Voice of the Industry

Embedded payments: personalisation's make-or-break in the travel industry

Friday 8 July 2022 08:35 CET | Editor: Vlad Macovei | Voice of the industry

Marca Wosoba, Modulr’s Europe Managing Director, showcases why embedded payments can be a crucial step-up for personalising customer journeys in the travel industry.

Personalisation has been one of the biggest talking points in the travel industry over the last few years but, be warned – your payments infrastructure needs to be set up to handle the extra complications it brings.

Personalisation is the process by which travel providers can offer a much more specific and user-defined journey. What that means depends on the provider, but it can range from at-seat services while travelling, to entire holiday bookings, from door-to-door, including hotel, to entertainment and inner-city travel throughout the passenger’s stay.

As Jesus M Faubel from Vueling said when talking about future needs during Modulr’s 2022 Travel Week webinar series, ‘We need to improve our user experience when it comes to booking and paying, and we need to integrate different services within the same app or same service. We need to make it smooth and seamless – four, five clicks, no more’.

The ambition could be described as airlines becoming their own package holiday agents, allowing the passenger to build a bespoke itinerary. It’s close, in some ways, to how Disney operates its theme parks, with guests able to book and plan each step of their journey to fit in the maximum amount of entertainment. While others may prefer to just go with the flow, they do so with the understanding that they may not get to everything they want.

The benefits of personalisation

While our travel consumer research from earlier in 2022 suggests that customers have other priorities at the moment (primarily around refunds and transparency), we believe personalisation is something that customers would welcome. After all, 72% say there is no excuse for travel brands to have outdated, inefficient payment processes. So, something that takes a cutting-edge approach and is also customer-focussed could be just the ticket. 

Personalisation is likely to involve add-ons to what companies already offered. For some companies, like OTAs, there’ll already be large elements of personalisation in their offering, but there could be opportunities to introduce extra elements like entertainment booking or door-to-door travel. For companies like airlines, it could be about offering options that lie outside of what they traditionally offer (like hotel rooms, in cooperation with other partners). For whoever is offering personalisation, you can expect multiple bookings happening at different times and to different suppliers in a way that involves data and funds flowing in more places than before. 

But before you can embark on personalisation, and a more complicated payments experience, you need to make sure that your payments infrastructure can actually support it. After all, there’s no point in having a brilliantly coded front-end experience if you can’t actually move money back and forward to your suppliers in a real-time way. This means you need an automated, flexible, and easily reconcilable payments ecosystem or, in other words, embedded payments.

Why embedded payments are integral to personalisation experiences

Personalisation is a great idea, and the opportunities are numerous. However, because there are so many moving parts, it’s in danger of being let down by outdated payment processes. 

Embedding payments directly into your processes is vital. We’re already seeing companies building the extraordinary with embedded payments using API and webhook notifications – they’re a powerful combination when it comes to building options for customers and recommendations based on customer profiles and information. It’s a balance of payment information, customer data, and real-time information.

At Modulr, we sometimes talk about ‘the butterfly-effect of payments’, by which we mean that the payments processes deep in the back end are increasingly impacting customer and supplier experience and revenue potential in the front end. With the extra complexity involved in travel due to different geographies and the number of suppliers involved, this is even more the case. There are so many moving parts that you just can't begin to build personalisation into your customer experience in the front end without getting a real-time payments flow working between you and your suppliers in the back end. 

By integrating a combination of unlimited Virtual Card issuance, Open Banking payment initiation, instant webhook notifications, and API-based data flows, you can streamline all of your processes, minimising the steps customers need to take in order to take advantage of that personalisation. If you try and do it with multiple providers and disjointed payment processes, it could drive customers away as surely as serious delays.

Put simply, it’s never been more important to find the right partner to help you embed payments into the heart of your processes and take advantage of all the benefits that personalisation can bring to you and your customers.

This is why our focus is on embedded payments. We believe real-time oversight of your fund flows, instant notifications of events, intervention-free automation, and flexibility of payment methods are absolutely central to every aspect of payments in travel. As a result, our API-first solutions span inbound customer collections, inter-account transfers and supplier pay-outs, all linked to account infrastructure. 

To find out how your company could use embedded payments and improve payment flows to and from suppliers, get in touch with Modulr’s travel team.

About Marca Wosoba

As Managing Director, Europe, Marca is leading Modulr’s expansion into the European market including supporting digital travel companies with embedded payments. Her prior experience includes leading new market expansion and reporting to the CEO at WorldFirst, now Ant Financial, one of the UK’s fastest-growing fintech companies. Marca previously held progressive Director-level leadership roles within the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

About Modulr

Modulr is the Payments-as-a-Service API platform for digital businesses that need a faster, easier, and more reliable way to move money. Businesses can automate payment flows, embed payments into their platforms, and build entirely new payment products and services themselves. All managed in real-time, 24/7 from one API. Modulr powers the payments plumbing for the likes of Revolut, Sage and Hodge Bank. 

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Keywords: Modulr, Open Banking, Open Banking payments, embedded payments, travel payments
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Countries: Europe
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech