The travel and leisure industry has been one of the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although restrictions and limitations are lifting, leading organisations like yours are still likely to be faced with longer term ramifications and a need to address the challenges that came to light, due to mass cancellations and increased pressure on digital operations.
In a world where commerce is becoming more global and the digital experience, from adverts through to payment methods, is becoming more varied and specialised to meet customer buying behaviour, the travel and leisure sector need to innovate and adapt to survive and thrive.
Check out four ways that payment orchestration is breaking down global travel barriers to get travel back on track.
1. Reducing Cart Abandonment
As a travel business you put much of your time, resources and money into the pre purchase user experience. Using a wide range of strategies from discounts, point of sales promotions and creative web page design are common in the travel and leisure sector to push the customer down the buying funnel towards conversion.
The last few years in the sector have been incredibly turbulent and despite the rise in people researching and looking to book online, there has been great reservation about booking due to the ever-changing and complex Covid-19 rules.
Due to this and various other factors, the average cart abandonment for travel transactions during 2021 was 85%. Despite great investment and attention to detail throughout the buying process, cart abandonment remained high. Coupled with payment failure data, which suggests over 8% of online transactions fail, your sector has faced a sea of difficulty when encouraging conversion.
One, often overlooked, part of the purchase journey is the payment experience. Not only is it about delivering a streamlined, resilient process that reduces transaction friction or the chance of failure, but also about the availability of relevant payment methods that suit your audience and their needs.
Payment orchestration technology can simultaneously deliver greater resilience and increase your ability to offer more payment methods for the end customer. Platforms like BR-DGE can connect you with over 200 payment methods to ensure your customers can transact utilising their preferred payment method. This is especially important in the travel and leisure sector when your customers may be purchasing from different countries, and a customer in the Netherlands will require a different set of payment options to one in Belgium. Not only does this increase the chance of conversion by offering greater choice, but post-pandemic it raises trust and credibility that you have a strong offering with a wide range of reputable payment integrations.
Payment orchestration gives you the ability to add new payment methods, test and innovate at unmatched speed. You can refine your payment stack to suit the changing payments landscape and the needs of your customer-base, with just a few clicks.
2. International Transactions
By its very nature, travel is an international space with transactions regularly occurring across borders. As travel and leisure operators, you ensure the safe and smooth travel of your customers overseas, but often there is internal turbulence when managing foreign currency transactions, with expensive acquiring costs.
With tight margins across the travel and leisure sector, you must be savvy with your negotiating and manage international acquiring rates. This can often be difficult with long-standing contracts and agreements with specific payment service providers, but payment orchestration offers a solution.
Utilising a payment orchestration platform, such as BR-DGE, you can negotiate rates with a broader range of payment service providers and utilise intelligent routing to manage international payments and local payment methods. Intelligent routing optimises the payment flow to secure the lowest possible rates, by routing transaction by the most appropriate provider.
After a challenging few years in the sector, it is vital that you take necessary steps to strengthen your travel and leisure business going forward to rebound in 2022. With intelligent routing, payment orchestration can enable you to not only take control of your end-to-end payment journey but improve on your margins too.
3. Creating a more resilient process
Organisations in the travel and leisure sector have grown over the years, and so have the number of systems and integrations to enable day-to-day operations. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, this put complex legacy systems and processes under immense pressure. With a tidal wave of refund requests hitting your travel and leisure organisation and ongoing fluctuations in global restrictions; refunds and chargeback requests have become a large part of modern-day travel operations.
Due to the complexity of embedded systems, travel and leisure organisations have fallen behind and failed to innovate, due to risks including cost, time, and internal capacity, however COVID-19 has pushed the agenda for many. With multiple systems to navigate and mass volume refunds, most organisations have been forced to recruit internally to manage the workload or face a growing list of financial write offs. Both of which have a negative impact on margin and do not resolve the overarching challenge of delivering an intuitive payment experience both internally and externally for customers.
