A strange start to a strange new year – testing times for travel

I’m quite a fan of December and January. On the one hand, it’s a moment to celebrate progress with our clients, our colleagues and our partners. To take stock of the year almost over, and shine a light on the things we can be proud of together, no matter how big or small.

Yet amid the celebration, I also find it cathartic. An opportunity for reflection, and for renewal. To recharge, think fresh about the year ahead, and return revitalised and raring to go.

I’ve not had that same feeling as we’ve transitioned from 2020 into 2021.

It’s not been so much a case of celebrating success, as breathing a collective (and socially-distanced, mask-wearing) sigh of relief. Relief that our colleagues have remained resilient, our clients supported, and our partnerships strong. Even in the face of such adversity, as the whole payments ecosystem faced a scenario no-one had fully planned for.

As we began to plan our return from the festive break, however, it struck me that the usual renewed focus and energy of a new year was at risk of languishing in the shadow of a shock not just to our sector, but to our open and connected way of life.

Without being naive to the very real challenges which remain present for the year ahead, it’s incumbent on us to adapt to this new context… at least for the next couple of years while travellers regain confidence and travel merchants rebuild stronger.

To adapt. By which I mean to recognise that while impediments persist, we can only be our best for our colleagues, our clients, and our partners, if we seek out opportunity. Find ways to continue to harness technology to make payments safer and more secure, and the overall travel experience just ‘better’ for all involved – consumer and merchant alike. Stand apart from the voices beating down the travel sector, and focus on how we can continue to help merchants to innovate and create greater value through better traveller experiences.

Yes, to learn from the difficulties of 2020, but also to focus on what’s going to make the path to recovery better and more sustainable.

It’s in this spirit that we’re excited to introduce the #trustlytravelinsights series for 2021.

A collection of three in-depth reports drawing on original Trustly research among 450 payments leaders from airlines and OTAs across Europe. With analysis and commentary from Trustly’s team, our payments partners, merchants, and travel industry experts.

In ‘Rebound or rehabilitation?’, launched today, we reflect on a year without precedent and consider its implications for a recovery.

Download your copy here, and join us as we seek to balance challenges and opportunities for travel merchants.


Happy reading, and safe travels,



Mike Parkinson

UK GM and Director of Travel, Trustly

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