Skift Take

Consumer adoption of new payment methods and devices for settling purchases is the main driver of adoption by companies. Yet travel companies can gain a valuable competitive advantage by predicting trends in payments and making payments as easy as possible for everyone.

Today we are publishing our latest report for our Research subscription service. This time we bring you The State of Consumer Payments in Travel 2017.

Payment methods continue to advance with technology.  This is especially important for industries dealing with foreign currencies and different payment infrastructures. By its very nature, the travel industry is exposed to, arguably, every currency in the world. Therefore, enabling seamless and easy-to-use payments for consumers can be vital for businesses’ bottom line.

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Mobile adaption has accelerated over time and travel companies are looking to increase conversion through portable devices. Today, global mobile penetration is at 67 percent with an estimated five billion unique mobile users. Mobile wallets have positioned themselves as a layer on mobile operating systems looking to improve the ease and speed of using mobile devices for online payments. However, the payment landscape today has expanded beyond closing the mobile gap.  New technologies such as contactless, P2P (peer-to-peer) wallets, and automated payment systems are looking to disrupt the payment sector.  These technologies have also allowed for new business models to be built around the improved speed and way of transacting.

Beyond the technological innovation in the western markets, the Chinese outbound travel market has been booming and more Chinese than ever are traveling the world. The Chinese payment infrastructure is entirely different to that of the U.S. and Europe.

This is partially due the government’s influence.  Nevertheless, millions of tourists from China struggle to pay with their preferred payment methods when traveling abroad. With total Chinese tourism expenditure of $292 billion in 2016 according to the World Bank, travel companies that are early adopters of payment technologies such as WeChat Pay and Alipay will hold a strong competitive position over those who don’t.

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Innovations in the payment sector revolve around making payments easier and quicker along with cutting transaction costs. The opportunities for travel companies to improve the consumer experience through payments are many. Early adopters of contactless technology in the transportation, events, and theme park sector have been able to cut cost operating costs.

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This is the latest in a series of twice-monthly reports aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

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Tags: apple pay, bitcoin, digital payments, mobile wallets, payments, research reports

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