GetYourGuide CEO: “Asia and the United States are our next big targets”

TD speaks with CEO Johannes Reck on his big plans

getyourguide-founders
GetYourGuide co-founders CEO Johannes Reck (L) and COO Tao Tao (R)

GetYourGuide has raised USD 484 million in its Series E funding to conquer the USD 183 billion experiences industry. As the global market for tours and activities grows at an unprecedented rate, GetYourGuide is out in the prowl to seize the opportunity.

GetYourGuide plans to invest the Series E funding in broadening its global inventory of experiences, deepening the capabilities of its platform to enhance the discovery and booking experience for users, and expanding and diversifying its marketing channels to reach millions of new travellers around the world.

In an exclusive interview with TD, Johannes Reck, CEO and co-founder, confirmed its concrete plans for the pooled money in its recent funding. “GetYourGuide is already global, so for us, it’s about expanding our global coverage and broadening our inventory rather than tackling any one destination. That said, now that we’ve established ourselves as the clear market leader in Europe, Asia and the United States are our next big targets. We’ll be adding products and staff and acquiring customers at a rapid pace,” he said.

This is no easy feat, in the United States, GetYourGuide will battle head-on with Airbnb Experiences. It is a bigger royal rumble in Asia with several big players in the region like Klook, KKday, Traveloka and Ctrip.

With so many players in the space, Reck claimed that what sets GetYourGuide apart from competitors is our commitment to quality. “We currently list more than 50,000 things to do in 7,600 destinations across the globe. But our staff of 500-plus people is committed to making sure all activities on the site meet our high-quality standards,” he said.

“We have teams dedicated to each region, and our staff members continually vet and secret-shop our activities. These teams are tasked with keeping ahead of local trends, supply and demand. We also perform quality control by monitoring customer feedback. We won’t hesitate to remove an activity if it doesn’t meet our standards,” he explained.

Immediate changes may not be seen on the app or service, but GetYourGuide ultimately aims to make travel planning and travel experiences better. “Our product will become even more personalized and more responsive, and will show you experiences tailored to your individual interests and preferences,” Reck added.

GetYourGuide’s Series E funding was led by SoftBank Vision Fund. The financing round was joined by co-investors Temasek, Lakestar, Korelya Capital and Heartcore Capital (formerly Sunstone Capital), while original investors such as Swisscanto Invest by Zürcher Kantonalbank continued their support of the company. As part of the investment, Ted Fike, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, will join GetYourGuide’s Board of Directors.

“We have always sought investors who understand our philosophy, our culture and our bold vision for the future. And, of course, we want investors we trust and respect. These qualities are much more important than seeking an investor who’ll give the most money. SoftBank is a like-minded partner; they have a proven track record in the experience economy and they share our long-term view of how travel experiences will contribute to our fast-changing world,” told me when asked how they find the right investors to propel their growth.

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