Emerging Tech and Payment Trends in Travel

The European payment landscape stands at a crossroads. 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 region-specific payment methods, in order to be the engine for growth.


Norm Rose, senior technology and corporate market analyst with travel research industry authority, Phocuswright, presented on 9th March at ITB Berlin’s eTravel Stage about Europe’s payments landscape, outlining in particular the following trends:


Mobile technology continues to disrupt the travel experience, but has not yet impacted the European payment process. Only 8% of survey respondents currently support mobile payments. Another 14% do not 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. Travel suppliers are more likely to offer mobile payments than retailers, which are typically smaller, with online travel agencies (OTAs) being the exception. Mobile payments will begin to take off in Europe when mobile bookings become a mainstream activity. Even though consumers are increasingly using mobile devices for travel planning, the majority of digital bookings continue to come from desktops.


There is little (2%) acceptance of Bitcoin or other crypto currencies in Europe today, but Blockchain – the underlying technology that supports crypto currency – may have a more significant impact. Blockchain is an open, distributed, viewable and encrypted shared ledger. The data is encrypted in such a way that even though everything is being computed in plain sight, the underlying “meaning” of the information is completely obfuscated. 2016 saw a tidal wave of interest in Blockchain with large companies launching an open-source Blockchain initiative. The embracing of Blockchain technology by large technology and financial companies will likely have an impact on the European payment process within the next three to five years