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New horizons for consumers, but business travel will lag behind

During a Trustly webinar, we asked Andreas Elmgren, COO of online travel agency Sembo, and Per Mohseni, CEO of travel technology group RCG, to share their thoughts on the future of the Travel industry and the shift in focus from business to leisure travel.

“An emerging trend that I think will benefit the online travel industry in the long term is the shift in focus from business travel to more leisure travel – not only from the consumer side, but also on the supplier side,” explains Andreas. “I expect to see a lot more products adapted for the leisure industry in the coming years. Before the summer of 2021, around 80% of our business came from domestic travel. And with that we saw a shift during the summer where people started to travel abroad again. And now I would say 60% is not domestic anymore. We are also starting to see some long-haul bookings come in, so we definitely see a positive trend. For sure.”

How will customer experiences differ post-pandemic?

Customers want to book with confidence. The protection that OTAs can provide their customers when they book, for instance, a package holiday, is going to be more important than ever – this includes the payment step in the booking process, of which many OTAs may overlook the importance. 

“Moving forward, I think customers will want to have that protection and feel that they are booking with someone they can trust, who can help them if there's any issues,” says Per. “I don’t think that business travel will go back to how it was before for a number of reasons, but I still think that face-to-face meetings are going to remain important for businesses in the future. I think there will be a demand for that but perhaps not at the same level as before the pandemic. We see customer surveys indicating a high demand for leisure travel. Right now, it is purely the restrictions in place that are holding us back at the moment.”

A major part of the booking process is, of course, payment. Trustly offers OTAs and other players in the Travel industry simple, fast and future-proof payments that maximize conversion, provide next-day settlement, and reduce admin costs. With Trustly, you can accept payments, issue refunds and access valuable user-insight data. “One of the important ways that Trustly is helping us,” says Per, “is with the number of options for the consumer to choose their preferred bank. That has helped us to increase the conversion to more bank payments, because it is accessible for the consumer. Old solutions more or less only covered a few banks, so this is a space that I believe Trustly covers well and has done a great job.”

A Trustly survey of merchants found that 60% of OTAs included say that their requirements for payment methods have changed as a result of the pandemic. “I can only agree with them,” says Andreas. “It has been even more important during the pandemic to have an efficient way of handling payments. Payments are really important. We see payments as a commercial benefit: when we ask our customers after they have made a booking what was good and what was bad, the negative feedback is almost almost every time about payments. Even though it is the last step of the booking process, it's really the most important one!”

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