put in us, and we did. As soon as we got home, we sent them a cheque for the money. So I was very lucky with that.

Ryan Haynes (00:27:20) - A handwritten check in my hand and check.

Clare Steiner (00:27:23) - There you go. Yeah.

Ryan Haynes (00:27:24) - Wow.

Ryan Haynes (00:27:24) - This will be James. I mean, you got young kids now, what's that experience of taking them abroad and them having to deal with currency or payments?

Will Plummer (00:27:33) - Well, very, very different I think from back in the days, but still going into sort of shops and trying to work out the €5 note or the €1 they've got, you know, what it equates to and what they can actually buy with it.

Will Plummer (00:27:46) - I remember traveller's cheques as well, you know, the old sort of money belt hidden behind, you know, it just in there. It's just like bringing it out and going and cashing it. And then you'd have to stash your cash in the top of your backpack and somewhere else, and no one stole it. And wow. I mean, in many respects, those are the days. And I am ridiculously messy. And ironically, I've got stuff sitting around on my desk, but sort of every drawer I've got. Notes from different parts of the world are not used on a Turkish lira. Actually, to be honest, and I think money, one of the things we did when the kids were a bit younger, actually, and obviously travelling a lot for trade shows and visiting customers was, you know, bringing back whatever notes they might be worth. Very little. But just seeing the different banknotes and everything like that, that really fascinates me and quite excites me in terms of that. Almost disastrous.

Will Plummer (00:28:43) - I remember we were in fact, it was last summer, I think my wife had a massage or bought something on the beach in Spain, got out euros, thought she had enough. One of the notes was an Argentinian peso, which looked very similar. It was blue but was worth considerably less than the money that she needed. So there was a mad scramble around to try and find, you know, euros for that. But. It's a little bit sad that, you know the sort of notes and money is changing, but right now I'm a massive Apple fan. You know what amazed me, actually? South Africa hadn't been for, four years, sort of pre-COVID. then it was very cash-based. It's far more card-based. Now, I think the majority of stuff I paid on Apple Pay over there, and it's amazing and I know it. There's a real differentiation in different parts of the world. But I was amazed by the transformation down there. but yeah, great sad, great sadness because I do like seeing banknotes from different countries and that quite excites me, opening the drawer and going all of this money, which is, you know, in total probably ten, £20, but, you know, so many different notes and denominations is quite exciting to me.

James Clarke (00:30:01) - Can I just add something really funny? I know you were talking about the money belts, but can you also remember the core did little tubes you used to hang around your neck with plastic?

Ryan Haynes (00:30:14) - Money and tie them.

Will Plummer (00:30:15) - Up? Yes, I used to love that. And you.

James Clarke (00:30:17) - Think what? Whether it's the most dangerous thing you could probably wear today. If you're going to get.

Will Plummer (00:30:23) - Mugged, someone's.

James Clarke (00:30:24) - Going to take your neck with you.

Will Plummer (00:30:26) - Look at me. I've got money.

James Clarke (00:30:28) - Oh, they're just going to snap it off you and take it. But what a great invention, you know. Oh, I'm going to the sea. I'm just going to stop all my money in here, tie it up and go into the sea.

Ryan Haynes (00:30:39) - I remember it, I loved it, I think I had a red one, and a yellow brother had a blue one. Yeah. Absolutely. Fantastic. Well, well, well, well remembered there. Thank you very much, James, for taking me back down memory lane.

Ryan Haynes (00:30:51) - and I think to Will's point, 2015, when I started living in Brazil for a couple of years, there were all the blocks of the parties, you know, these people would come out wheeling, these wheelbarrows full of drinks and alcohol, and they would they only, I had all had these credit card machines. And I was amazed because you never saw them back in the UK. So you do see how, you know, developing countries almost hop, skip and jump over. even, our, you know, the developed countries here in Europe. Right. Okay. Well, let's not without further ado, let's hear from Maggie Bazemore, knowledge management director at Mr. and Mrs. Smith. James Lehman, global industry lead, travel and leisure at Stripe. And Peter Gerstle business solutions director head of travel loyalty at Collinson.

Ryan Haynes (00:31:44) - Payments are a big talking point at the moment, and tech vendors seem to be clambering around to get payment systems integrated into the wider guest and booking experience. So I want to know a little bit more as to whether this is a value add, or whether they're desperately trying to keep up with the market changes.

Ryan Haynes (00:31:59) - James, thanks ever so much for coming to join us in this conversation today. So it's a big thing. You've been really busy in the industry, connecting, and working with a lot of different platforms, systems and consumer-facing travel and hospitality businesses. What's actually happening out there when it comes to payments?

