The latest publication from Germany-based market research company yStats.com, “Global Online Travel Payment 2021” gives insights into the digital travel payments market worldwide during the COVID-19 health crisis. The publication reveals that as global consumers slowly return to travel in 2021, they demand non-cash and alternative payment solutions such as contactless payments and Buy Now Pay Later solutions.
Technology-driven payment methods facilitated travel during the pandemic
With the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020, the global travel industry was among those which were affected the most. In 2021, with many countries still maintaining movement restrictions, the industry is gradually making efforts to return to the pre-pandemic levels. With that, all elements of the industry, including payments, had to substantially rely on technology and automated solutions to attract those few travelers who could travel during the health crisis. According to the findings of the yStats.com report, four-fifth of tourists worldwide claimed that technology would accelerate their confidence in traveling, and two-fifths of them stated that the availability of contactless payments, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Venmo, would allow them to travel more confidently. Moreover, in 2020, a significant share of consumers chose to abandon a travel-related purchase if a contactless payment option was not available. In 2020, furthermore, about every nine in ten travelers surveyed in Canada, the US, and in Japan and every eight in ten travelers in the UK considered “ease of paying” as an important factor when traveling, and a similar pattern was observed when choosing a travel agent or a tour operator.
Amid COVID-19, BNPL becomes increasingly important in travel payments
Another major trend in digital travel payments is the rise of Buy Now Pay Later solutions. With economic disruptions due to the COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, deferred and installment payments play an important role in the customer experience. The need for such solutions is confirmed in a 2020 international survey cited by yStats.com in the new report. The study reveals that a double-digit share of respondents said that the availability of a BNPL option was an important factor when booking a service related to a trip. Furthermore, around one in five travelers in the Asia-Pacific region used a BNPL payment option for trips in 2020, with Chinese travelers standing above the average. Generally, this payment method attracted the special attention of consumers and travel providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, according to figures in the new yStats.com publication, a significant share of travelers in a 2021 survey claimed that they save credit card points to go on a vacation once they feel comfortable traveling, and one-third of them are likely to rely on points even more than they used to before the health crisis. Nonetheless, despite the growing importance of technologies in travel payments, more than half of global travelers in 2020 claimed to return to cash payments when the risk from COVID-19 has reduced.