As travel restrictions lift and many Aussies are feeling the pinch of the pandemic – a new travel website called Play Travel has launched to give travellers the freedom to book now and pay in weekly instalments.
Play Travel is a new (AFTA/ATAS accredited) online Travel Agency (OTA) and a result of a partnership between Afterpay and LayAway Travel which launched in 2016.
The business adopts a traditional layby model so customers are able to pick and book a curated holiday package and pay for it in full or in weekly instalments over a 2- to a 12-month period before they travel.
“Play Travel is a direct response to customer feedback. Afterpay’s existing customer base uses instalments as an effective budgeting tool, so it’s only natural they should want to pay for travel in the same way,” said Mr Andrew Paykel, Managing Director and CEO of Play Travel.
“Play Travel’s interest-free payments open the door for many Australians who want to start travelling again, but also want to be in control of their personal finances and avoid coming back from a trip with debt lag.”
Andrew Paykel, Managing Director and CEO of Play Travel
The purpose-built and travel deal heavy website allows customers to carefully budget their travel so they can nominate how much they want to contribute to their ‘holiday fund’ on a weekly basis and assemble a suitable itinerary around their budget.
Paykel says the complete version of Play Travel will launch towards the end of 2020 and have the ability to curate an itinerary that not only meets a travellers budget but allows them to bundle flights, accommodation and experiences.
“This unique model has shown us that the market is ready for a new OTA that offers something unique to consumers. From our research we know that 74% of people surveyed would prefer to book holidays with payment plans over credit and debit cards”, says Andrew Paykel
As part of the groups’ research, Play Travel conducted a survey in April 2020 of 2000 Australian travellers to better understand and predict travel habits post-COVID-19.
Here’s what they discovered.
Planning during a pandemic
Whilst some used this downtime to develop a new skill or learn how to perfect the perfect sourdough starter, others could have spent it dreaming and planning their next holiday.
70% of travellers are planned and considered when it comes to coordinating a holiday. And while we may be a bit tighter on our purse strings, the survey found that 63% of travellers are even more conscious and concerned about unexpected expenses when on holiday.
Beaches beats busyness
When it comes to the type of holiday they’re looking for, 65% of travellers would rather travel to a beach than a big city – it seems when it comes to holiday preferences, social distancing is taken into consideration.
Holiday planning can also be stressful with 43% of people struggle with their budget pre-holiday, followed by 32% who admit to being frustrated having to trawl through multiple booking websites to book their holiday.
Pay NOT pay
Paying for your holiday before you travel is hugely appealing to travellers, with 74% opting for a payment plan rather than relying on bank credit cards with high-interest charges and debt (8%) and 17% relying on debit cards.
Holiday budgeting is not for the penny pinchers
Just because they’re budgeting doesn’t mean they’re penny pinchers; in fact, travellers surveyed prefer to stay in 4-5 star accommodation (60%) with 79% of holiday activities focused around food and drink experiences closely followed by arts, entertainment and culture (74%).
The photo album may look wonderful and the memories last forever, but when it comes to booking a holiday, 60% say they’re frustrated by poor refund or cancellation policies, with 52% complaining of having to book different elements of their travel (accommodation, flights, experiences) on different websites.
*Survey conducted by Play Travel interviewing 2000 Australians in April 2020.
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