James Clarke (00:32:17) - I think the big surprise people, Ryan, is that payments are actually incredibly strategic.

James Lemon (00:32:21) - Obviously at a foundational level, it's central to every business. At some point, you need to get paid and you will need to be paying out to suppliers. But I think it really is worth travel leaders looking at, you know, the changes over the last couple of years and getting up to speed and educating themselves on what's happening. There are probably three trends in the consumer payment space that I think should be really top of mind. One is an absolute explosion in the way that people like to pay. If you just want to sell in the US or into the UK. Sure, you might get away with kind of debits and credit cards only, but what about Apple Pay and Google Pay? These are just expectations now from customers.

James Lemon (00:32:58) - And there's a whole range of new ways to pay like Cash App in the US, Alipay and Grab pay out of China and Southeast Asia. And even in Europe, you've got everything from ideal in the Netherlands, Blick in Poland, Swish in Sweden. So if you're building an international travel business, you need to feel local, you need to have that kind of local experience. The second trend would be instalments. Why not let your consumers pay over time as they think about their holiday? Or why not let a small business owner stagger the cost of payments for their business travel? That could be an instalment program you set up yourself, or it could be one of these buy now, pay later offerings like Klarna, Affirm or Clear Pay. And then the third trend really is just conversion. We spend so much time in the travel industry obsessing about our marketing funnel and how we convert people. There are dozens of reasons why you could lose someone in that last step of the process, and we just want to make it really simple that you should never lose a dollar of revenue because of your payment experience.

James Lemon (00:33:51) - And just a really quick word on B2B payments for the finance teams out there. I think in the last 20 years, people have pretty much paid for B2B payments through, you know, bank invoices and transfers or virtual credit cards. But if you look at some of the ecosystems that have spun up in the last decade. Take your favourite ridesharing app or your favourite food delivery app. These are really complex businesses running on a new technology of digital payment rails. So the customer pays and then that money is instantly split. Commissions are collected, and then they're passed out between maybe a scooter rider a restaurant or a taxi driver. None of that legacy admin and reconciliation that we've seen in the travel industry. And so I think we all kind of have an opportunity to go, what's happening over there? And how can we bring the best of that to travel?

Ryan Haynes (00:34:38) - I mean, we're opening a massive can of worms here when it comes to payments. So as obviously there's a lot of dynamics here we need to be considering.

Ryan Haynes (00:34:44) - And Peter, as we just bring you in here quickly, I'm looking at sort of like loyalty. You know, that's another area that it needs to be though, the central focus for us when it comes to looking at the payments and the systems.

Peter Gerstle (00:34:55) - It starts with payments in a way of strategic thinking, but it ends with payments as well and everything in between loyalty, customer experience, and operational processes. I really think almost payment kind of touches all of these areas. So it's really important to kind of get it right. And as James said, to be relevant both internally but also externally to the customer, be local to where the customer is paying the methods that the customer is paying, and respect their commercial realities as well. People have different ways of paying, different needs of how they pay, etc. it's really important.

Ryan Haynes (00:35:28) - So looking now at consumer expectations of payments, bringing in Maggie, Mr And Mrs Smith very consumer facing you know, what are the things that you're experiencing there in and amongst your, your, your bookers?

Maggie Bazemore (00:35:42) - Well, I would say that I mean, it is about choice, right? So, offering customers a choice of how they pay, maybe when they pay or, who they pay, 

Maggie Bazemore (00:35:54) - Being, Mr and Mrs Smith is sort of that, middle, merchant. You know, the customers are on our website and they're making, bookings and payments with us, but at the same time, we have to do the same, that same thing for our hotels. And we're paying those hotels, either, part of the payment or all of it, and then they're paying, us to be contracting with us. So there's a lot of flows that, you know, between the three sort of parties. And I think James really makes a great point about that B2B element. there isn't as much flexibility, at least in our space, as to how we pay properties for the funds the consumer gives to us. And, you know, it used to be full. Transfer, which is, you know, heavy lifting and, you know, lots of admin. And so, you know, virtual credit cards came about and it was a revelation. And now those are less, of a revelation.

Maggie Bazemore (00:36:56) - In fact, we have hotels that are so small and so, you know, local that some of them don't even take credit cards. So we've gone back to the bank transfer. And so, you know, being able to have more options for those types of scenarios would, you know, allow flexibility within our business, allows efficiency in the finance space. so it's not yes. The consumers of course are very, very important. But our hotels are our customers as well. And having that balance between the two sides is really absolutely necessary because you can have efficiency at both the beginning and the end of the transaction.

