Across many sectors, the adoption of e-commerce accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Global online sales increased by 63% in Q3 2020.1
The travel industry, though impacted in unique ways, followed suit. As just one example, more than half of those surveyed for Worldpay’s Power Your Payments research report said that they prefer to book holidays on their mobile.2
It is always important to provide a seamless payment flow for customers no matter if they’re ordering on a desktop or a mobile screen. Our research reveals that not providing payment options and reassurance could be the difference between making or breaking a purchase.2
Now, as travel restrictions relax, travel companies should optimize their web payment experience to prepare for future holiday bookings.
Opening up payment options
Today, online travel agents, ground transportation companies and hotels rely on digital payments as a way of securing bookings and generating revenue.2
But, if travel companies want to get ahead, offering digital payments might not be enough. Customers expect to be able to pay the way they want. Critically, 29% of travelers would drop out from a sale and shop for holidays elsewhere if they couldn’t pay using their preferred payment method.2
Once a business has the right payment options in place, it needs to highlight these options clearly. If these options are not highlighted, businesses could risk losing bookings from the start. More than half of travelers said they would be more likely to book if they could see their preferred payment method was available. 17% wouldn’t book with the same company if they couldn’t.2
For travelers, experiencing friction at any stage could be a reason to book elsewhere.
Potential sticking points may be as simple as a declined payment without clear explanation. 47% of travelers said they would abandon their purchase if they had to restart the booking process after a failed payment attempt.2
An unexpected redirect offsite or the requirement to provide payment details multiple times could also send customers packing.
To reduce these friction points, travel firms should ensure payment processes are simple, fast and joined up. This could be achieved by offering the option to save payment details for later, as 44% of people could be influenced to proceed with a booking if they have payment details stored in their browser.2
Other ways to streamline payments include:
- Enabling customers to input card details with a photo
- Line-by-line validation of payment details
- Automated checkout to help customers ‘beat the queue’
Reassurance and security
But friction and payment options are not the only customer considerations for travel firms. Businesses should seek to provide booking reassurance and transparency, especially in a time when the sector is still being impacted by COVID.
Displaying reassuring indicators of your digital security and reputation – provided your business genuinely has these security foundations in place – could help to build customer trust and limit risk of fraud. 47% of travelers say they are more likely to continue with a hotel booking if they see a digital security logo.2
Clearly communicating expectations about the payments process could also help to reduce customer drop-off rates. The use of approved logos of respected third parties and regulators could boost consumer confidence, as could user reviews – and not only positive ones, but also those that provide a realistic picture of the process.
Balancing confidence and convenience
Recently, the travel industry has faced a number of challenges, and these testing times may well continue.
Building trust, reducing friction and opening up preferred payment avenues for customers could go a long way in helping travel providers adapt and grow. Balancing confidence in your payment process and convenience through your website could be key to converting and retaining customers in the long term.
1Salesforce (2021)The Shopping Index: Global online shopping statistics and ecommerce growth trends [Accessed 10/12/21] https://www.salesforce.com/resources/research-reports/shopping-index/
2Worldpay from FIS (2021) Power Your Payments – Travel [Accessed 02/12/21] https://offers.worldpayglobal.com/payments-travel.html