Edinburgh Airport processes millions of customers and nearly a million regular price points, but making the most of this scale is challenging with outdated industry payments software. Months-long development cycles frustrated the business’s development team, and cumbersome financial controls made it difficult to make sense of the airport’s complex pricing structure.
The original payment process was confusing. Customers were being redirected from the airport’s website to the previous payment provider's payment form, which bore little resemblance to the website’s design. Once the transaction was complete, customers were then bounced back to the airport’s website. But this clunky back-and-forth process could result in customers not completing their booking. And in some cases, they could suddenly be locked out, require a phone number to pay, or worry they had been double-charged for a payment. After the airport opened again following COVID-19, customers also needed help with in-person challenges, like how to check into a flight without physically touching the fastTRACK security kiosks.
To improve its customer experience, Edinburgh Airport worked to revamp its payment process with a modernised system for compliance and finance. “We like to be innovative and try new things, which contrasts to an old-school, traditional payment industry,” says Alec Hodgson, head of digital and parking for Edinburgh Airport.
In late 2016, Edinburgh Airport started building its own software to suit its specific business and customer needs. When the pandemic reduced airport traffic by 97% in 2020, the business saw an opportunity to further improve its efficiency and customer services with Stripe. Since COVID-19, customers are less keen to touch fastTRACK security kiosks. With Stripe, Edinburgh Airport quickly prototyped a QR code that allows customers to complete the fastTRACK booking process hands-free. QR codes also give them lounge access without touching keypads.
By integrating with Stripe Payments, Edinburgh Airport worked towards a frictionless digital experience – not just for customers, but developers, too. Stripe’s simple and quick integration process allowed the team to invest their time and energy in expanding, testing, and innovating rather than struggling with issues from legacy systems.
“We don’t have to manage different contracts with different payment providers in different portals to reconcile everything. We can spend our time and energy more productively, because Stripe has what we need built already,” says Hodgson.
With Stripe’s Payment Element, Edinburgh Airport implemented a customisable UI that supports more than 40 payment methods which are dynamically surfaced to maximise conversion with no additional integration work. Edinburgh customised the experience to match their branding, ensuring a seamless customer experience.
Edinburgh Airport was able to keep its customers’ diverse needs and preferences in mind, empowering them to use the payment methods they preferred. Through the Payment Element, Edinburgh Airport added payment methods with no code, including popular digital wallets such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Android Pay, and Klarna, a buy now, pay later method.
Improved customer experience and 3% conversion increase
By optimising the checkout experience using Stripe Payment Element and local payment methods, Edinburgh Airport has seen a 3% increase in its conversion rate. The airport also worked with Stripe to customise the design of the Payment Element using a vertical layout, helping customers have a better checkout experience overall.
With Stripe Payments’ customised React elements, customers trust and recognise Edinburgh Airport branding. They’re not being redirected elsewhere, so they can complete payments from multiple payment methods without any confusion.
Quick integration and improved functionality
Compared to previous providers, Stripe’s integrations took 1/100th of the time, reducing pain points for both developers and customers simultaneously. “The last thing you want as a developer is to pick something up expecting it to take a couple hours, and then realise that you need someone else to enable a process,” says Hodgson. “You can’t crack on with the work. That’s why our developers enjoy working on Stripe – you can just pick things up and run with it. It’s really easy.”
Greater efficiency and security
Instead of handling or storing sensitive data like customer card details, Edinburgh Airport relies on Stripe to handle payment processing, encryption, and storage, giving customers an easier checkout experience and the business reassurance that its customers’ data is secure.
Stripe’s integrations have also improved financial controls. Rather than waiting 24 hours for a financial report with another provider or managing multiple contracts, platforms, and reconciliation processes at once, Edinburgh Airport’s finance team has instant access to reports for auditing and reconciliation. This not only improves security and trust, but transparency across the business.
As the world eases back into international travel, a great customer experience is more important than ever. At the moment, most airports still treat payments and customer experience as separate concerns. But with Stripe, Edinburgh Airport is not only ahead of the curve in tending to customer experience – it’s shaping it.
Stripe feels like a technology company, rather than a traditional payment provider that’s been forced into the internet era. They’re always evolving and give you the reassurance that you’re not going to get stuck in the past.