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Why travel now, pay later is the future

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Want to go on vacation? Then you’ll need the funds to pay for it upfront. Or will you? There’s a growing trend in the travel world that lets you enjoy the trip of your dreams first, then pay for it once you arrive home.

No need to save for months and months, no hefty deposits due months before you fly. Keen to get away at short notice? No problem. Your friends invite you to a cool festival this weekend? You’re going! Need to visit a family member overseas but don’t have the cash? Take the trip. In the modern age, travel now, pay later is the future of the vacation industry.

The travel sector has seen some great advances in recent years – websites now bring vacation destinations into people’s homes with VR technology; businesses are now employing travel SEO agencies to create compelling content, and voice search is now making waves.

Travel pioneers

Flymble was one of the early adopters of travel now, pay later. It introduced the concept in 2017, with a simple format:

  • select your flights
  • select your payment plan
  • enjoy your vacation
  • pay for your flight in installments over a 12-month period.

When you think about it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to book a vacation on credit and pay for it after the event. After all, people buy cars, white goods and dozens of other commodities that way.

Exploring the world

When it introduced the service, Flymble announced that ‘access to travel should be no different than paying off your mobile phone, a new sofa or catalog shopping’, with co-founder Vincent Hus laying down Flymble’s core values that ‘offer ordinary people the opportunity to explore the world’.

Flymble got a lot of positive PR on the back of the launch, so it was no surprise when a number of other companies followed suit and offered the same travel now, pay later model – companies such as Travelers, Uplift and Travel Up.

It’s now a fully-fledged part of the mainstream travel industry now, too. Etihad Airways has launched its own version of travel now, pay later, and increased the maximum time period to pay for flights to a generous 60 months (five years). A flight from New York’s JFK Airport to Tokyo in Japan that costs $1,500 works out at just $25 a month over five years – a life-saver for those who would struggle to save the money for a long-haul flight.

How it works

So, how do travel companies afford to let their customers delay payments over one, two or even five years? The answer is the fin-tech industry. These pay-later schemes are backed by fintech firms who form partnerships with companies who offer travel now, pay later service.

The risk of customers defaulting on payment is taken on by the fin-tech firm, and their reward for doing so is a cut of the ticket price (typically 5%) that the travel company passes on to them.

Tempting offers

There has been a criticism of travel now, pay later schemes from some quarters. Like any product or service that’s offered on credit, it will tempt consumers to buy something they can’t really afford. Not only that, but some pay-later plans add high-interest rates and service charges, elevating the final price way above what it would have been had the vacation been paid in the traditional way.

But despite the criticism, travel now, pay later is here to stay. It offers travelers the choice and flexibility, which has to be a good thing. Pay upfront and enjoy the best price, or be spontaneous and go on an unexpected break and pay a little more when you return. Travel now, pay later is merely the latest sign that the travel industry is becoming even more consumer-focused.

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