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4 effective tips to enhance passenger booking confidence

29 Mar 2021
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The rollout of vaccination programmes across Europe and the rest of the world brings renewed hope to industries that rely on consumer travel, that they may see a return to business as usual in the not-too-distant future.

Return of rail

There is no question that desire for travel and holidaying abroad exists in almost every country. According to TripAdvisor’s TravelTrends report, nearly half (47%) of all respondents globally say they are planning to travel internationally in 2021. As a consequence of Covid, the reality is that rail travel on an international basis is likely to see an uptick in demand as consumer and business travelers return.

Adoption of eCommerce

The impact of Covid restrictions on consumer behaviour however, has and is likely to lead to significant changes in how travelers, both domestically and internationally, plan their travel experience.

Over the past 12 months the most meaningful change we have seen is in the (long overdue) consumer adoption of eCommerce for everything from day to day purchases all the way through to luxury purchase planning and execution. A recent study by found that eCommerce grew by 46% in 2020 – its strongest growth for more than a decade.

The combination of travel intent and eCommerce growth aligned with changed consumer behaviour indicates that the impact of eCommerce uptake in 2020 will be critical to business planning for 2021 and beyond.

Prioritising the online ticketing experience

Rail companies and ticketing businesses need to rebalance their online/in-store ratio planning, prioritising elements of the experience online that enhance passenger comfort and confidence.

One of the key elements in this rebalancing is understanding the point of purchase customer experience and some of the small enhancements that can be the difference between cart abandonment and ticket purchase completion.

Although there are nuances in audience segments, many passengers have somewhat similar purchasing behaviours and preferences in terms of who they give money to. They also share commonalities and frustrations over certain kinds of barriers to completing a transaction online:

According to data from the Baymard Institute:

  • 49% of consumers left a website due to extra costs being too high (e.g taxes, fees, etc)
  • 24% left a website because the site wanted them to create an account
  • 18% left a website because the purchase journey was too long/complicated
  • 17% were concerned about payment security
  • 7% felt there wasn’t a suitable payment method

And these are just some of the many reasons why passengers might be dropping off your website prior to booking.

Through our own research and decades of experience in international payment technology and FX solutions, Fexco has identified 4 effective tips to enhance passenger online booking confidence:

1. Price transparency >
2. Checkout simplification >
3. Checkout security >
4. Flexible payment options >


1. Price transparency

As technology evolves to continually enhance the passenger booking experience and user journey, consumer control over the process increases. This control, aligned with behavioural change to online planning and purchase will continue to revolutionise the online rail ticket sales process.

Price transparency is a key factor in the passenger decision-making process when booking their ticket online. In fact, a recent Amadeus survey revealed that 42% of travellers considered price transparency to be a critical part of positive payment experiences.

Upfront costs

A critical area of optimization to build passenger confidence when booking their journey through your website is to not only ensure all costs are transparent at each stage of the process but that they are always presented upfront.

When you give passengers visibility of all the costs upfront, including any card handling fees, extras, and any other charges they should expect, you significantly reduce the likelihood that they will drop off your website due to an unexpected price increase at checkout.

Localised pricing

For international passengers, a simple way to provide clarity and to reduce friction during the booking experience is to offer the opportunity to both browse ticket prices and pay for them in their home currency.

Fexco’s own research identified that 76% of consumers prefer to pay in their home currency when offered the choice.

Not only can the merchant benefit from an enhanced passenger experienced by integrating multi-currency solutions to their website, but there is also the potential for opening up an additional revenue stream that could be critical as rail services bounce back.

Enhance your passenger experience & unlock a new revenue stream through localised pricing

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2. Checkout simplification

When it comes to designing your webpages, especially your checkout page, simplicity is paramount in building an enhanced online experience for your passengers.

If your checkout process is too complex, there is a good chance that your passengers will give up mid-booking or get confused on how to proceed.
Where possible keep it short and concise, removing anything that might distract them from finalising a ticket purchase.

Accommodate these simplification points in your booking engine to help streamline the online ticketing journey:

  • Provide guest checkout options
  • Use progress indicators
  • Avoid unnecessary design elements that may disrupt the checkout process
  • Keep the number of checkout steps to a minimum
  • Ensure the checkout process is mobile optimized


3. Checkout security

Most passengers are, understandably, very cautious about online payments. If they don’t feel safe providing personal information or have concerns that their payment information will not be handled securely, they will not follow through with their booking.

Striking the right balance between ease of use for your passengers and enhancing site security is imperative in delivering a trusted and favourable booking experience to your passengers.

The easiest way to improve trust in the booking process is to show your passengers that their information is secure. Three ways to achieve this are:

SSL certification

Have a valid SSL certificate. If it’s out of date or improperly installed, your passengers will see a warning message in their browser that the connection might not be secure

Visible trust & security indicators

Ensure trust symbols are placed in the line of sight on your website. Well-known security logos like ‘verified by Visa’ increase passenger confidence by guaranteeing a secure transaction and payment protection.

Payment security

Ensure your payment system is PCI, GDPR and PSD2 compliant. Use techniques such as end-to-end encryption and tokenization to ensure passengers data is secure.


4. Flexible payment options

Optimising your checkout experience relies on fully understanding how your target audience shops and their preferred payment methods. Reviewing your payments data is central to gaining actionable customer insights that can really help you to enhance your online ticketing operations.

Online shoppers want to complete their purchase using the payment methods that are most convenient for them.

Recent research shows that over 66% of UK consumers abandon online shopping purchases due to poor payment processes and 25% of consumers are irritated when their preferred method of payment is not offered.

Some passengers may be willing to accept the default option, but for others, your inability to support their preferred method — whether it’s PayPal, Apple Pay, or a buy now, pay later — could be grounds for them to drop off your website at a critical stage.

As consumer adoption of eCommerce continues to grow, ensuring your online ticketing operations are optimized to prioritise both comfort and confidence will be crucial to improving the rail passenger experience. Passengers need to know that they can plan and purchase seamless and frictionless train journeys online. Aligning your online ticketing options to their needs will give you a competitive advantage as consumer and business travelers return.

Fexco’s multi-currency solutions offer your international customers the ability to browse and book journeys in their preferred payment currency, additionally creating a new revenue stream from your existing transactions.

Grow your passenger booking confidence today with Fexco

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