It’s great to follow both Ciaran O’Malley and Alex Makowski, breaking down the key themes in the final report in our #trustlytravelinsights series – ‘A Future to Bank On’.
If there’s one thing that’s struck me over the course of the pandemic, it’s the sheer scale of it all. The incalculable financial impact, undeniably into the trillions of dollars. The human cost, both in terms of lives lost, and plans and opportunities disrupted. The severity of governmental response, from restrictions on social activity and travel to the shuttering of all but essential retail and trade. The global vaccination programme calling on unparalleled scientific efforts, that’s already seen more than 1.5 billion doses administered1. To mention but a few…*
The whole thing has felt (and continues to feel) colossal, almost too much to get your head around.
And the same can be said of what’s left in its wake. For the sector I’ve spent more than a decade in or around – travel and aviation – COVID-19 has been an unrelenting force. After necessary but nonetheless crippling travel restrictions, the estimated $3.5 trillion in GDP and 88 million jobs supported by aviation remain in the balance, as an entire industry and ecosystem prepares for a hard-reboot2.
And that reboot won’t be back to ‘business as usual’. The pandemic has accelerated change in many areas, has forced us to confront long-standing technology and payments challenges, and has exposed weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Many organisations will have made a start in addressing these during travel restrictions, but for most, transformation and change programmes are going to be the new norm for some time to come.
It can feel daunting.
Especially for a sector uniquely challenged by legacy technology, systems and processes dating back decades, where the 16-digit card payment method and airline booking, PNR, ticketing and billing are all intertwined and shrouded in legacy.
But it doesn’t have to. And, following my colleagues’ examples, that’s the theme that I’d like to draw out of this report: impact.
Three articles in this report topped my list, because they point to solutions in reach today. They show how the right payments approach can yield a clear commercial impact. And each is inherently practical, breaking down ‘transformation’ into steps which payments teams can seize upon in the here and now.
First is ‘Keeping up with (local) expectations’ (p26). Here, we suggest that to take advantage of the roughly 450 significant local payment methods in use across the globe, payments leaders need to focus first on the customer, not on the technology.
Second is ‘The power of partnerships’ (p31). Here, we look at how merchants can diversify and localise their payments mix without the usual risk, cost, time lags and internal nervousness about integration.
And third is ‘Unlocking the potential of PSD2’ (p34). Here, we look at the challenge of customer adoption. Even though demand for new payment methods is surging, behaviour change isn’t guaranteed – merchants can directly influence this, however, if they think ahead.
Of course, I’ve found the whole report (and, indeed, the whole #trustlytravelinsights series) great to read and full of pertinent insights, especially from our proprietary surveys. But these three in particular are on my favourites list (disclaimer: I wrote one of them!) – I hope you find them useful. Download the full report here.
* Reference 1 is accurate as of June 18, 2021. Please check sources below for up-to-date figures.