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Payments within travel and tourism – an evolving marketplace

Celia Pereiro

Head of Payments, Amadeus IT Group

The payments environment is changing and evolving at an unprecedented pace. We are constantly seeing new payment methods, channels and regulations being introduced to the market to answer changing needs and behaviours. This shift is affecting travel too– I’ve seen a growing number of travel suppliers sell tickets recently on social channels such as Facebook and Twitter for example. What is certain is that the market is looking for a simplified payment process with an aim to improve the whole travel experience.

Payments

 

I think that with an increasingly complex payment market, travel merchants need to define a robust payment acceptance strategy, taking into account geographic, channel, and segment scope if they want to stay competitive. Nonetheless, this strategy will essentially be bound by the payment infrastructure available to them and their customers’ payment preferences.

Local Payment Methods

In a growing number of markets, alternative local payment methods are gaining important traction as they can be perceived to be more convenient and secure than conventional card payments: iDeal in the Netherlands, for example, managed to reach a 55% penetration rate in 2013, ELV in Germany 38% and Alipay in China 40%. So really, the key issue travel merchants are facing is being able to keep up with the rapid growth of these payment methods, otherwise they will miss a significant portion of the market and lose valuable business - I have seen cases where merchants have lost up to 20% of business due to this (according to studies by our payment partners Worldpay and Adyen ).

We’ve seen that online payments have surged in popularity since the last decade, facing merchants with the challenge of keeping payment information secure whilst gaining their customers’ trust. To combat this issue, many merchants have been relying on 3D Secure and fraud screening tools for some time now. Unless these tools are combined with a solid and customisable payment experience, they can actually harm merchants - did you know that some merchants can reach up to 20+% payment rejection rate as a result of using these tools when actually 4% of their transactions were actually fraudulent? (according to payment partner studies)

Addressing these challenges

Within this complexity, we have seen an opportunity to address these challenges. In the past few years, we have been working in our travel payments kitchen preparing a comprehensive suite of solutions based on our payment platform to answer them. Our recent partnership with AirPlus has pushed this commitment one step further, by offering travel agents a virtual payment solution that gives them the ability to pay travel suppliers in a smooth and safe way, while improving their cash flow. I believe our platform now offers a solid base to be able to tackle all payment issues, improving efficiency and the travel experience.

By continuing to innovate we will ensure that together, with our customers and partners, we will contribute to shaping the future of travel .

For more information on Amadeus Payments, please contact your Account Manager or contact the Travel Payments team .