Consumers face a dilemma when it comes to planning vacations, especially costly journeys to overseas destinations: How can they set aside enough money to pay for their trips? A flight between New York and Paris, for example, could cost hundreds of dollars. That sum might be difficult for consumers to pay upfront when making a reservation. To tackle this challenge, Thomas Enzo founded flywallet to help spread the cost of airline tickets through smaller payments over time.
The idea is to make flying “more accessible and affordable for the average person who has travel plans,” Enzo told PYMNTS in an interview. The concept is not particularly new, and other companies have rolled out similar services. To help consumers pay for large purchases, Enzo noted that other firms are providing ways for consumers to spread their purchases at the supermarket or the mall over weeks or months.
After signing up for flywallet, customers are brought to a dashboard. Through that page, customers can search for a flight and book reservations by paying only half the cost of the ticket. For the remainder of the price, consumers can pay of the cost over time — as long as they pay off the ticket in total two weeks before their departure date. And, to help consumers plan their payments, flywallet comes with an integrated calculator. “We recommend the easiest way to pay it off,” Enzo said.
In terms of payments, Enzo said that flywallet partnered with a European company that allows users to set up a debit card or credit card transaction on an automatic recurring basis. Consumers, in turn, can choose the frequency and currency of their payments. Beyond flywallet, companies such as cheapair.com have allowed consumers to make monthly payments toward airline tickets.
The Target Market
Enzo was inspired to create flywallet because consumers need help pacing themselves. He saw tools and apps that help people set financial goals, but realized that those services might be geared toward a purchase like a leather jacket or a concert. For that reason, he founded flywallet to provide an offering focused on travel.
In addition, Enzo wanted to tackle the problem of people traveling in groups. It can be difficult to coordinate flights or keep tabs on who in a group has paid for their tickets. Enzo set up the flywallet platform so group members could see other members’ progress toward their savings goals. The idea is to provide people with a motivator — positive peer pressure. And, while the product intends to serve a broad range of people, Enzo said the platform could be of particular use to millennials.
Millennials represent the largest market for travel. And this segment — and especially students — might take sojourns abroad in the summer. In addition, millennials tend to be very social and have an appreciation for travel. “They’re the most extroverted generation ever,” Enzo said. “Millennials want experiences more than material possessions.”
Millennials’ needs for fewer material possessions, more freedom to travel and experience new things and desire to live in bustling urban centers near trendy dining and entertainment options has significantly reshaped the world of retail and will continue to do so. Joshua Becker, who authors the blog Becoming Minimalist, has noted that there is long-term anxiety surrounding retail. “This long-term worry is far more significant and can be summarized in one sentence: Millennials don’t want to buy stuff.”
As of now, millennials make up about a third of the U.S. population and the majority of the workforce, according to Forbes, and their skill at using technology to find the best bargains and social media to influence their purchasing habits will be factors that retailers will have to contend with for years to come. And, when it comes to experiences, they may soon have access to platforms such as flywallet to help them with their travel purchases.