CON-X interview: Chris Lanckbeen, Global Sales Manager for corporate travel accounts at Worldline

In today’s interview, Chris Lanckbeen talks about the importance of offering the right payment method to your clients to succeed in a competitive market.

Can you tell us a little bit about the role of Worldline in the tourism industry

Worldline’s DNA is simple: help merchants drive growth by providing them with innovative payment solutions while reducing costs. We cover the entire payment value chain and our technological experts create and operate digital platforms that handle millions of highly critical transactions between a company, its partners, and its customers.

In any business dealing with tourism, a smooth payment experience is a key part of the conversion process. Payment friction is a frequent cause of cart abandonment, and can significantly impact your conversion rate.

If payment — the last step in the booking process — doesn’t feel easy, quick and safe, it annoys and worries consumers. For example, having to re-enter information they’ve already given, such as their address, for example, can be enough for them to abandon the purchase, especially on mobile.

The travel industry is extremely competitive – there are many websites offering the same experience or products; the same tickets. If buyers cannot find the payment method they prefer, or if the payment experience is poor for another reason, they may just look for another website which offers a smoother process.

Which innovation initiatives are you promoting to the industry?

eWallet is a good example. The vast market and online offering for the travel industry has made meta-platforms such as travel search engines or marketplaces invaluable tools for every traveler.

Making the purchase more frictionless for the consumer across multiple systems would be a significant market advantage for the operators of those tools. The ability for the consumer, for example, to pay for the travel “product” in one single payment step would clearly increase smoothness, trust, and loyalty. Payment innovations such as eWallets can facilitate this smoothness while maintaining the security of payment data.

Making the purchase more frictionless for the consumer across multiple systems would be a significant market advantage.

Delivering an omnichannel payment experience is also increasingly important. In certain markets, travel companies may need to consider accepting installments and “buy now, pay later” programs. And again, compliance with new legislation and regulations such as PCI and scheme rules is a constant effort.

How can other travel companies benefit from Worldline?

Companies within tourism need to look at the total cost of payments, including costs related to foreign exchange. This aspect is often not thoughtfully considered and actively optimized.

To succeed on a global scale, it’s important to enable not only card payments, but other payment methods as well. In certain markets, only a small percentage of consumers own international credit cards

Optimizing their payment setup will enable companies within tourism to both increase revenue and reduce costs. A better payment experience leads to improved conversion rates and better margins while reducing fraud obviously reduces unwanted costs.

To succeed on a global scale, it’s important to enable not only card payments, but other payment methods as well. In certain markets, only a small percentage of consumers own international credit cards.

They prefer domestic cards, bank transfer, or even cash-based payment systems. In order to tap into the full potential of these markets, accepting additional payment methods will be necessary.

In addition, compliance with new legislation should be a key effort for companies that aren’t already prepared: PSD2 and GDPR come to mind.

What are the biggest challenges facing your clients?

Intense competition means high price sensitivity and low customer loyalty. The global nature of the tourism industry also means that merchants often need to manage a wide range of currencies and payment methods.

Companies within tourism often operate with slim margins, and as a consequence, they are sensitive to fraud and non-guaranteed payments. They cannot accept payment methods or transactions that could generate slow declines or charge-backs. Intense competition means high price sensitivity and low customer loyalty. Fast and stable cash flow is also critical since travel agencies typically need to pay producers extremely fast.

The vast market and online offering for the tourism industry has made meta-platforms such as tourism search engines or marketplaces invaluable tools for every traveler.

What are the key elements from your value proposal to support your clients in their growth?

Worldline can support to expand our client’s business in new markets with optimized transaction costs. Our solution facilitates to take online travel business to new markets without having to set up local entities, and reach multiple markets with a single integration.

We strongly recommend that e-merchants in any industry offer payment options that are truly adapted to local needs and preferences in their target markets. Offer your customers a truly localized shopping experience with local currency and payment options can lift conversions by 40% or more

In addition, the travel industry has a need to simplify reporting and reconciliation. Our merchant portal makes it easy to manage all your day-to-day interactions with Worldline: view and search for cross channel transactions and settlement data, act on transactions, handle disputes, and work with reports.

You have great expansion plans, what essential features are you looking for in an ideal partner?

The payment industry evolves with haste, and as Worldline being a global player, we need to keep up with the increasing speed of innovation. To maintain our competitive edge, we rely on the continuous effort and commitment of our partners to help travel merchants improve their payment experience. This requires a rare combination of business agility, experience, and technical expertise.

How crucial are technology and connectivity to your business?

The technology behind payments is key and as technology continues to disrupt the norms, our clients can rely on us to guide them through a successful digital transformation.

The whole payment chain has to be smooth with no interruptions. Worldline is actually the only player capable of delivering the largest unified continental European non-bank acquiring platform, meeting global merchants’ needs.

Also closely connected to technology is the understanding of the consumer change in behavior. For example, consumers are shifted to mobile which has encouraged consumers to spend. Hence, to meet the consumer need, optimizing the mobile payment experience is also crucial.

However, mobile shoppers are much more sensitive to any complication in the flow; they are much less likely to complete the payment if the process is cumbersome. Even being asked to enter the same information twice becomes a reason to abandon a purchase.

What can you highlight about the consumer experience in your company? What makes it different?

Simplicity and transparency are key, with the lowest possible number of clicks to purchase. With the Worldline solution, the check-out page can be customized and adjusted. Travelers like to have an easy overview confirming what they are paying for, including travel dates and other important data.

Because travel purchases are often relatively high ticket, it’s also important for them to feel safe that the payment goes through and they won’t miss their trip. The confirmation page is important!

Most travelers prefer a payment page in their own language. As already mentioned, there are many markets where offering other payment methods as a complement to cards can make the difference between a purchase and an abandoned cart.

We also see a trend towards buying experiences instead of just trips, including add-on products. There’s a lot of potential for suggestions based on data here. Increasingly short-term planning is also likely to affect payment preferences and behavior.

There’s also always a risk that new kinds of fraud and security threats will impact consumer behavior. Travel companies need to constantly stay well-informed of evolving security challenges. Our solution is helping clients to prevent their activity from fraud while maintaining a good balance between security and customer experience.

What do you think is the main difference between the B2B market in Europe compared to the B2B in its core market?

Event though, Europe is our core market, we are still able to guide and help our customers to expand their business globally giving them possibilities to offer a local payment experience in another continent without setting up a local entity.

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