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Travel companies to boost investment in search of smooth payments, finds Outpayce study

Travel companies to boost investment in search of smooth payments, finds Outpayce study

Improving the payments experience presents one of the largest opportunities in travel.

Friction associated with travel payments stands in contrast to the instant, invisible payment experiences consumers have grown familiar with when paying digital native companies. 

New research confirms that improving the payment experience is the top objective for 75 per cent of senior travel payments leaders from travel companies and is prompting the industry to increase investment in payments capabilities by 12 per cent on average over the coming 12 months.

Within the study, payments leaders were asked to rate how close their travel company is to delivering ‘a personalized omnichannel payment experience’ for travelers.

The industry assigned itself an average score of 2.7 out of 5, with just four per cent of respondents confirming their company already offers this by assigning the full five-star rating. 

Keeping up with traveler demands to pay in new ways

More than half of travel payments leaders (51 per cent) said their company finds it challenging to keep up with the rapid growth of new payment methods.

As new card and non-card payment methods continue to surge across the world, travel companies must accept hundreds of new payment methods, often originating locally. 


When probed more deeply, respondents said high costs, technical workloads and a lack of understanding about which new payments methods are popular, all contributed to difficulties delivering on traveler demands to pay in new ways.

Another area of focus for payments leaders is improving how their travel company handles cross-border payments.

Merchants operating in multiple markets typically need to establish partnerships with local acquirers in order to accept payments.

Travel companies must also be able to analyse and control these complex payment flows to ensure acceptance rates remain high and the cost of payments is well managed.

Some 40 per cent of payments leaders surveyed confirmed that ‘orchestrating’ global payment flows is a top challenge.

Payments orchestration platforms have emerged over recent years to simplify this challenge by helping travel companies easily connect to a wide range of payments partners across the world, lower the overall cost of payments, as well as using

Artificial Intelligence to make real-time decisions on how each payment should be processed.

Some 38 per cent of payments leaders surveyed said they already use a platform to orchestrate cross-border payments, with a further third planning to implement the technology over the coming year. 

Jean Christophe Lacour, senior vice president, global head of products at Outpayce, said: “It’s encouraging to see travel companies plan to increase investment as there’s a huge opportunity to simplify payments across the industry.

“At Outpayce we’re collaborating with partners and customers to systematically identify payment pain points across the end-to-end traveler journey working with airlines, hotels, airports, and travel sellers to address them through innovation.” 

About the research

An online survey was conducted with 50 senior payments leaders from travel companies with more than €1 billion in annual revenues, during December 2023.

Respondents were drawn from the UK, France, Germany, UAE, USA, Mexico, Brazil, India, China and Korea to provide a globally representative sample of the industry.