3 Best Practices to Simplify Treasury Management in Travel and Hospitality

Written by Jason Mountford
December 7, 2023

Treasury management in travel and hospitality can be like a tightrope walk across a river filled with alligators, with your feet tied together, and the rope is on fire. 

Whether it’s dealing with the word that starts with P and rhymes with shmandemic, fluctuating currencies, inflation impacting consumer spending, massive swings in staffing needs or literal wars upending flight paths and travel itineraries, there is always something big happening to impact the industry.

There’s almost no other sector where data is as important. In an industry where accurately predicting demand and cash flow can be the difference between record profits or bankruptcy, tracking and monitoring cash is of immense value to treasury departments, and the company as a whole. 

But of course it’s not just tracking that data that makes the difference. What really separates a winning business from the competition is its ability to find the trends, details and opportunities in that data. 

The good news is that digital transformation is helping retail and hospitality treasurers do this better than ever. It’s now possible to access real time data with 100% accuracy, perform detailed scenario planning and comprehensive financial forecasting.

In short, the right treasury management software can mean the difference between success and failure in an industry that is notoriously volatile.

Check out our recent episode of the Fintech Corner podcast as Jeff Macke, Founder and President of Macke Asset Management, interviews Brett Turner, Founder & CEO of Trovata, and Joseph Drambarean, CPO & CTO of Trovata, about the impact of economic uncertainty over the past year, and how cutting-edge technology can empower finance teams to respond.

The Challenge of Treasury Management in Travel and Hospitality 

As a treasurer working in the industry, you’re no stranger to the unique challenges you face. Depending on your background, you may have dealt with some or all of these challenges, potentially even all of them at a single company!

Consistent Inconsistency

It’s a cliche, but the reality of travel and hospitality is that the only constant is change. The landscape you operate in is consistently inconsistent. There are high seasons, peak seasons and shoulder seasons, and then there are the myriad ad hoc events, crisis, celebrations and viral TikTok trends that can leave your head spinning.

And of course, for many parts of the industry, like airlines, the price of commodities like oil is impossible to predict and can have far reaching implications on the business.

In an environment like this, forward planning is exceptionally difficult. This is not an industry like healthcare or agriculture, where demand stays relatively stable and consistent. You need to be able to turn your company on a dime if you want to be able to react efficiently to bad news, and take maximum advantage of good news.

Multi-Channel Cashflow

Unless you’re a brick and mortar travel agent and you only accept cash, (in which case, kudos for somehow staying alive) the likelihood is your revenue will be coming from a dizzying array of channels. You could have a combination of everything from direct purchases, third party resellers, package holiday providers, voucher schemes, loyalty programs and more.

The way customers pay through all these channels will be just as splintered, with a wide range of payment providers from the standard Visa, Mastercard and American Express, to the newer Stripe, WePay, PayPal, Apple Pay and Android Pay. And yes, maybe even cold hard cash.

Foreign Exchange

For companies whose entire business revolves around some aspect of travel, whether that’s the actual movement of people from one place to another, or the activities they get up to when they’re there, it’s a given that you’re going to be dealing in multiple currencies.

The better you’re able to manage the currency position of your company cash, the lower the risk you expose the business to in the event of unexpected forex movements against you.

Tax Jurisdictions

And with cross border transactions comes plenty of tax complexity. There’s sales tax, VAT, GST and all the payroll and corporate taxes to contend with.

But here’s also all manner of rebates and tax free zone and duty exemptions for you to manage, to ensure that you’re advertising the right prices and passing on the right amount of tax to every respective government. Yes, it’s a massive pain, but it’s also a non-negotiable that you need to get right.

Macro and Micro

Travel and hospitality treasurers can be equally impacted at both ends of the business spectrum. At the micro level, it’s a highly competitive industry where the difference of $10 in sticker price can mean the difference between a customer booking with you or with a competitor. That means the need to keep a close eye on the details of your business, to maximize efficiency and drive the bottom line.

But keep your head down too long, and you can miss the macro trends which can arguably have an even bigger impact on the company. 

From emergency events like the pandemic, 9/11 or the crash of the Costa Concordia, to general economic struggles, it’s important to watch the macro data of your business and to be prepared to shift to match customer attitudes. For example, a recent Gartner survey found that a significant percentage of CFOs, standing at 84%, and CEOs, at 68%, consider inflation among the top three factors significantly affecting their business outlook.

It’s not all bad news though, demand can surge at any moment with a bit of good press, be that an exceptional ski season, a viral trend, a celebrity endorsement or just good old fashioned economic growth.

Regardless of the specifics, the key is that you need to be able to watch and analyze from both a high level, and in the weeds.

How Tech is Simplifying Treasury Management for Travel and Hospitality Treasurers

Hopefully you’ve been nodding your head along to that laundry list of issues and challenges. Not because we just like to see you suffer, but because the more of these problems you’re currently facing in your business, the bigger potential benefit you can realize from implementing a modern treasury management system that uses the latest tech solutions to help fix them. 

