Craig Brightly, head of sales at Trust Payments, encourages the travel sector to put payments first and offer more flexibility to customers as the industry strives to cope with the post-pandemic recovery
Guest Post: Why digitising payments is the 'golden ticket' to customer loyalty
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the travel industry in many ways, one of the most significant being the tourism sector, which has lost $4.5 trillion and 62 million jobs globally.
As the world slowly goes back to normal, travel agencies have found it increasingly difficult to meet the new standards set for them via consumer demands.
With more and more customers opting for digital payments as their preferred method, businesses in all industries must step up to accommodate this.
Manual check-ins, last-minute cancellations, and refund requests are just a few activities that take up large amounts of staff time.
By implementing swift and effective payments, money can seamlessly travel back and forth from payer to payee.
Moreover, customer data can be securely stored and documented in one place, for the ease of every travel business.
Data is key to driving customer loyalty by automatically offering services and recommendations that apply to them.
Without the correct measures in place, businesses will struggle to assist customers, resulting in poor reviews and a loss of revenue.
Therefore, now more than ever, businesses must take advantage of the post-pandemic travel boom and capitalise off the digital needs of their customers.
The challenges of a modern day traveller
Customer expectations have changed drastically as they emerge from pandemic life. Many see digital services as the 'new normal,' so expect this to be replicated when going abroad.
Yet, as travel businesses try to meet these needs, without the right assets and processes in place it’s proving a challenge.
If you've been in the travel industry for a while, you're probably getting tired of hearing people complain about how long it takes to get paid by credit card processors.
Transaction values in travel are getting higher and systems are getting older. The manual processing of customers is one of the greatest pain points and travel businesses find it hard to collect and keep customer information all in one secure database.
In the modern travel industry, businesses can no longer afford to use inefficient and dated payment methods.
Sophisticated technology that automates routine payment processes is needed. This will help travel businesses reduce operational costs and allow them to be more efficient with collecting guest payments.
Omnichannel services will help staff to monitor and swiftly issue payments and be comfortably integrated into self-service machines, alleviating pressures for staff from the front desk.
The saving grace: innovative payments
As it stands, the travel industry should rethink travel, putting payments first as many other industries have done.
The popularity of digital wallets, contactless payments, and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) methods has accelerated.
Customers look for a simple, stress-free experience and don't want to book a room at a hotel which doesn’t accept their preferred payment method or lack a guest checkout option.
Without this wide range of choices, travel businesses will fall victim to their competitors as customers will go elsewhere.
Swapping to an omnichannel end-to-end payment is the competitive advantage travel businesses have been looking for.
A unified end-to-end payment process can help manage online booking fees and accommodation deposits.
These fees can be collected swiftly, while customer data is easily tracked on a scale and recorded all in one place.
Putting payments on the map
As a travel business, the importance of multi-language payment should not be underestimated.
It allows travel businesses to cater to both a local and broader audience, reaching new possible customers across the globe.
Multi-currency payments are also important for any travel business. This choice can attract customers who are more likely to decide when to buy, especially when it's a currency they are familiar with.
Finally, travel businesses that integrate Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) features on their website allow the customer to pay in their local currency and save money on exchange rates.
Full payment transparency is shown on the terminal at the point of sale (POS), benefitting the experience of both the customer and the business.
Businesses benefiting from digital
Implementing an innovative payment method has a multitude of benefits for travel businesses. The centralised nature of end-to-end payments means transactions can be processed faster.
With a rise in late bookings and last-minute cancellations, travel business owners can easily accept payments and issue refunds.
A centralised system can help with tracking real-time customer data. Complete visibility allows businesses to cater to every customer exclusively, including tailored support and opportunities to give rewards to returning customers. The result? The golden ticket to customer loyalty and retention.
With unnecessary admin being largely taken care of, businesses can focus on high-priority tasks and ensure more can be done to improve the business.
A dependable and trustworthy solution will reflect positively on your team experience that stands out as seamless and flexible is a feature most customers look for in travel businesses and distinguish one business from the other.
An increase in post-pandemic travel has undoubtedly illustrated a new need for sophisticated technology.
With the current pressure on staff to provide results, stresses can be alleviated by implementing more payment choices.
These choices can be flexible to those paying in a wide range of currencies and languages, as well as easily integratable into everyday hospitality systems, such as self-service check in.
Moreover, end-to-end payments help staff collect data as well as make the money transfer process seamless and direct.
Reliable and advanced payments systems are the key to establishing a positive relationship between business and customer, helping businesses to be a leader in the travel industry.