Travel operators are falling short when it comes to customer expectations. Nearly half (47%) of consumers expect to receive refunds for holidays or flights in “around a week”, with 23% expecting to receive refunds on the same day. Yet, in reality, almost half (49%) of consumers have to wait “a month or longer” to receive their refunds.
This is not only leaving people out of pocket during the rapidly deteriorating cost of living crisis, it’s also adding significant stress to people’s lives. Over two-thirds (73%) of consumers reported feeling frustrated and stressed while cancelling a holiday or flights and trying to get a refund in the last year. This frustration was compounded by the fact 65% reported having to wait a long period of time for refunds to appear in their accounts when it took only a few seconds to pay for holidays or flights online.
The research, The state of Travel Payments, 2022 commissioned by Modulr and carried out by thinktank Insight Avenue, found that consumers rated operators’ unclear refund policies (32%) as the most frustrating part of booking travel in the last 12 months. This was closely followed by a lack of flexibility around changing bookings (30%) and having to repeatedly enter details and requirements during the booking process (27%).
Digital payments were also found to create unnecessary stress for travellers – according to 68% of consumers and 72% said they would stop booking with specific travel brands because of poor experiences with payments and refund processes.
“Over two-thirds of consumers say booking holidays is stressful enough without having to worry about payments and refunds,” comments Agustin Fiori, European Sales Director at Modulr. “Post pandemic, companies that have prioritised great customer experiences will likely do better, with most consumers (72%) saying there is no excuse for travel brands to have outdated, inefficient payment processes.
“While unclear refund policies are a major part of travellers’ frustrations, many may be more forgiving if they have a good experience when paying at check out or receiving refunds. While customers may have had more sympathy for delayed refunds during the pandemic, this isn’t likely to last even if they do now expect refund policies as standard. Clearly, if travel brands want to keep and win new customers post-pandemic, they must remove all hidden process inefficiencies, including payments, from their operations.”