Payment boost for online travel agents

Date: 29 Oct 2022

Online travel agents are the leading booking channel for many holiday makers looking for flexibility and speed in making their holiday dreams come true.

Covid-19 has meant agents have had to contend with mass cancellations, booking restrictions, travel rules and wide-spread aversion to tourism. This has significantly impacted profit margins and the result has been a clamber to offer the best packages, personalised discounts, flexible booking options, greater security and loyalty schemes in the payment process.

The uncertainty of the past few years has meant for many acquirers the travel sector is now deemed high risk leading to roadblocks for the customers of online travel agents.

Because of the amount of money at stake holidaymakers need reassurance and want a smooth, trusted payment experience. Any friction such as a failed payment may result in the consumer taking their business elsewhere.

Continuous analysis of payment data can show trends in what is leading to a payment failure, assess the causes and rectify in real-time.

Choice and variety
A key pillar in the success of online travel agents is the amount of choice and variety they offer customers.

Displaying a wide range of holidays from around the world in one central location creates a convenient experience for the user. Having all these choices displayed in the one place under a recognisable brand has a huge impact in reducing unease in potential customers. With sky high travel cart abandonment rates, it is essential for an online travel agent to reduce uncertainty by playing to its strength of choice and variety.

Narrow margins
Digital spending on travel is on the rise but competition is fierce.

Where there are tight margins payment optimisation is important for managing profitability.

As well as looking at solutions to mitigate failed payments or reduce cart abandonment online travel agents should look at the stages within the payment experience to minimise cost and maximise the experience.

Refund process
Over the past couple of years online travel agents have had to build a comprehensive package of flexibility when it comes to travel bookings such as flexi-dates and voucher refund procedures.

A slow and clunky refund process will impact on repeat business and securing new customers.

A resilient payment process aids margin management and wider brand reputation - reporting data will also locate and address each individual transaction in one single dashboard, in real-time.

Loyalty schemes
Loyalty schemes used to be mainly utilised by business travellers as many plans required huge amounts of travelling to earn awards and benefits. However, with greater digital flexibility and system development, holidaymakers are looking for greater discounts and rewards in-built in the online booking experience.

For a loyalty scheme to be successful in travel it must offer personalised rewards with the consumer getting choice, instant availability and a reliable experience.

Loyalty schemes are now considered a standard component of the e-Commerce experience aiming to encourage repeat business, improve the customer experience and promote higher basket values. The migration from offline to online offering can often be challenging, but with tools such as payment orchestration, you can build your loyalty scheme into the checkout experience.

Payment orchestration can solve a travel payment pain-point.

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