Payment methods aren’t just a way for you to collect money for services rendered. They are at essence about access. Having an optimised payment gateway is an opportunity for you to attract new customers, provide existing ones with a great experience and give you an opportunity to demonstrate to the market how agile your business is.
Yet many tour operators haven’t given enough thought to how their payment methods may be affecting their business. In this blog post we look at 4 ways your payment methods could be costing you customers.
1. You don’t offer an online payment option
Let’s start with the old elephant in the room. There’s no use reading the rest of this article if you’re not even offering online payment as an option. If you don’t offer an online payment option, you’re at risk of losing business every time a potential customer visits your website. In last year’s Travel consumer 2015: Engaging the empowered holiday maker report, Deloitte discovered that:
- 72% of travellers go online to research their holiday
- 60% book travel activities (flights hotels operations) online
- 33% use 2 or more electronic devices when planning their holidays
Customers are planning and booking their activities online before and during their trip. If they discover your excellent offering while planning, but can’t easily book it online, then as Deloitte asserts, they will move onto competitors who make their lives easier.
2. Your online payment option is not ready for mobile
And as the report findings show, ‘online’ does not just mean the computer. Google commissioned a piece of research on the travel industry called Mobile Moments. They found that not only were people spending large portions of time on mobile devices planning their trips, but conversion rates were a whopping 88%. So make sure that your payment pathways are optimised for mobile.
3. Your website is too slow
Cumbersome pathways can have a real impact on whether we go through with a purchase, or leave it in the little virtual trolley. Forbes estimates that more than 23% of abandoned sales can be attributed to clunky and unoptimised checkout and payment paths.’ Make sure that the form fields aren’t too lengthy and, if possible, can be auto-populated.
Loading time can also impact decision making. 50% of customers expect a page to load in two seconds or less. Any slower and there’s a real danger that people will abandon your site.
Or it might be that your site crashes too often. To put it into perspective:
‘Things happen, and 100% uptime isn’t necessarily an achievable goal – but if your gateway can’t guarantee at least 99.9% uptime you need to ask them why not. At that level, you can expect eight or nine hours a year of downtime, during which your customers will encounter a locked door.
That’s inconvenient, but it’s not going to kill your business. Drop down to 99%, though, and you’re looking at 87 hours of downtime a year – that’s almost four days. Can you afford to lose four days of sales this year?’
With so many businesses competing for customer attention you don’t want to let tiresome computer issues get between you and a prospective customer.
4. Your payment pathways are as dodgy as a dark alleyway
Another factor that may be losing you customers is that your payment pathways aren’t secure. When making the decision to book travel, prospective customers might not just be worried about the money being exchanged. An inferior pathway can also suggest that your operation isn’t going to provide them with a safe experience and will make them feel nervous about committing to your business. Some ways that you can make sure that your system is secure include:
- Update an older system
- Ensure that your gateway is PCI compliant
- Go with a trusted gateway partner
- Use antivirus software
- Have a firewall to protect customer data
If you don’t meet these criteria, then you need to think about getting your systems sorted ASAP. If you are feeling overwhelmed, a good place to start is by checking out some gateway providers.
An unoptimised payment gateway can seriously inhibit the growth of your business. If you’ve ticked all the above boxes, congratulations your payment gateway is up to the latest standards. If not, hopefully you have an idea what you need to do to ensure that you payment methods aren’t stopping your business from achieving success. If you’d like to know what payment gateway could add to your business, then you should consider signing up for a Booking Boss free trial and experience using our PCI compliant gateway, Booking Boss Payments.
Booking Boss is an online booking system for tour operators and attraction providers. Trusted by many in the tourism industry, Booking Boss is about getting you out of the spreadsheets and into the sun. We provide free education resources for operators like you, to make your business the best it can possibly be.