Skift Take

Travel is officially back in full swing, but consumer habits have shifted. Affirm’s new report, “On the Move: What Today’s Travel Trends Mean for Your Business,” touches on key market trends and explains how travel businesses can attract customers by offering payment options that meet their individual needs.

If there’s one thing the pandemic taught travelers, it’s that flexibility is critical. Today’s travelers not only want more options in terms of transit dates, length of stay, unique experiences, itinerary, and cancellations, but they also want more payment options that meet their individual needs.

As Skift pointed out in the “Financialization of Travel” trend from Skift Megatrends 2022, new forms of payment such as buy now, pay later (BNPL) are making travel more accessible and empowering consumers to act on their pent-up travel demand. Affirm’s BNPL offering, for example, lets customers pay for travel at their own pace, knowing exactly how much they’ll owe and when they’ll be done paying.

In its new report, “On the Move: What Today’s Travel Trends Mean for Your Business,” Affirm explains how travel habits are shifting, new trends are shaping consumer travel decisions, and flexible payment options can help travel businesses surprise and delight customers while increasing revenue.

While consumers are accustomed to using BNPL in retail settings, the payment method isn’t as ubiquitous among travel brands. This presents a significant opportunity for market differentiation, as many travelers may put off taking a last-minute trip because they haven’t had time to budget well in advance — especially as fears of a recession loom.

“When travelers have access to increased spending power and payment flexibility through pay-over-time options like Affirm, they’re more likely to book early, spend more per transaction, and book more often — which drives high conversion, loyalty, and revenue,” said Geoff Kott, chief revenue officer at Affirm. “We’re seeing increased demand among travel merchants within Affirm’s network. For example, in the first quarter of 2022, travel sales with Affirm doubled compared to the same period in 2021, with Expedia, Vrbo, and Priceline among the top 10 partners by volume.”

By tapping into Affirm’s network of nearly 13 million high-lifetime-value active shoppers, travel providers can expand their customer base, amplify product launches and promotions, and engage travelers early in the customer journey. Affirm’s proprietary underwriting model only approves customers for what they can responsibly afford, and transparent messaging allows them to shop with confidence. Additionally, one-time-use virtual cards enable shoppers to make purchases almost anywhere.

Affirm’s partnerships with American Airlines, Priceline, Vrbo, Delta Vacations, and Expedia, among others, to offer BNPL illustrate its strong position in the BNPL market. “There are so many pieces that go into providing the best deals and options for our customers,” said ​​Maryellen D’Aiuto, vice president of digital marketing at Priceline. “Affirm fits into that perfectly by helping us provide another option for payment flexibility. It opens up an opportunity for customers who may not have been able to take that trip or be there for a particular moment to have a chance to do so.”

“Travel is in high demand this year. Over the 4th of July alone, we saw the total number of Affirm transactions double, and airline purchases triple, when compared to the same period in the previous year. We strive to empower consumers to take control of their finances so they can book travel and pay over time at a pace that works best for them,” added Kott. “With Affirm, consumers can make travel purchases with confidence, with the total cost of their purchase shown upfront with no late or hidden fees to worry about. In turn, businesses can convert browsers into buyers without relying on discounts for customer acquisition — an increasingly important factor in a high-inflation business environment.”

Download Affirm’s report to learn more about:

  • How travel behavior is shifting in 2022 and beyond
  • Why flexible payment options are essential for today’s traveler
  • Four trends shaping consumer travel decisions today
  • How businesses can capitalize on pent-up travel demand

This content was created collaboratively by Affirm and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

Tags: Affirm, digital payments, hotel payments, Payment Technology, payments, travel payments