The challenges you face in payments stretches across your organisation, from technology to digital ecommerce and finance. You need to balance customer experience and the delivery of local payment methods, with complex legacy system integration and foreign currency exchange rates, all whilst preserving your margins. During the pandemic this has been amplified as you have been managing the refund and reschedule process for globally changing travel rules.
Most travel and leisure businesses have been encouraging customers to opt for rescheduling or voucher-based compensation, however merchants in the sector also need to be considering the customer experience and chance of repeat business, by delivering a good refund experience. Post COVID-19, refunds have become a slow, clunky transaction resulting in brand reputation plummeting overnight.
Building a more resilient process is critical not only to managing margins, but wider brand reputation and company longevity to get back to business post pandemic. Payment orchestration offers a strong solution to turn this negative experience for travel and leisure organisations into a positive one.
Payment orchestration platforms, like BR-DGE, enable you to reconcile and consolidate online transactions, to simplify the customer service experience by enabling your team to locate and address each individual transaction in one single dashboard. Accessing this information in real-time and in one report, compared with lots of disparate systems, removes unnecessary admin and enables you to build more robust and automation driven processes.
With improved internal processes, the speed in which you handle your refunds reinforces your organisation’s credibility to ensure the relationship with your customers does not falter and they have trust to rebook or take a voucher option, as opposed to full refund. With payment orchestration, you can ensure the brilliant customer service delivered at purchase is continued throughout the entire customer journey.
4. Increasing long-term brand loyalty
The travel and leisure sectors are one that prides itself on repeat business. From nurturing marketing campaigns to advert retargeting and loyalty schemes, organisations in the sector invest heavily in building that customer relationship, especially as holidays are often quite a personal and emotive buying decision.
With a streamlined customer journey through to payment, improved pass rates and local payment methods on offer, there is unmistakable evidence that payment orchestration can support overall brand loyalty, but there is more. In a fiercely competitive market, it is no longer just about delivering good customer service, but how you go above and beyond to personalise the experience.
Loyalty schemes are a long-standing reward vehicle in the travel and leisure sector, enabling you to tailor offers and give back to repeat customers. Now more than ever before, the sector needs regular customers to stand by your business to get travel back on track and with payment orchestration you can take that one step further.
With intuitive real-time reporting consolidating customer data, you can start to build a bigger picture of your customers’ behaviour, enabling you to offer new, hyper-personalised experience and offers based on transaction history, preferred payment methods and local currency. This is especially critical in today’s market with refunds, as with software such as BR-DGE's Payment Orchestration Platform, you can move quickly to notifying all bookings of cancelled or postponed flights of their refund or rescheduling options.
Choice and flexibility are also key as part of your loyalty offering. You need your customers to be able to not only pay or receive refunds in their local preferred payment method, but to integrate your loyalty scheme seamlessly into the process too. Often it is challenging to integrate a loyalty process into your checkout experience, involving additional integrations and processes which disrupt the payment journey, however with payment orchestration you can deliver a smooth payment experience from start to finish. With your loyalty scheme natively integrated into your payment workflow, you can apply discounts at the right time and deliver an intuitive experience for your repeat customers.
As one of the newer, elevated risk sectors, where customers are being more discerning about where to place their money, comfort, reassurance, and communication transparency is key to delivering on your customer promise. With payment orchestration, you can do this and so much more.
Payment orchestration gets travel back on track
As the travel and leisure sector recovers in this post-pandemic period, organisations should seek to explore the opportunities payment orchestration offers, to not only getting back on track, but to future proof the payment journey for your business going forward. From building resilience and innovation agility, through to delivering an end-to-end customer experience that rebuilds trust and loyalty, the benefits for the sector are clear.
The complexities of travel have increased for all parties over the last few years. The sector needs to pioneer to a frictionless experience and payment orchestration offers flexibility and simplicity at is core.
For more information on payment orchestration and how BR-DGE can support you to deliver a friction-free payment experience for your travel and leisure customers, get in touch with our BR-DGE Builders.