More than two years after the pandemic, there is immense hope for the travel and hospitality industry around the world, including India, especially for small & medium travel businesses.
By Chandni Nihalani
There has been a dramatic shift in the number of consumers adapting to digital platforms, be it at work or for making payments. Staying competitive in this new business and economic environment requires new strategies and practices with technology at its core. Since the pandemic, India's consumer digital economy is expected to be a US$800 billion market in 2030, an estimated 10 times growth from 2020.
More than two years after the pandemic, there is immense hope for the travel and hospitality industry around the world, including India, especially for small & medium travel businesses. In such a scenario, travel merchants who are aiming to revive their business, which was badly affected during the pandemic, will have to ride the grand digital wave effectively. Let's look at some key steps that can enable success.
Following two years of travel restrictions, the new trend of 'revenge travel' has been observed among consumers in the tourism space. Travelers are eager to spend on vacations and leaning towards leisure experiences that are curated and personalized, be it in India or abroad. In the past five years, the ratio of female travelers visiting India from developed countries has increased to 49%, owing to a surge in leisure family travel in India.
Furthermore, India's travel business witnessing an upsurge is evident in online accommodation platform Airbnb's survey, which found that more than 70 per cent of Indians are excited about being able to travel internationally.
In a way, consumers and the travel industry are both playing a part in the trend toward cashless trips. Digitalization is the key to facilitate 'revenge travels', as consumers are increasingly preferring to have cashless transactions for booking their trips. Travel service providers have had to embrace digital payments methods and preparing for a digitally driven future. With businesses going across borders and capturing a global audience, it is important to gauge their behavior and gain their trust. To sustain the evolving trends, changing demography, and steep rise in the adoption of online payments, it has become even more important to onboard a payments platform that can be trusted by both - travel merchants and their customers. As per demand, businesses small and big are digitally transforming themselves to keep up with this contactless way of functioning not just for payments, but even planning.
EaseMyTrip, a leading online travel tech portal, is using PayPal to provide seamless payment experiences to its customers. They offer a comprehensive range of travel-related products and services to make travel planning and booking easier. According to this online travel business, building a secure payment mechanism is crucial to win over the trust of customers, especially when you are catering to international travelers.
Today, travel merchants are known for their all-inclusive services, which includes suggesting destinations and planning customers' itinerary and not just for booking flight or train tickets. Companies such as Agoda, Booking .com, TripAdvisor, etc. are leveraging technology to drive efficiency and transform themselves into highly personalized businesses. With wanting more customized products, customers are looking for a platform which is easy to understand and quick to respond. To carry such operations smoothly, and gain customer trust, businesses need partners who can assist them. With PayPal's two-sided network, frictionless checkout, credibility and experience in the payments field.
Travelers want flexible and affordable payment options while making large ticket purchases. They are looking for platforms that provide multiple payments options to choose from basis their feasibility. This behavioral shift is fueling digital innovations and adoption of varied payment methods.
Be it group travels, business travel or solo trips, consumers are finally stepping out to explore the world. To fulfill their pent-up quest of the last two years, they are looking for travel merchants, who not only offer them inclusive deals at discounted rates to their favorite destinations, but also a trusted and flexible digital interface. Given the quantum leap of digitalization taking place, the best way to survive in the travel world is to embark on this digital journey and there is certainly no looking back.
If you are a small to medium-sized business and want to increase your cross-border trade through digital payments, click here for more tips and insights.