Ryan Haynes (00:37:37) - Now. Mr and Mrs Smith, I guess it's working with both your finance team, but it's also working with the front-end user experience as well with the platform for customers. but what does that sort of payment platform, you know, look like? and how has that had to evolve, recently to really adapt to this changing environment?

Maggie Bazemore (00:37:55) - It's similar to what James was saying.

Maggie Bazemore (00:37:57) - You have to be able to offer things like Apple Pay. It's a minimum now. It's not you know, if people go away when they don't see that option. Same thing with buy now, pay later. You know, that is becoming more and more useful. I would say that what we're trying not to do is, overwhelm.

Ryan Haynes (00:38:19) - So, James, when it comes to sort of like the wider travel industry, what are the sort of expectations around sort of consumer payments?

James Lemon (00:38:27) - Yeah, I think I think you really need to have that retailers’ mindset, you know, does your checkout seamlessly adapt to where the traveller is in the world and how they prefer to pay? Remember me is a really big theme. If they've ever been on your website before, have you ever seen that person before? Do you do you know their email? Of course. Do you? Do you know how they like to pay? That's just a really important human touch you should be able to add.

James Lemon (00:38:50) - I was using the example of Uber. Do we even remember the last time we gave Uber our credit card? And yet it's always just there waiting for us, which means you can have that one-click checkout every single time. That just makes it, you know, a kind of go-to offering. Another theme I think is really can you capture more of the trip spend. So we see a lot of hotels who just, hey, we just need to take care of your room revenue. But that might only be 40% of the total trip. Where's the rest of that trip's trip spent going? And do you have an opportunity to offer a taxi from the airport or a local tour with a modern payment experience? You can do all of that in one checkout. And again, behind the scenes, the money may be being split between 4 or 5 different partners. The consumer still gets a great experience and you've simplified all that complexity on the back end.

Ryan Haynes (00:39:35) - So over to Peter. Why is it fundamental from a user experience?

Ryan Haynes (00:39:38) - So obviously, James tapped on some of it. but also from a primarily, I guess, customer loyalty perspective, the importance of these payments.

Peter Gerstle (00:39:46) - The one element that the one word that hasn't been raised is trust. It's all about trust and loyalty. And payments both rely on trust. And that's really a strong intersection of those two topics. And in terms of the user experience. Again, I don't want to make this necessarily about loyalty, because really it's about any customer. And we have the technology today to almost give loyalty to any customer, regardless of whether they're signed up for a program, a formal program or not. A couple of other things on user experience or biometrics, for example. I think it's going to become really, really important. Again, merging the person and all the data about and payment data, personal data, you know, you know, passport, etc. data. So biometrics will play a really, really strong role in almost creating even less friction and more seamlessness in the user experience.

Peter Gerstle (00:40:37) - Loyalty, I should say, is a good way to reduce to increase the convenience, but also lower the barrier to purchase, allow payments to really again reduce friction about individual considerations of do I buy this, this and this and this? You have five different checkouts. No, you have a single checkout. You just look at the product and have a convenient way of accessing it, of purchasing it. So payments and product development are really, really important.

Ryan Haynes (00:41:01) - Thank you. So Maggie, I mean are you seeing that within Mr and Mrs Smith, how is that impacting that customer loyalty? And because you've touched on some of that user experience side of things, but what on a deeper level do you look at?

Maggie Bazemore (00:41:15) - Close to my heart is fraud and security. And so, we, you know, you want to reduce as much friction as possible when you know the customer. It is about data points that you have collected over time. It's knowing their booking patterns, the way they pay, they how they stay.

Maggie Bazemore (00:41:32) - You know what, what sort of, information you get from the way that they use the website, how often they visit us, that sort of thing. If we collect that information so that when it comes to making those bookings and actually transacting with us, that friction doesn't exist and we only place it on those transactions, which we don't know. We don't we we haven't seen before. We haven't seen the customer before. we haven't seen their email before in some ways, you know, of course, lots of people have multiple email addresses. Lots of people have, you know, multiple accounts on multiple credit cards. But knowing, other factors that are associated with that consumer, helps us say that's just a new credit card, that they're, that they, that they're using. That's just a new email address they're using because we've seen the same pattern and the same, you know, way and style of behaviour, through our online platforms and through our team, people can speak to us and make bookings over the phone.

