Mobile travel payments to take off this year

In a number of different industries the use of mobile payments is beginning to gain a significant foothold. More and more consumers now own technology such as smartphones and tablets, capable of letting them pay via these devices. Businesses have picked up on this trend and are now adopting services that allow their loyal customers to make purchases in this manner, too.

As a result, the concept of mobile payments is growing and it is now very common to be offered this option in certain industries when making a purchase. And in 2016 it seems that the travel industry will finally also catch up.

A recent article on the Financial Times has reported that the use of mobile payment apps in the UK and US is soaring. Banking professionals in the UK have stated that new digital payment technologies have surged in popularity over the past few years; Marion King, the director of payments for RBS said customers were "keen to adopt methods which are quick, easy to use and secure."

In fact, in 2015 the use of mobile payments changed so dramatically that predicting what will happen over the coming 12 months is difficult. Mobile has been described as the single biggest sea-change to have ever affected the payments industry; from services like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, to Google Wallet and PayPal, the future of these services and others is hard to predict but it seems very likely that their use will continue to grow and more services will appear.

But what about the travel industry? In the past people would visit physical travel agents in order to research and book a holiday, but the presence of the traditional travel agent is dwindling from our highstreets. In the last few years, keen travellers have been able to conduct holiday research from their mobiles and mobile devices and then complete a payment back at home on their desktop computer.

This year, however, seems to be the year that the number of steps taken to confirm a holiday are reduced even further as consumers complete every stage on their mobiles – from initial research to final booking.

The technology to do so is certainly there, and while the issue of security is still a worry for many vast improvements are being made to keep people's personal details and account information safe. Considering there are now travel apps for almost anything – from the hugely popular Citymapper that helps travellers find their way around foreign cities, to Duolingo (a language learning app) and Tripit, an app that creates a handy single itinerary of all travel details – it seems like common sense for consumers to adopt mobile payments as well.

And this shift is already occurring, with the fourth quarter of 2015 marking the fifth consecutive quarter of worldwide PC shipment decline. Both consumers and businesses are moving away from the use of traditional desktop computers and are adopting mobile technology; so just as travel took to the air when the first planes were launched and we've never looked back, travel payments will also take to the air in 2016 with the mass adoption of mobile payment options.

If you're a travel business and have realised you need to keep up with mobile technology, we offer an advanced mobile platform so you can connect to your customers on all devices. You can find out more about our mobile platform here and contact us through our website for further details.