Phocuswright Europe is taking place in Amsterdam next week, and one of the topics that will almost certainly come up is how travellers pay for their trips, be it credit card, debit card, online payments or another provider. Our partner Phocuswright has already conducted substantial research into payment methods in the European travel market, and their report on the topic can be found here. This post, however, offers a brief insight into mobile payments, and whether they are catching on in Europe. In other words, should your business take steps to accommodate this growth? (A version of this article was originally published on Phocuswright’s blog.)
While traditional forms of payment still dominate in most markets, travel suppliers and intermediaries across the region must embrace both traditional forms and emerging, often country or regional specific payment methods in order to be the engine for growth.
Mobile technology continues to disrupt the travel experience, but has not yet impacted the European payment process. Only 8% of our survey respondents currently support mobile payments. Some retailers, wholesalers and suppliers questioned whether mobile payments for travel is practical due to the high individual cost of travel components and low mobile booking penetration. The research also found that travel suppliers are more likely to offer mobile payments than retailers, which are typically smaller, with online travel agencies being the exception.
Credit cards are the most popular mobile payment method with a 93% adoption rate, followed by debit cards at a distant 52%.
“Mobile payments will begin to take off in Europe when mobile bookings become a mainstream activity,” says Phocuswright’s senior technology and corporate market analyst, Norm Rose. “Even though consumers are increasingly using mobile devices for travel planning, the majority of digital bookings continue to come from desktops.”