Maggie Bazemore (00:42:38) - In some ways, that is easier to know that that person is genuine because you're actually physically hearing their voice and their behaviour and the way that they are attempting to make a reservation. So it's much more human. But combined with their online behaviour in previous transactions, it allows us to say, that this person is someone we know, this person is someone we trust, and therefore they can trust us to handle their payment and the subsequent transactions appropriately.

Ryan Haynes (00:43:09) - Now, James, I mean, there's, you know, quite a bit of investment that companies need to make, particularly from a resource perspective and perhaps, purchasing and subscribing to other platforms and systems. How can we understand the ROI there for a company?

James Lemon (00:43:22) - Look, on the growth side, I think there's a ton of business from shifting more customers to your direct channels. Then maybe that's a kind of a cost of sales of 4 or 5% of your direct channels, versus kind of 15% plus maybe from an OTA or a third party.

James Lemon (00:43:37) - There's definitely something around then converting customers who are hitting your site. So Stripe know that if you're on our latest version of our optimised checkout suite, your conversion goes up by about 10.5%, which is pretty significant and worth discussing. In the C-suite, for sure. I think if you start remembering who your customers are next time there's a loyalty play and a retention play there, and those guests are typically slightly kind of cheaper to attract. But there's also a big thing theme around new revenue streams as well. So you might be an airport that's building, you know, an online shopping offering for the first time. You might be an OTA or a hotel group who's thinking about upselling and trying to capture some FNB spend, get people into a different room or sell a tour, an attraction. So there's all these kind of creative new purchase moments you can create, which I think is really exciting. And then behind the scenes, like it's it's about team efficiency. It's about getting people off of low-value roll jobs like reconciliation, some of the more basic fraud stuff and invoicing and onto some of those higher-value tasks.

James Lemon (00:44:36) - Exactly as Maggie said, it's about picking the most high-risk moments behind the scenes, or frankly, it's giving people more interesting jobs to do.

Ryan Haynes (00:44:43) - Peter. And we touched on this at the very beginning, loyalty programs now becoming a huge part of the payment. Now, how are these evolving specifically?

Peter Gerstle (00:44:53) - I would turn this the other way around. Actually, law payments are becoming a part of loyalty. You know, you can start paying with your loyalty currency. You know, Collinson is involved in that era. We have a product called Smart Pay, for example, that allows you to use your loyalty currency at checkout. There are other providers out there as well. Card linking is a method of recognizing a loyalty customer across different touch points. So basically using the payment card as an identifier helps loyalty. But then also and I mentioned data before I mentioned biometrics. All these things have loyalty and payments in common. it's really although directionally, I would still say payments are becoming a part of loyalty.

Peter Gerstle (00:45:36) - They just come closer together. I think that's the essence of what we want to recognize payments in the palm of your hand. This may sound like, you know, I should have said this five years ago, but it's really only coming to the fore today where that mobile device in your hand really brings everything together. Interaction with your customer, you know, product management and all that selling, but also then, you know, payments.

Ryan Haynes (00:46:02) - So let's look at the growing popularity of subscription programs, particularly in travel and hospitality. Are these a fad? or they're becoming the real deal?

Peter Gerstle (00:46:09) - Peter, I think the rise of subscriptions and everybody's talking about them these days is really it's loyalty perspective, entering areas of distribution, proposition development and ultimately payment thinking as well. It's been around forever. It's coming to the fore also because there are now providers out there who have a product and services in place that allow somebody just to stand up a subscription to stand up, a recurring payment setup.

Peter Gerstle (00:46:38) - Out of nothing, whereas previously that was really much harder to do.

Ryan Haynes (00:46:42) - Well, let's come to you then, Maggie. You know, how is that take-up coming along? How are you sort of looking at these different programs that you're offering your customers and tinkering with them?

Maggie Bazemore (00:46:51) - Yeah. That's right. I mean, our subscription model is around our membership. And, as Peter said, subscriptions as a whole have been around for ages. And, I would say that using I'm going to I'm going to use Stripe again. we use Stripe's subscription model and we wouldn't be able to do what we do with that without Stripe. So previously it was just, you know, a one-off payment, maybe yearly they came back, but we'd have to chase them. We'd, you know, so from an efficiency point of view and loyalty and, you know, acquisition point of view, that person is there.

