Asia: Jakarta-based online travel agency and app, Traveloka, has announced that it has raised $250 million to enhance its operations during the coronavirus crisis and restore confidence in the “resilience and the viability of the regional travel industry”.
The company has declined to disclose who led the round, apart from it being a “global financial institution”, but confirmed existing investors participated in the raise, including East Ventures. Traveloka’s latest funding round came last April in the form of a $420 million private equity round led by GIC with participation from EV Growth.
Last July, The Wall Street Journal reported that Traveloka was aiming to raise as much as $500 million in funding, but while the latest sum is far below that figure, the OTA is increasingly optimistic that it can contribute to the rebound of travel.
Traveloka co-founder and CEO, Ferry Unardi, told Phocuswire: “Without a doubt, Traveloka has been profoundly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have experienced the lowest business rate that we have ever seen since our inception.
“However, we always believed that the company will prevail by rapidly adjusting our strategy, working with our industry and ecosystem partners, as well as continuing to innovate for our users, our ultimate focus,” he added.
Traveloka says it will use the funding to build “a more robust and integrated Travel & Lifestyle portfolio in key markets as well as expanding its Financial Services solutions to better support ecosystem partners.”
Unardi confirmed Traveloka would be directing the funds towards boosting its domestic travel offering [Travel & Lifestyle portfolio] in key markets as travel restrictions ease across the region, as well as growing its financial services solutions to “better support ecosystem partners” who have also been affected by the pandemic.
Founded back in 2012, Traveloka’s app is reported to have been downloaded by more than 60 million people across Asia, but its business has been impacted hugely by border closures and strict lockdowns across the continent.
However, the co-founder revealed his anticipation for the reopening of the travel sector, after noting an “encouraging recovery across its key markets” such as Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. He attributed this to a resurgence in regional travel and activity bookings being made by holidaymakers.
In a statement, Unardi said: “I am happy to share that on the business front, we are seeing encouraging recovery across all of our key markets.
“Our business in Vietnam is approaching steady pre-Covid-19 levels and Thailand business is on its way to surpass 50 per cent. Indonesia and Malaysia are still in the early stage, but they continue to demonstrate promising momentum with strong week-to-week improvement, especially in accommodation with the emergence of shorter-distance staycation behaviour.
“We acknowledge that the sector may go through further turbulence as it navigates new waves, but we feel we are prepared to take on the challenge and emerge on the right side of it,” he added.
To further accelerate the recovery of travel, Traveloka has also launched a flexible”Buy Now Stay Later” voucher for its accommodations [such as hotels, apartments and short-term rentals], as well as online experiences and weekly live virtual tour streams.