Payments technology firm Adyen has ended 2015 with more than 30 airline customers, ten of which have signed during the past year.
New signings in 2015 include easyJet, Vueling, and Alitalia in Europe; Volaris, Aeromexico and GOL in Latin America, and Cathay Pacific in Asia.
Its chief commercial officer Roelant Prins identified a number of reasons why Adyen has had such a strong year in terms of signing up new airlines. Firstly, the signings are a result of a lot of legwork in the past. "Airlines want the relationships with their partners to be long-term. Adyen has been active in the sector for some time now so they know we are committed to airlines."
The specifics of Adyen's payments platform were essential in terms of converting this interest into signed contracts. "We have a truly international platform and airlines are increasingly interested in having one platform which streamlines their operations across borders," he said. Adyen can accept payments from more than 250 different options through the one channel.
Airlines are also interested in Adyen's ability to integrate risk management into the same platform, which not only minimises the risk of fraud but also simplifies the processes around identifying the risk.
Prins talked about the payments business in B2B and B2C terms and the way in which the two are connected. "All payment providers have to find the balance between giving the shopper a simple and easy payment process while making sure that the business is not exposed to fraudulent transactions," he said.
The consumer-facing payment pages are of critical importance for any online business. Adyen does not get involved in the actual design of these pages: "We give merchants full flexibility, it's not for us to dictate the look and feel of their website but we do share best practice and give them the tools for fairly comprehensive AB testing of their payment pages."
"One-click checkout" has entered the e-commerce vernacular thanks to businesses such as Amazon, and Prins said that this concept was starting to feature in the conversations with potential travel clients.
"Even though an airline ticket is high value, one-click is all about optimising the process, removing the need for unnecessary and repetitive inputs, and that's something airlines are interested in."
Airlines are not the only travel vertical Adyen operates in - its other clients include sharing economy poster children Uber and Airbnb as well as the accommodation behemoth booking.com. It also worked with KLM on its Facebook booking page.
Hotels are one area where Prins sees as particularly exciting, based around its experience with innovative hotel chain Citizen M and "tokenization," the process where credit card details are stored in a way that allows guests to make a payment without having to give their card details again.
"We've got a lot of large hotel operators looking with interest at what we're doing with Citizen M," he said.
The future for payments is "super-exciting" and, interestingly, the old-school offline high-street point of sale channel is part of the innovation landscape as more retailers start to accept digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Android Pay.
While these are more likely to be used for small-scale purchases rather than big-ticket travel ones, Prins believes that these products will speed up adoption of new payment methods. "Changing payments behaviour takes time, but digital wallets will speed up that process."
He also thinks that in-app purchases will start to gain traction in the travel vertical and that travellers will increasing communicate with and purchase from brands via messaging apps.
NBImage by Shutterstock.