Maggie Bazemore (00:47:35) - They know what they're subscribed to. It's very clear. And then at the same time, we have introduced earning, that a membership. We have three tiers you can join for free for the first tier, and then you can either earn or pay for the top two. And your benefits change, of course, between the tiers and your sort of earning of points or loyalty to the Mr and Mrs Smith program changes between the three as well. And it's having that tiered membership, having that sort of like you know it's almost like customers become competitive in a way like they want they get to that point where they're so close to the next stage and just being able to also show them that and not have it be a behind the scenes thing where we're going, oh, that person is really close. We'll upgrade them next. It is the ability to show a customer you're so close. Just add that one more room or that one more stay, or you know that at that amount.

Maggie Bazemore (00:48:35) - So that becomes an upsell is similar to what James was saying before. It's a natural upsell. So there is an element of flexibility that, I think intrigues people as well and sort of sucks them in and keeps them there for, you know, as, as long as we can.

Ryan Haynes (00:48:59) - So, quite a lot to go through there when it came to payments. James, I know it's a big thing for you in your business looking at payments. What is your taking from that and any additional factors that you need people to consider?

James Clarke (00:49:13) - So, yeah, it's quite fortunate that we work with Stripe. So, a big advocate of what they've been able to do with, with our business and they've definitely. Everything that James said is very true. It's really enhanced. Our payment gateway, working with stripe. But I think some of the biggest points I take away from that was a if you are that middleman and you are transacting between multiple partners, or even if you're working within the user, it's about having the options and a vast amount of options.

James Clarke (00:49:44) - Ultimately, the consumer wants to be able to pay on any card type. The key piece that I took from that was around security. You want to feel very confident as a consumer, and it's very important for a company to reassure a customer through that booking journey that their information is safe because ultimately you're typing in details that give access to withdrawing money. So I think the security, the options and of course, remember me, it's such a no-brainer. If you're using a business on a regular occurrence, it makes life so much easier if they've saved your payment details.

Ryan Haynes (00:50:20) - Thank you. And now, Will, I mean, payments are obviously a foundation really of how you support your customers. and your wider network there. What additional thoughts and ideas you can contribute?

Will Plummer (00:50:32) - Everything they're saying is absolutely right. You know, in terms of the sort of front-end customer experience. But I think travel companies need to be aware of that, you know, especially post-Covid. But even pre-COVID, travel as an industry and there are lots of verticals within it is seen as high risk.

Will Plummer (00:50:49) - So you've got to think about how you're actually going to work, you know, with your acquiring partner. We always encourage travel companies to have more than one partner. I know that's not necessarily, you know, Stripe's remit, but people's risk tolerance changes, and where your consumers are based might vary your risk tolerance. So we always say have two or more acquirers. So you've always got full back in. Because if there is another event like Covid, God forbid, you know, banks ran for the hills, acquiring banks ran for the hills at that period. And you need to have long-term support and security in your business and what you're doing. And while I echo what James Lemon was saying around, you know, providing those different payment solutions for your market, it's not a case of just turning them on and your market will come. You've got to plan it as part of your strategy so as if you're marketing to a particular region if you're marketing to China, if you're marketing to other parts of Southeast Asia, or if you're marketing to the Netherlands or Germany, then look at the payment solutions that those clients are used to paying with, rather than just simply turning on an Alipay or a software and expecting the customers to magically come.

Will Plummer (00:52:08) - But the one thing I'd say to travel companies is just remember, underneath all of this, you know, you've got to convince an acquiring bank that you are, a bona fide business. Travel companies are known as delayed delivery merchants because the time between payment and actual delivery with that service can be a week, six months, a year, or 18 months, depending on the type of business. Now that is a risk to that bank. So you need to convince them of your security to get the best terms and to work with you. It is an important part of the journey, but make sure you plan and make sure you strategise it properly. Don't. Don't just expect that you know turning something on will miraculously lead to more business.

Ryan Haynes (00:52:58) - All right, we're now on to the quick quiz, The Best of Five, where our panellists are challenged on their industry knowledge. Are you ready, guys? Do we have our buzzers at the ready? James, let's hear it.

Ryan Haynes (00:53:12) - Oh, that's a racket. That one. Excellent. Been raiding the kiddies drawers. Over to you, Will. What's yours?

Will Plummer (00:53:17) - Very good old bell.

Ryan Haynes (00:53:18) - Brilliant and Claire?

Clare Steiner (00:53:21) - Back to my buzzer.

Ryan Haynes (00:53:24) - That definitely go run straight through me. That one. Okay. All right. The quiz. Question one. Are we ready? Geography. The flags of Australia and New Zealand proudly display the stars of the Southern Cross. Name one of three other countries that have the constellation on their flag. Will?

