The travel industry is experiencing rapid digitalisation. As travel operators migrate their business online, they are faced with a choice of technologies to assist them in improving efficiencies. International payment provider and acquirer ECOMMPAY, having accumulated extensive experience working with market leaders such as Yandex.Taxi and Firebird Tours, shares insights into which payment technologies hotels and online travel agencies (OTAs) should consider when looking to increase revenues.
1. Website adaptability
The ability to access a website from multiple devices is key to successful business operations across the various eCommerce industries, including travel. More than half of modern consumers search for products and services online, with the majority of these searches taking place on devices other than desktop computers. As a result, hotels and OTAs must adapt their online storefront, introducing special menus for mobile, compressing text and images for tablet, etc. It’s also worth dedicating efforts to optimising the payment page, which acts as the final barrier to successfully converting a prospective customer. Unless the payment page is configured to the types of devices consumers are using to transact, there’s a high probability of losing revenue.
2. Online payments
In the United States, more than 48% of tours are sold online. In Europe, this figure is even higher at 65%. According to domestic tour operators, anywhere from 10-20% of the packages they sell are now purchased by customers using digital devices. It’s therefore imperative for these companies to facilitate a smooth, streamlined payment experience configured to the various payment scenarios their customers may prefer. OTAs must be able to not only accept online payments, but must optimise checkout to ensure maximum conversion, otherwise they risk experiencing a high proportion of shopping card abandonment.
3. Mobile application
Following on from the aforementioned payment technologies targeting increased revenues for hotels and OTAs, businesses should consider building corporate mobile applications to act as an additional marketing tool. These apps shouldn’t simply replicate the website, but should rather supplement the travel company’s primary business by selling excursions, listing partner offers, displaying restaurant menus, and much more. For the travel operator, mobile apps optimised with convenient, streamlined payment technology is an excellent sales channel. For potential customers, meanwhile, the app is perceived as the face of the company.
4. Client data analysis
Research carried out by the Adobe Corporation has found that 50% of companies from the tourism and hospitality sectors already collect and analyse user data in real time. The latest technologies have empowered companies by enabling the extraction of data from a CRM system. Analysing this data can help hotels and OTAs determine the most lucrative sales opportunities, compare supply and demand, establish strategy predicated upon transaction history, predict profitability, and much more.
5. Modern payment provider
The technology behind accepting payments online is provided by companies such as payment service provider, payment processors, and payment acquirers. The most reliable partners are able to offer comprehensive solutions tailored to specific client requirements, addressing pain points and targeting increased revenues. Hotels and OTAs working with payment service providers can automate the payment process, integrating the payment page into their website and/or mobile application and ensuring a fast, reliable, and secure transaction process for end-users.
6. Concierge service
The travel industry continues to grow, adapt, and develop. As consumer preferences change, multitudes of innovative operators arise to fill gaps in the market. One of the most promising developments are free travel applications, known as concierge service, containing everything from online guides to food delivery to taxi services, not to mention the more exotic options. Even providing links to these services can earn travel companies commission. To make the process more convenient for consumers, payment service providers can ensure that payments remain in-app, directing the funds to the relevant seller or tour guide behind-the-scenes.
7. Personalised offers
Personalised offers on online travel agency websites have a customer conversion rate of 50%, says InterGlobe Technologies, a company focussed on managing business processes in the tourism sector. Beyond offering an individual selection of holiday destinations and packages, consumers react favourably to companies that recognise them, tailoring their offer to specific interests. One of the best strategies for increasing hotel and OTA revenues is to provide seamless engagement with travel services, negating the need for customers to re-enter their details or refill their shopping basket when accessing the website from a different device.
8. Choice of payment methods
Consumer payment preferences vary by region. In addition to the traditional international payment systems like Visa and Mastercard, integrating alternative payment methods like Alipay, PayPal, QIWI, Yandex.Money, etc. could increase profits for hotels, OTAs, and other travel operators. A PayPal and Data Insight study demonstrated that eWallets are the fastest growing payment option among Internet consumers in the 18-64 age group. Providing a comprehensive portfolio of payment methods across various devices ensures that consumers can pay for travel services in the way they want, improving the overall user experience and nurturing customer loyalty.
By automating its processes, technological innovation drives the travel industry forward. Hotels and OTAs able to provide a comprehensive travel service to prospective customers, including personalised offers to complement their bookings and ensuring a streamlined payment experience, stand to benefit from additional sources of conversion, thereby increasing their overall revenues.
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