Hearing from the Tourism Unicorn Traveloka

*The following is an interview with Mr. Terry Santoso, Head of Marketing of Traveloka Xperience.

 

1.     Traveloka is widely used in ASEAN, not to mention being named as a Unicorn startup since 2017. Please give a brief introduction to Traveloka.

Traveloka was firstly found in 2012. Back then we were just a metasearch and now we have evolved to become Southeast Asia’s leading digital travel and lifestyle experiences booking platform, with presence in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Australia.

As a technology company, we have a mission to enrich people’s lives by empowering people to explore the world around them. We commit ourselves to solve pain points of more than 60 million of our users by providing end-to-end solutions for their travel and lifestyle needs, starting from transportation, accommodation, activities, to culinary. We believe that the world has so much to experience and our journey is still long to go.

2.     The year 2020 has been hit gravely by COVID-19, especially the tourism industry. In what ways were Traveloka and the Indonesian tourism industry affected by the virus?

The recent COVID-19 situation has put the tourism sector in an unprecedented challenging state, which is also affecting Traveloka as one of the companies in this sector. Ministry of Tourism and Economy Creative of the Republic of Indonesia stated that there is a 28.85% YoY decline in foreign tourist arrivals ever since countries began to restrict international travel, while in April, the number of hotels that shut down their business in Indonesia as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has reached more than 1,260 according to the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association.

In Traveloka, our partners across transport, accommodation, activities, and dining also experienced significant disruption to their business where there was feeble demand for transportation with a contrasting escalation of refund requests; hotels saw the lowest occupancy ever; several domestic and regional activities and dining partners chose to shut their doors temporarily due to high uncertainty.

It is without a doubt that this pandemic has affected almost every layer of people’s lives. Nevertheless, we believe in the value of walking together, we commit to getting through the storm and eventually adapting to the transition period together with government, partners, users, and other stakeholders.

Entering this transition period, our focus now is on how we can provide products that are relevant to the shifted behavior of our users while at the same time prioritizing their safety and supporting our partners in creating users’ demands.

3.     You’ll be speaking at the Seminar on ‘ASEAN-Korea Tourism – Recovering from COVID-19: Smart Tourism for ASEAN and Korea’ on 8 September, a program organized by the AKC. In terms of smart tourism, what plans does Traveloka have to overcome this COVID-19-induced situation?

We accept the fact that today’s world is no longer the same. The pandemic has changed the way we connect, live, and travel. While the future of travel will change, however, it will never disappear and indeed travel and lifestyle industries will come back stronger as a whole.

We believe in humanizing technology, it means to be the most relevant, helpful, and reliable travel and lifestyle partner to our partners and users. This belief has manifested into several innovations that Traveloka launched in the past 5-6 months post-pandemic that includes:

  • Provide COVID-19 Test service in 44 cities across Indonesia to help users comply with the latest travel policy issued by the government, together with our partners, we offer extensive options for Rapid Test & PCR Tests in 44 cities across This initiative allows users to minimize contact with other people by utilizing digital platforms. It also marks Traveloka as a one-stop booking platform that allows its users to not only buy the travel needs (transportation and/or accommodation) but also book and make appointments for COVID-19 tests.
  • Combining Flash Sale promotion activities with the content live stream, Traveloka LIVEstyle Flash Sale aims to support partners to get through the pandemic by generating demands from The live stream enables users to watch and interact with live tours and auctions through Traveloka App and its social media accounts, such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, offering limited time of 50% or more discounts of hotel, activities and experiences, culinaries, and transportation.
  • To address user’s concern on the booking flexibility during this unprecedented situation, Traveloka also presents ‘Buy Now Stay Later’ program for hotel products and ‘Flexi Sale’ (Buy Now Experience Later) program for Xperience products, ranging from attraction, entertainment and wellness activity, whereby the vouchers can be used with open flexibility of 1 year until 2021. This program has thankfully also helped our affected partners to obtain a revenue stream during pandemic to sustain their
  • To further prioritize the safety and health of our users, we launched Traveloka Clean Partners Campaign as our manifestation of Traveloka’s commitment to support the government’s CHSE (Clean, Health, Safety, and Environment) Ranging from Transport, Hotel, Xperience, and Eats, Traveloka Clean Partners possesses an end-to-end and comprehensive portfolio, providing easy access for users who started their travel & lifestyle activities in the new habit adaptation era. As a result, more than 2,000 partners from Transport, Hotel,

Xperience and Eats have joined Traveloka Clean Partners in the first week of its launch on August. The reception has never been better as we see more partners are joining and among those that have joined, we see a promising trend of booking ratio increase of more than twofold – showcasing that it is imperative to promote CHSE to promote responsible travelling amidst pandemic.

The innovation will not stop as the world continues to evolve and we will ensure that Traveloka stays at the forefront in digitizing travel and lifestyle for a better future.

 

4.     Traveloka was also awarded the ASEAN Entrepreneurs Award, awarded by the ASEAN-Korea Centre and the Maekyung Media in 2018. Please tell us about the trend and the recent startup environment in Indonesia, especially for tourism startups.

The COVID-19 doesn’t see the size of the industry, all the industries, big and small, local and global are all impacted. However, we believe that in every crisis there is also an opportunity to not only survive but more importantly to thrive. At this stage, we believe that all industries are now striving to boost their business to recover the market demands and adapting to the new habit adaptation era.

Ministry of Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia stated that there are 10 technology trends as a result of COVID-19 pandemic for startups in the transition period, some of them are including online shopping, digital payment, teleworking, telemedicine, tele-education and training, and online entertainment. In the tourism ecosystem, we are seeing that there’s a more into digital usage to provide a seamless experience for customers, for instance, providing features to lessen physical contact not only during booking processes but also redemption or post-booking experience. We also see a trend where OTA like Traveloka has evolved not only as a booking platform but also a discovery and engagement platform to ease and assure customers in choosing high quality services that comply with health and safety protocols.

Afterall, we believe that the storm will end and the survivors regardless of the size are without doubt the companies that are good in corporate governance and social responsibilities, and moreover those that continue to innovate with a customer-centric focus and humanizing technologies at every front.

 

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