Travel Now, Pay Later Choices Catch on in India

Skift Take

More and more Indians are spreading their wings and exploring the world, making travel a big part of their lifestyle. And guess what’s making it even easier? Those “travel now, pay later” options.

In the latest episode of the Skift India Travel Podcast, Abhilasha Negi and Akash Dahiya, co-founders of travel fintech firm Sankash, talk to Skift Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia about how the unprecedented boom in leisure travel after the easing of restrictions imposed during the pandemic have led to the rise of Travel Now Pay Later offerings. Sankash has been working with online travel agencies like EaseMyTrip and Musafir to offer flexible payment options to Indian travelers. The travel fintech firm also offers Sail Now Pay Later options for cruises.

Host: Peden Doma Bhutia
Guests: Abhilasha Negi and Akash Dahiya
Producer: James Magallanes

Dahiya shares Sankash’s ambitions to service 1 million customers by 2025, a goal he considers an understatement given the burgeoning Indian travel market. He explains that India’s growing passport strength and increasing number of first-time travelers present a significant opportunity. Sankash’s core offering is consumer financing for travel at the point of sale, aiming to provide multiple payment options for travelers which are currently lacking in the industry.

Negi addresses the fragmented nature of the travel market and the importance of building trust with travel agents, which is crucial for their “Travel Now, Pay Later” service. The pandemic, despite its challenges, helped educate travel agents about the importance of flexible payment and insurance services. Sankash’s approach involves positioning their product as a “pull” rather than a “push” product, where customers actively seek out flexible payment options. This strategy has led to successful partnerships and growing demand from various customer segments, including families and those financing pilgrimage trips.

The podcast also delves into Sankash’s handling of defaults in payments and their expansion into travel insurance and forex services. Dahiya explains that their default rate is low, and they have measures to manage defaults effectively.

The podcast also talks about how the importance of travel insurance has grown post-Covid, with many countries making it mandatory. Sankash has also ventured into forex services, responding to demand from travel agents and customers for integrated financial solutions. This expansion aligns with the overall trend of increased flexibility and financial support for travelers, a key focus of Sankash’s services.

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