Some 70% of travellers would choose one travel provider over another if they received a positive payment experience, with price transparency, diverse payment options and enhanced security topping their list of demands, according to a study by Amadeus.
The Frictionless Travel Payments study surveyed 5,665 travellers across ten globally representative markets, and also drew on the results of a survey of payments leaders from 70 travel retailers and a range of interviews with Amadeus’ travel payments experts.
The study, which investigates what travellers value most from the payment experience so that travel companies can make better-informed decisions about how to cater to these travellers’ demands, found that travel and payment trends are colliding to drive new behaviour, with 74% respondents saying a poor payment experience reduces the enjoyment of their holiday.
For example, 74% of people now book travel less than two months before departure and millennials are more than twice as likely to do so than those over 55. When it comes to meeting the payment expectations of this growing group of late bookers, they demand price transparency, a wide choice of payment methods and improved security.
With millennials also more than twice as likely as those over 50 to ditch their shopping basket, payments represent a significant opportunity for the industry.
While new innovations such as “pay by instalment” are particularly popular with millennials, 66% of all respondents confirmed they would be more likely to buy with an instalment option and 56% said they would purchase higher-value services if they could spread the payments.
As the average traveller now relies on more than four different payment methods throughout their trip, it’s clear to see why 38% of travellers surveyed cite payment method choice (e.g. cards, bank transfer, e-Wallets) as their number one requirement. However, what matters even more is transparency, with 47% saying that unexpected fees, charges or foreign exchange surprises are a major point of friction.
Bart Tompkins, managing director, payments, Amadeus, said: “I’m confident that 2020 will be the year in which we see travel sellers aligning their payment strategies to meet not only customers’ demands but also their preferences. It’ll be the year where we see a significant step forward in delivering a frictionless payment experience in travel.”
He continued: “However, with 75% of travel firms still finding it hard to offer a simple and consistent payment experience, there’s work required to deliver on travellers’ desire for greater choice, transparency and security.”
The study includes a range of recommendations for the industry to deliver a frictionless payment experience. They include improving payment choice at checkout by regularly monitoring traveller payment trends at a local market level and having a process to continually test different payment methods locally; boosting transparency by integrating multi-currency conversion so travellers gain “price certainty” in a currency they’re familiar with and clearly displaying any charges up-front; and building trust by clearly communicating the steps they’ve taken to secure their customers’ data and by having a robust two-factor authentication process in place.
As well, travel operators should empower last-minute buyers by using open-APIs and cloud to deliver rich, fast and reliable payments as well as personalising the payment methods offered to a traveller during the trip; and remove the stress of travel with automated and pre-booked services by ensuring ancillary services like baggage or lounge access are offered pre-trip, and by providing “book-now, pay-later” options and modernised payments in areas like the airport.