Travel tech company FLYR thinks you shouldn’t have to pay a significant upfront sum for your travel booking, so it’s offering another option: installment payments.
Through client partners such as travel sites, airlines and online travel agents, FLYR offers consumers the ability to spread out the expense of their travel with no interest and no credit check, through a product they call TripPay.
The key to this and other services FLYR provides is, of course, its infrastructure – a platform that enables the company to continually track the movement of travel pricing. It incorporates a data store that the company says “digests millions of travel data points every hour” with machine learning to predict pricing and demand.
“Typically, we offer an installment plan where we believe the price is going to go down at some point, so we take on that risk,” FLYR co-founder and CEO Jean Tripier told PaymentFacilitator.com. “If the price goes down, we will make the booking at that optimum point and there will be additional margin generated. Of course, if we’re wrong, we end up having to make the booking at a higher price. But on the balance, the goal of the system is to generate a margin that effectively allows us to offer the installment for free and to do it without a credit check.”
FLYR’s platform enables it to evaluate the risk of financing a transaction based not on the credit profile of the consumer making the purchase, but on the transaction itself, Tripier said.
The company’s system evaluates each specific transaction, enabling it to structure an installment plan that weighs the cost of making and cancelling the booking against the funds that are collected upfront and the potential margin that transaction could generate.
“The benefit of the system is to effectively allow people that may in fact have credit issues to pay in installments,” Tripier said. This in turn has the potential to enable more transactions by allowing this segment of consumers to access bookings through an installment plan.
In many cases where the company offers installment plans to consumers through their travel partners, FLYR collects the payments and operates as the merchant of record for the transaction.
“The default is that we are the merchant of record, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. It really depends on the nature of integration with the partner, but also the nature of the partner itself,” Tripier said.
He said that the company’s big metasearch engine partners do not typically process bookings and often expect FLYR to handle that piece. But if the company is working directly with an online travel agent or airline, those partners are more likely to be equipped to serve as the merchant of record themselves.
“So we adapt our solution for what is optimal for the partner,” Tripier said.
FLYR is already known for its FareKeep service – a fare guarantee offering that enables consumers to lock in a rate they like for a fee, without committing to booking the travel at that time. Again, the platform’s algorithms enable it to predict price and availability. In the case of FareKeep, FLYR’s partners handle the booking payment while FLYR collects the fee as the merchant of record.