Travel companies plan fintech investment boom to capture rebound

The world is beginning to rediscover travel after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted around the globe. This presents an opportunity for the travel industry to rebuild and rejuvenate by harnessing advances of fintech to enhance the traveller experience.  That’s why Amadeus has created the ‘Travel fintech investment trends’ report, based on research with over 70 senior leaders from large airlines and travel sellers.

According to the study, Fintech and payments were viewed as a high priority by 9 out of 10 respondents. 80% of travel businesses stated that in 2022, they plan to match or go beyond 2019 investment. A third of firms plan to match 2019 levels while a significant 50% plan to increase investment. When questioned more broadly on company-wide investment, 70% of participants plan on investing through 2022 to capture an expected rebound in travel, with only 30% opting for a more conservative strategy.

When asked what is driving fintech investment the top objective was ‘improve the traveler experience’, closely followed by ‘increase revenue through payments’.

Respondents were asked to rank their fintech investment priorities for 2022 from a list of 15 options, revealing two groups of priorities – ‘existing’ and ‘emerging’.

More travel companies expect to invest in ‘existing’ capabilities during 2022 with Alternative Payment Methods (61%); Strong Customer Authentication (46%) and Fraud (44%) ranked as the three top priorities.

However, a second group of ‘emerging’ priorities also scored highly, with Payments in NDC (47%); Buy Now Pay Later (36%); Multi-Currency Pricing (34%) and Chargeback Management (31%) completing the top half of the priority list.

Notably, accepting crypto payments was a priority for the fewest number of firms, although 14% do plan to invest in the capability during 2022.

David Doctor, Executive vice president of Payments, Amadeus Comment: “Fintech stands out as an area of the travel business where you can provide new value-added services that bring revenue, whilst also improving the traveller experience. That’s why businesses are channeling scarce resources in this direction and Amadeus is investing heavily too. We expect to double the people in our payments team by the end of next year compared to 2021.”

Doctor continued: “We see our customers rethinking today’s challenges, like how to manage elevated levels of chargebacks. Whilst also looking to the future, travel brands are embracing innovations like Buy Now Pay Later and Multi-Currency Pricing to deliver a more flexible and transparent digital experience.”

As more people are aware of this option, chargebacks have increased dramatically. This study found that 70% of travel businesses experienced a significant rise in chargebacks, with 30% opting to increase their staff to handle the increased disputes. 25% of respondents stated that they were unable to challenge chargebacks effectively due to volume increases. This raises concerns about the possibility of fraud at higher costs since the outbreak of the pandemic.

About the research

The research was conducted in Q1 2022 using an online survey that was completed by senior leaders at more than 70 large airlines and travel agencies. 60% of respondents represent travel companies with annual revenue in excess of €1B and a further 40% were drawn from companies with annual revenue over €500m.

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