Will Plummer (00:53:44) - Fiji. No.

Ryan Haynes (00:53:48) - No. James?

James Clarke (00:53:51) - Samoa?

Ryan Haynes (00:53:52) - Yes. Congratulations. He's got a point. He's ahead of Will. Come on Claire. Let's see what you can get. You have a question..

Clare Steiner (00:54:00) - Oh right.

Ryan Haynes (00:54:01) - Destination question. Which country has the most pyramids? James?

James Clarke (00:54:08) - I have to say Egypt.

Ryan Haynes (00:54:13) - Nuh-uh. Clare?.

Clare Steiner (00:54:14) - I'm going to say Mexico.

Ryan Haynes (00:54:18) - We're gonna have a go. 

Will Plummer (00:54:18) - Jordan.

Ryan Haynes (00:54:22) - No, I tell you what. It's Sudan. 

James Clarke (00:54:27) - Oh, wow. There you go.

Ryan Haynes (00:54:28) - Egypt 118. Sudan 220. There you are.

Ryan Haynes (00:54:34) - That's the next destination. Quieter. Probably a destination dupe. Right? All right, third question. Airlines in 2023. What was the busiest airport in the world? Oh, he's in there. He's in there. Quick with the buzzer. James?

James Clarke (00:54:50) - I'm going to say Chicago O'Hare.

Ryan Haynes (00:54:54) - No. Go on Claire?

Clare Steiner (00:54:57) - Dubai?

Ryan Haynes (00:55:00) - Not quite. That was the second position. Will?

Will Plummer (00:55:07) - I don't know whether I've been led down the garden path on that one.

Ryan Haynes (00:55:11) - Well, you got to give an answer. Come on.

Will Plummer (00:55:13) - Atlanta.

Ryan Haynes (00:55:14) - Yes. Oh my God, well done. There is one-one. Fourth question, history. What year did Japan debut its famous bullet trains?

Ryan Haynes (00:55:30) - Go on.

Will Plummer (00:55:31) - 1988.

Ryan Haynes (00:55:35) - Does someone want to try and have a go? It's not the correct answer. Do you want to try and get closer than that?

James Clarke (00:55:41) - I'm going to go for 91.

Clare Steiner (00:55:45) - I'm going to go for 95.

Ryan Haynes (00:55:48) - 1964.

Clare Steiner (00:55:50) - No, really?

Ryan Haynes (00:55:52) - Yes, we were available. Fifth question attraction hosting over 10 million visitors a year.

Ryan Haynes (00:56:01) - Madame Tussauds is one of the world's best-known attraction brands. How many locations do they have globally?

Ryan Haynes (00:56:13) - Will?

Will Plummer (00:56:14) - It's a pure guess. I'm going for eight.

Ryan Haynes (00:56:17) - Okay, eight.

Clare Steiner (00:56:19) - I'm going to go for a lot more than that, I reckon 60.

Ryan Haynes (00:56:21) - 60 versus 8. Wow.

James Clarke (00:56:28) - I'm going to go for ten.

Ryan Haynes (00:56:30) - Okay. Right. Well, the person who's closest but still far away is James. It was 24. So two points to James 

Clare Steiner (00:56:43) - I knew. A lot but I thought it was. Yeah okay.

Ryan Haynes (00:56:44) - But could we maybe get you a bonus point just for the sake of it, Where was the first Madame Tussauds Claire?

Clare Steiner (00:56:56) - London.

Ryan Haynes (00:56:57) - Yes. Hey. Where are you right now? 

Clare Steiner (00:56:56) -So you see, I've said at least I get one point every game, I'm happy.

Ryan Haynes (00:57:07) - Yeah. but on this round, it's 202. All right. Okay. This is the deciding question. How many emirates make up the UAE? James?

James Clarke (00:57:20) - Eight.

Ryan Haynes (00:57:23) - That's incorrect. So the point goes ta ta ta will.

Speaker 7 (00:57:28) - Oh.

Ryan Haynes (00:57:30) - I decide I'm the quizmaster. We have to come to the end of the programme. Well done. Well, three rounds to one round to James.

James Clarke (00:57:37) - What was it, a nine? Was it nine? Seven? Oh, right. 

Ryan Haynes (00:57:23) - Right then I love you all. Thank you very much for joining us. And I look forward to catching you up in our next episode.

Will Plummer (00:57:50) - Thanks Ryan, thanks all.

James Clarke (00:57:51) - Thanks guys.

Clare Steiner (00:57:51) - Thanks, bye.

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