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Travel operators losing revenue due to poor payments performance

More than half (60%) of payments leaders admit that their organization is currently losing revenue due to shortcomings with their payment gateway. And almost two thirds (64%) report that they are coming under increasing pressure from business leaders to improve payments performance as a matter of urgency.

Global research from emerchantpay reveals that two thirds (69%) of payments leaders within the travel industry believe they need to make significant improvements in payments performance over the next 12 months in order to avoid losing significant numbers of customers and revenue, more than in any other sector.

The Performance Pulse white paper reports that the current lack of optimization within payments in the travel sector is largely driven by a need to priorities innovation and a lack of understanding and support from senior leadership. Only 39% of payments leaders feel that the wider business fully recognizes the value of optimizing payments performance, and only 35% believe that business stakeholders fully understand the benefits of an agile payment infrastructure.

The research indicates that senior business leaders are more interested in innovation and transformation within payments, rather than looking at current systems and delivery. Three quarters (75%) of payments leaders in the travel sector report that innovation is more important that maintaining high levels of performance in payments within their organization.

Where payments teams are attempting to improve performance across their payments eco-system, they are hampered by a lack of data and insight to make decisions and optimize processes. Three quarters (73%) of payments leaders in the travel sector report that analyzing payments data is a challenge within their organization and the majority of travel operators are failing to review and optimize performance on a monthly basis in areas such as analyzing decline codes, domestic routing, Merchant Identification Number set-up and processing through the payment gateway.

The research finds that there is not a single area of payments where a majority of payments leaders are happy with their current performance. Less than a quarter (23%) of payments leaders are fully satisfied with their ability to analyze decline codes or their ability to analyze fraud data to set better rules.

Travel operators report the lowest levels of satisfaction across all sectors when it comes to current efforts to execute a sophisticated approach to Merchant Identification Numbers (MIDs).

Worryingly, given the associated risks, only 28% of payments leaders within the travel sector are fully satisfied with their current ability to monitor fraud in real-time.

Jonas Reynisson, CEO of emerchantpay, said: “A large proportion of travel operators are simply ‘leaving money on the table’ by not offering their customers the fastest, easiest, most personalized payment experiences possible and by not fully understanding, detecting and preventing fraud. What’s more, they’re risking customer loyalty and brand reputation by neglecting payments performance. Travel companies need to start providing their payments teams with the tools, skills and support to do their jobs effectively and to deliver real value to the organization. The opportunity for those operators that can put in place the processes, technologies and behaviors necessary to optimize payments performance are huge.”

Other barriers to improving payments performance are lack of budget (36%), outdated technology and tools (30%), the burden of regulation and compliance obligations which are becoming an increasing drain on resources (29%) and finding appropriate partners / vendors (22%).

56% of payments leaders within the travel sector report that Brexit and the associated foreign exchange risks are adding uncertainty to their payment strategy.

The most common areas where travel operators are doing best when it comes to driving optimal performance are ensuring that payments infrastructure is flexible and agile and delivering efficient processing through the payment gateway.

Reynisson concluded: “Travel operators need to ensure they have access to the data they need across all areas of their payments infrastructure and the dedicated resources and skills to translate this data into meaningful and actionable insight. The payments industry has to to do a better job in supporting payments teams across the travel industry to develop robust businesses cases for investment in this area, which prove the commercial value of increased performance, in terms of enhanced customer experience, increased revenue and higher margins.”