SEAsians #GoLoka for Traveloka

Traveloka touts itself as ‘a leading Southeast Asia online travel company that provides a wide range of travel needs in one platform.’

That’s putting it mildly: in just five years, we’ve seen the homegrown Indonesian OTA that Silicon Valley engineers built validate itself as one of the fastest growing unicorn start-ups in the region.

Traveloka began 2017 by offering bookings for trains and tourist attractions, spanning theme parks through zoos. It beefed up its new ‘Flight + Hotel’ packages by shaving 40% off total costs and adding future discounts through its own new point rewards system.

It closed the year by becoming the first Indonesian OTA to offer Train Travel Insurance, Online Airline Check-In and Airport Transport services through strategic partnerships. Already boasting more than 30 million mobile app downloads last year, we’re sure this number will rise when Traveloka offers these services in other markets in 2018.

Crushing 2017

Now valued at $1 billion, Traveloka managed to raise $500 million in funds in July, with no less than American travel firm Expedia providing 70% of the total ($350 million!) plus added international hotel options on the first round alone(!).

American venture capitalist firm Sequoia Capital Group, Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com (which is keen to work with more travel brands), Chinese investment management firm Hillhouse Capital Group, and pan-Asian early-stage fund investor East Ventures all contributed to the remaining pot of 30%.

No wonder Traveloka set higher goals. It not only co-sponsored the Liga 1 Competition Soccer League with Go-Jek (the only start-up that beat it in the race to become Indonesia’s first unicorn), the highest professional level competition for Indonesian football clubs and the longest travel match (home-away) in any global football league at 687,287kms.

It also became one of the biggest sponsors of the unified 29th SEA Games and the 9th ASEAN Para Games (KL2017), and the second season of ‘Asia’s Got Talent!’

“In just five years, we’ve seen the homegrown Indonesian OTA that Silicon Valley engineers built validate itself as one of the fastest growing unicorn start-ups in the region”

What’s more, only Traveloka became the first Indonesian company to win the WPP BrandZ Indonesia Awards twice in a year, receiving the #1 Most Powerful Indonesian Technology Brand and #1 Most Innovative Brand 2017 nods after winning the One to Watch award in 2016.

That’s not even counting its other wins: Indonesia WOW 2017 Gold Champion for the OTA Category, the 10th Bubu Awards Best Digital Tech Business in Travel award, the 2017 Indonesia Most Admired Company (IMACO) award, and the Indonesia Travel and Tourism award for the OTA Category. It’s even listed as one of 20 Rising Global Stars by Forbes Indonesia.

Traveloka 2017 BrandZ Awards
Traveloka marketing’s Dannis Muhammad receives 2017 BrandZ Awards

What to expect for 2018

So what’s next for the start-up that’s crushing the travel industry? We can safely assume it will grow even bigger this 2018. Already the iOS iteration of the app has been tracked to be in the top 10 travel apps in many of its core markets by iosappstats.com: Indonesia (#3), Thailand (#2), Philippines (#3), Vietnam (#4) and Malaysia (#10). On the Android front, SimilarWeb reports: Indonesia (#2),  Vietnam (#3), Malaysia (#5), Philippines (#6) and Thailand (#6).

A Reuters interview with Traveloka chief financial officer Henry Hendrawan revealed that the OTA plans to use its funds to hire more people and enter other investments, taking advantage of the rise of Indonesia’s middle class, a rebound in commodity prices, and the government’s commitment to build more infrastructure in the country.

It will also continue to expand its partnerships, which already comprise more than 100 domestic and international airlines, more than 40 payment options, as well as a growing portfolio of accommodation options. It also wants to aggressively grow its tourist attraction ticketing to cover 2,000 locations.

Finally, Indonesia’s leading OTA also plans to give back to its country headquarters, which has experienced some setbacks in its growth as a tourist hub. Besides opening the Traveloka Hotel Awards in 2017 in support of the Indonesian hotel industry, it has also contributed to Mount Agung evacuation efforts in Bali. It’s also collaborating with Bank Mandiri to bump up tourist visits on key destinations set by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism.

All in all, the former travel metasearch start-up began by Harvard dropout Ferry Unardi, former LinkedIn software engineer Derianto Kusuma and former Netsuite engineer Albert Zhang seems all set to – in its own words – take over the world.

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