GetYourGuide’s announcement yesterday of a massive $484
million Series E investment led by SoftBank Vision Fund – rumored for weeks but
now confirmed – generated buzz among attendees on the final day of Phocuswright
We caught up with a few to get their thoughts.
- Morgann Lesné, a partner with Cambon Partners
- Sascha Hausmann, a
partner at Howzat Partners
- Alessandro Petazzi, founder and CEO of rival brand Musement,
which was acquired by TUI Group in 2018.
On what the huge funding round means…
This a fantastic signal for entrepreneurs that they can achieve
something enormous in 10 years. The internet can make you rich, but also it takes
a long time to build something. You can build something massive, but be
prepared to stay on board and to face near death experiences many, many times probably.
And it’s a signal making money in travel is possible. But this massive injection might signal or accelerate the death of smaller players, ones less funded. It will probably clear the market, which inevitably happens sometimes.
[This is a] very interesting space, which has been totally under-served for a long time. As an industry, we focused
on flights, hotels, did a bad job on transportation and a wholly bad job on
tours and activities.
It’s a huge market but there aren’t a lot of companies
serving it well and whenever you have that, it attracts funding.
It’s a reinforcement
of a trend that we have already seen – which is the trend that this is a very
interesting sector but no more for young companies. And it’s definitely a sector
that is undergoing consolidation.
Either you are a company funded with this
amount of money or you are a group that already has size.
Last year when we had
to choose between going for a round of investment of let’s say a few tens of
millions or a partner with a much larger travel group, we said in this new
context it makes much more sense that we partner with someone that already has
tens of millions of customers and billions of revenue to play in the big league.
We’ve generated now a total of about €600 million of revenues already in
in-destination activities. And the transaction value is higher than that. So I
think the companies that are now in trouble are all the real startups who raised
maybe $10 million or $20 million – clearly life becomes tough for them.
On the fact that SoftBank Vision Fund is now invested in both GetYourGuide and Klook…
It’s not the first time for SoftBank. They are in Uber and Didi
at the same time. It’s Darwinian selection – in the end they only keep one. The vision in
this is a massive opportunity. You need to arm two great companies.
probably end up competing against each other in some geographies but the rest
of the world will be free land for them. And competition is sometimes a good thing.
It raises the bar for all the markets and probably makes the life much tougher
for your competitors, the smaller ones.
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A lot of people that don’t invest don’t understand it. The sector is not new, it has always existed.
There are markets that exist that have not been online and by taking something that consumers want to do and bringing it online, you don’t have to generate the demand, it’s there.
I don’t think there will necessarily be massive funding rounds, but I do think there will be more money going in to the segment.
The likes of Airbnb have also received a lot of rounds but if something grows aggressively why not put money into it. In the U.S. it would not be discussed as much as it is in Europe, but in Europe it’s unknown, we’re not used to European companies attracting that kind of money especially in travel. And, it does not seem like a sexy sector.
I’m really curious to see how that develops. I’m curious to see if they [SoftBank] have a financial investor approach, in which they will not comment on operational choices, or if they will at least try to influence operational choices so the two companies do not compete too harshly against each other.
They are also not the owners of either so the other shareholders will need to be taken into account.
On GetYourGuide’s comment that it will look to expand into new categories…
GetYourGuide has a brand that allows it to embrace a larger range of products… you need to be good at an entry point, so the entry point they are taking is the experience, which is really something that millennials favor in terms of a way of consuming travel.
But now it’s about being able to serve the millennials with whatever they want in terms of beyond the experience – you need to get somewhere, you need an accommodation. I truly believe that GetYourGuide is going toward an online travel agency-style business.
Soon I wouldn’t be surprised to book hotels near the experience, transportation to the experience, etc.
Because if I was GetYourGuide I wouldn’t ever let go of my consumer. I pay too much to get that consumer on my website I would not let him go.
It changes the design of the way people consumer travel in the next five to ten years. And if this is a vision of SoftBank, probably GetYourGuide is the best bet in this market.
You would expect that, if I go to a city there are two paths to bookings. One is the flight and accommodation, which are pre-arranged and the second is tours and activities and everything that concerns the location.
So, as a consumer, I would expect to see more than tours and activities, scooters, etc. because it is everything I need.
If you are in that big league, it definitely makes sense to have more verticals covered to provide a more comprehensive in-destination experience.
Because I would agree that in-destination is more than guided tours.