Managing spend when abroad, whether for work or pleasure, is a top-priority for any traveller. Writing for Payment Expert, Gabriel Le Roux, CEO of Primer, evaluates the current standing and future of payments in the travel industry.
We’re in an age where technology has reshaped the way we travel. Thanks to the emergence of mobile wallets and digital payment methods, completing transactions is as simple as a few taps on a smartphone. From searching for a destination to booking a hotel, digital payments have significantly changed how these actions are approached. In fact, research found that 61% of UK consumers are comfortable leaving their wallets at home and relying on their mobile and contactless payments.
Gone are the days of worrying about withdrawing the right amount and enough local currency for shopping and tipping. Instead, today’s travellers and holiday makers are adopting a digital-first approach.
This revolutionary shift towards digital payments isn’t a fleeting trend – it’s here to stay. This will continue to transform every aspect of the modern traveller’s journey. And the shift is set to present the travel industry with a golden opportunity to harness and redefine the role of digital payments.
Embracing change and innovation
So, in a world that is increasingly characterised by digital-first experiences, travel providers must adapt to meet the evolving expectations of their customers. But it’s not just about offering a service; it’s about aligning with the mindset of consumers who now see travel as an integrated digital experience. Because of this, seamless, secure digital payment experiences have become a non-negotiable aspect of modern travel.
The importance of on-demand travel
One of the major benefits of innovation in technology is the ability for consumers to have everything in one place, such as a single app or website. As projections indicate, the travel industry is on the brink of rapid growth and is expected to reach a valuation of $15.5 trillion by 2033. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) stand at the forefront of this surge, exemplified by the rise of industry leaders such as On the Beach.
The advantages of OTAs extend beyond efficient travel booking platforms; they offer an opportunity to enhance the payment experience for consumers globally. By integrating secure and straightforward payment options, regardless of the customer’s location, OTAs can take the efficiency of travel bookings to new heights. However, this requires a commitment to managing multiple currencies and offering a variety of digital payments. This will ensure both user-friendliness and strong fraud protection measures.
Why payment diversity is a valuable asset for flexibility and protection
To unlock the full potential of this growth, travel providers need to cater to a diverse clientele. This involves managing multiple currencies and offering a range of digital payment methods, from traditional credit cards to Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services and digital wallets. The challenge lies in streamlining this payment process, ensuring user-friendliness for travellers, and establishing a robust backend infrastructure to support digital transformation.
Additionally, as the travel industry increasingly shifts towards digital payments, it also becomes an attractive target for cybercriminals. With travel ranking as one of the most targeted industries when it comes to fraud, it is clear that customer trust and safety needs to be a number one priority above all else.
Here is where having robust fraud management measures come in. From two-factor authentication to 3D verification, security measures are already commonplace and standard practice. However, it is important to ensure that customers are continually protected against evolving cyber threats.
Unlocking growth with unified payments infrastructure
Currently, we’re on a whole new map in the travel world, and to navigate it successfully, businesses need a different kind of compass — a unified payment infrastructure. This allows travel companies to access a vast amount of services all in one go, making payments work smarter with data analysis and fraud protection.
However, it’s not enough to just follow the crowd. The leaders in the travel industry have to step up, differentiate and offer solutions that cover everything, not just what customers want today but what their future wants and needs too. It’s not just about transactions anymore; it’s the key to standing out in a market that’s all about being increasingly convenient, creative and innovative.
Overall, from enhanced convenience and security to personalised experiences and contactless transactions, digital payments bring numerous benefits to travellers and businesses alike. As the travel industry continues to innovate, online merchant payment gateways will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of travel, making transactions more accessible, safer, and more efficient than ever before.