Since the launch of the third and final chapter of our #trustlytravelinsights report, several of the Trustly team have shared their thoughts on the topics that most resonated with them, and highlighted some of their favourite articles.
Alex Makowski looked at travel merchants’ focus on cost reduction and cost management. Ciaran O’Malley talked about uncertainty, both over the course of the pandemic and overhanging a recovery. And Simon Eve talked about impact, and the solutions that can accelerate the transformation of payments.
I’d like to finish unpacking ‘A Future to Bank On’ by talking about opportunity and potential.
Let’s first deal with some realities.
COVID-19 has been crippling for the travel sector. While all corners of industry have suffered the consequences of the pandemic, its impact on travel and aviation has been delivered with what feels like almost surgical precision. IATA’s estimates for net airline industry losses for 2020 of $126.4bn1 are just a few billion ahead of the annual gross domestic product of Morocco, and a few billion behind that of Kuwait2. And the World Travel and Tourism Council’s 2021 Economic Impact Report estimates a total loss of 61.6m travel and tourism jobs in 20203 – equivalent (by workforce numbers) to a little over 350x Microsoft Corporations4.
Unsurprisingly, the pressure on all functions and teams within travel merchants has, over the course of 2020 and into 2021, been immense.
And it continues. Even once we break out of the evidently anaemic, early phases of recovery, CFOs and boards will carry their fiscal scars well beyond 2021. Demands for clarity, transparency, predictability and robust cost management are unlikely to fade once growth resumes.
This, however, should not be seen as cause for concern for payments leaders. Quite the opposite. These calls from senior leaders will only increase the need for payments teams to play the value-creating, commercially-focused role we know they can. What’s more, the timing couldn’t be better. Consumer appetite for better payments experiences is surging, and we’ve got more than a decade of FinTech and payments innovation to work with.
So, as I reflect on the #trustlytravelinsights series, the wealth of data from our surveys of travel payments leaders, and this, our final report, I am optimistic. And, in keeping with my colleagues’ blogs, I’ll point to two articles which capture my optimism (and share some of the data behind it).
The first is ‘Bank payments – looking beyond the card’ (p 14). Here, we explore how changes in consumer behaviour, merchant demand and macroenvironmental forces (along with the recent accelerated flight to e-commerce) have created an opportune moment to make a strategic and commercially-grounded shift in payments approach.
The second is ‘A future to bank on’, (p 43). Here, we look at the evidence from our surveys which show that investment in payments capability is on the rise. That the challenges created by an over-dependence on traditional card payments can be solved by bank payments. And that merchants are backing new payment methods –in significant numbers.
I’d encourage you to take a read.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring the breadth of themes, ideas and data with our clients and partners over the #trustlytravelinsights series. And while this report is the final chapter in the three-part series, it’s certainly not the end of the conversation.