Here are our 3 best uses of technology which can help simplify cash management in travel and hospitality. 

1. Using a Cloud Native Treasury Management Platform 

It might seem obvious, but one of the best ways to improve efficiency in a business that crosses multiple countries and time zones, is to have them all working from the same source of truth. Even today, many businesses operate of a hodge podge mix of spreadsheets and offline documents. 

These are pinged across the country and the world as email attachments and .zip files, saved on desktops and called all manner of weird and wonderful names like “2023 Scenario B V2.6”. Yes, not super easy to keep track of. 

Not only does that make teamwork a challenge, but it also introduces significant security risks to your business. There’s always the chance of an email being sent to the wrong person, the wrong attachment sent to the right person, executives basing their decisions on the incorrect version of a model, or even just losing data when someone leaves the business and deletes all the files off their desktop. 

That’s where the oft mentioned, oft misunderstood ‘cloud’ comes in. By using a cloud-native cash management platform like Trovata, everyone in your business is looking at the same source of truth. There aren’t multiple versions of your forecasts and cash flow data spread across multiple users, there’s a single dashboard, a single platform and a single set of forecasts that everyone has access to. 

Here, the cloud provides real, tangible benefits to both the efficiency of your team and the risk management side of your business. 

2. Integrating Open Banking APIs

But still, that single source of truth is only really valuable if it is, in fact, the truth. It’s no good having everyone working off the same data if that data is out of date or just plain wrong. That’s where open banking comes in. Historically, gathering and categorizing financial data has relied on manual processes, taking data from multiple banking and payments portals and collating it all onto a spreadsheet. That process would typically take 10-15 hours per week, and the very manual nature of it meant that by the time it was done, the information was already out of date.

Not ideal. Especially not in travel and hospitality, where sometimes two weeks might as well be two years.

Open banking APIs instead create a direct link between your multiple account providers, and a single source of truth, like Trovata. It means being able to see real time, 100% accurate data, at all times. Because it is a direct data feed, there’s no need to manually check for errors. It is simply a mirror of the original data source, allowing treasurers to put complete trust in the accuracy of the numbers.

3. Harness the Exploding Capabilities of AI

The cloud and open banking APIs are the fundamentals of smart finance. It’s those pieces of technology that mean you can have all the data at your fingertips at a moment’s notice, and trust that it’s accurate. With the explosion of AI, treasurers have now gained the ability to overlay sophisticated analysis and data mining technology over the top of that data bank.

Trovata AI is a great example of this, with users able to ‘interrogate’ their data to understand what’s going on behind the numbers. Need to know why net profit was down at two of your properties last quarter? Just ask Trovata AI, and it can dig into the numbers and look for anomalies or outliers.

Or what if you want to know how a 15% increase in advertising spend might impact your revenue figures for Q4? Ask Trovata AI, and it can build a scenario model that gives you that insight.  

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How Trovata Delivers Real Change for Treasurers

Trovata takes all of these components of the latest technology and combines them with a robust set of features to build the ultimate tool for the modern treasurer. It allows you to spend less time working out where you stand and what the facts are, and more time on high value strategy and analysis of those figures.

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It allows your job to become less about ‘How much cash do we have?’ and more about “How can we maximize utilize our cash to drive to most value in the next 12 months?” Here’s how some of Trovata’s key features can revolutionize your treasury department.

Cash Positioning 

Knowing where your cash is and your overall liquidity position is the fundamental question for treasury. Trovata offers a single dashboard view of the entire company cash position, making that questions answerable within seconds, at any hour of the day or now. It ensures treasurers are basing their strategic decisions on data they know is current and accurate. 

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Cash Flow Analysis

One of the key benefits of having all of this financial information accurate, real time and organized in a consistent way, is the potential for substantial improvements in your cash flow analysis and forecasting. Treasurers can build baseline scenarios which are more accurate, as well as creating complex scenarios in minutes or hours, instead of days or weeks.

treasury management in travel and hospitality

That’s especially valuable in the travel and hospitality sector, giving treasurers the capability to adjust forecasts on the fly as circumstances change. 


With complex cash flow comes complex payments requirements. Thousands of vendors pay on different time scales, in multiple bank accounts and dozens of different currencies.

Trovata’s payments feature provides a one stop solution to streamline your outbound payments, allowing you to make them all directly from the platform.

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Trovata AI

The addition of a natural language chatbot to the platform allows even your less technical people to pull technical insights. Anyone can ask pointed questions, find trends and identify opportunities, without the need to trawl through thousands of lines of financial information or learn advanced excel skills.

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It means your team can immediately improve the strategic and analytical functions of the treasury department, making them more valuable and providing a major boost to your finance capabilities, from day 1.

If you’d like to see how Trovata can improve your cash visibility, banking data aggregation, financial forecasting, scenario planning and more, book a demo today.

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