[Case Study] Crafting connection with cherry blossom: How DMC Windows to Japan elevated its payment experience with Flywire

Japan has had a special hold on Avi Lugasi. Since he first visited in 1989, he hasn’t been able to stay away, and for nearly 30 years he has called it home.

Luxury Destination Management Company, Windows to Japan, was founded by Avi in 2005 so that the culture, people and experiences found in Japan would touch the lives of others just like it had Avi’s. They do this by crafting one-of-a-kind, custom designed tours.

Tour Designers take time to learn about their clients - their pace of life, preferences for modernity versus traditional, urban versus rural and more - forging a personal connection that means they can craft a journey, personal to each one. Locations, encounters and experiences are carefully selected, and clients matched with local guides and suppliers to ensure they are energized by the journey they embark on.

In their own way, Avi and his tour designers are “shokunin”, a Japanese title given to someone who devotes themselves to perfecting a single craft. They are committed to supporting local communities and traditions; and the care and attention they pay to every detail of a tour produces a work of art, as beautiful and memorable as the cherry blossom that Japan is renowned for.

U.S., U.K. and EuropeanCustomer base
$25K-$30KAverage invoice amount
ZohoBooking platform

Challenge: Booking confirmation hindered by payments process

To craft their trips, Windows to Japan tour designers have to pull together lots of elements - experiences, trips, accommodation, guides - to create the perfect itinerary for each client. While the aim was to have trips booked, and itineraries confirmed, within three days it often took much longer.

Not only do they have to contend with a time difference with their clients, who hail from Europe, the U.K. and the U.S, which slowed the process down, but payments were a more pressing issue.

Before Flywire, clients paid Windows to Japan by international bank transfer. However, payments took some time to arrive, and when they did show in the company’s account, quite often there were errors. Sometimes the payment reference number was incorrect or missing and other times the sum received didn’t match the invoice, usually because of exchange rate fluctuations or unexpected charges applied to the payment. Add to the mix extra unexpected delays, perhaps because of a public holiday or bank issue, it’s easy to see why payment reconciliation was difficult and time consuming for the finance team.

To compound the issues, the local guides, suppliers and accommodation providers will not confirm their bookings for Windows to Japan clients until they themselves have received payment. What’s more, some clients will agree to an itinerary, confirm the booking and then cancel it within a short space of time so the Windows to Japan team will not book elements of an itinerary until payment has been received. Of course, this helps with cash flow but it also prevents the trip designer wasting time and effort on a trip that doesn’t come to fruition.

Overall, the payment process added unnecessary work and stress, and was not a good enough customer experience for a bespoke Destination Management Company, particularly one as innovative and dynamic as Windows to Japan.

Solution: Flywire reduces payment admin and stress, bookings confirmed quicker

Director Avi Lugasi firmly believes that anything that can be done by a machine should be, and that technology should be used to free people up for creative thinking and relationship building. That is exactly what he wanted from payment - a process where his team could send an invoice with one click and then forget about it. And Flywire delivered!

Using the Flywire Payment Request Solution and an integration with their booking platform, Zoho, payments are built into the Windows to Japan workflow and requested by email as soon as the client has confirmed their booking. When a client pays for their trip, they do so using the Flywire checkout experience where they can pay by card or bank transfer in their own currency. They have access to competitive exchange rates and can see exactly how much the payment will be, including all charges. Underpayment is a thing of the past because there are no hidden fees and, what’s more, the payment is delivered to Windows to Japan in Japanese Yen and, critically, in full.

“Implementation was very collaborative. The Flywire team listened to my team and I and delivered a solution that improved our customer experience immensely.” - Avi Lugasi, Founder & Director, Windows to Japan

Since using Flywire, internal elements of the payment process have become much more efficient. Manual reconciliation of payments has been eliminated, errors are greatly reduced and the administration needed to confirm bookings has reduced significantly. Crucially, the time it takes to confirm the main elements of trips (hotels, tours etc) now stands at around the target three days, all because funds are available sooner to begin the booking process and pay local suppliers.

Added to this, the finance system has become very accurate and customer enquiries about the status of payments and their booking confirmation have reduced greatly. All unnecessary work has been eliminated and, with it, energy-draining stress.

Flywire windows to japan featured


Streamlined booking process with 3-day turnaround
Global clients pay online, in own currency using trusted, secure payment portal
Around-the-clock multilingual support for payment enquiries & refunds
Real time visibility into transactions for clients and staff
Windows to Japan receives payments in Japanese Yen
Internal efficiencies, automatic reconciliation saves time & money

Flywire is close to perfect. It has delivered a great customer experience and internal efficiencies, freeing up time for my team so they can focus on designing trips that touch our clients’ lives.

Avi LugasiWindows to Japan
Windows to Japan