Indian travellers eager for new payment options

By: | Published: August 18, 2016 3:07 PM

Online travel agents and airlines who offer enticing bargains and alternative payment methods can gain a foothold in the Indian travel market

Online PaymentOnline travel agents and airlines who offer enticing bargains and alternative payment methods can gain a foothold in the Indian travel market

Indian travellers are the world’s biggest holiday bargain hunters and they seek for more ways to pay when buying travel online, revealed at a new research from payment processing company Worldpay. For its “Why Do They Pay That Way?” Report, Worldpay polled 2,000 travellers in each of the six markets studied. In India, the survey revealed that more than three quarters of Indians (76 per cent) selected their travel destinations because of a sale of cheap flights and holidays. Although 49 per cent of Indian travellers planned to use a credit card to book their next holiday, 96 per cent of Indian credit and debit card users said they would prefer to book their package holiday using net banking.

Phil Pomford, general manager – Asia Pacific, global e-commerce, Worldpay, said, “Despite India’s relatively slow growth in travel spending, online travel sales are forecast to experience a significant rise in the coming years. To gain the loyalty of Indian shoppers, online travel agents must recognise that travellers in India are on the lookout for both bargains and new ways to pay online. Merchants, who offer alternative payment methods, rather than just credit or debit cards, will be in a strong position to get more sales now and attract new shoppers as India’s middle class and online spending power continue to expand.”

Although India has yet to match other emerging markets in internet and mobile penetration, the country’s potential for growth is considered healthy. Worldpay’s research affirms this trend, with the majority of travellers saying they prefer to do holiday research online (87 per cent). Amongst the six markets surveyed, India also leads the way on m-commerce adoption with 65 per cent of travellers saying they would be happy to use their smartphone to buy travel on the move. As India’s internet penetration and middle class continues to grow, online travel agents can expect to see more and more travellers booking holidays online.

It’s also important for online travel agents to recognise that Indian travellers are the world’s most likely to save for a holiday – 67 per cent of Indians said they had paid for last holiday out of savings, making their spending habits similar to those in Brazil. Whereas, 41 per cent of Indian travellers prefer their holiday payments to go out of their current accounts, either by debit card (25 per cent) or net banking (16 per cent). At the same time, 85 per cent said they were interested in paying for their next holiday by instalments – indicating that India’s savings culture may be changing.

Pomford added, “Payment preferences in India vary greatly from consumer to consumer. Many travellers are credit-wary and prefer to save up before buying a holiday; others turn to credit cards because they are simple to use and offer discounts or rewards; and still more look to installment plans to spread the cost of a costly holiday. These varying trends, along with the fact that over 95 per cent of card users said that if given a choice, they would prefer to book their next flight or holiday package using net banking, should make online travel agents pause for thought. In order to answer the demands of this diverse group of travellers, online travel agents must offer them variety. That way, every shopper gets the payment method they want. By acting as an innovator and catering to a wide variety of payment demands, online travel agents can gain a foothold in India and be well situated to secure future sales in this dynamic and emerging market.”

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