Gobi Partners-backed impact travel company Triip.me and Booking.com have formed partnership to help traditional lodging experience the truly unique local offerings, the companies announced, and this comes even as these platforms are confronted with intense competition from the likes of AirBnB, which also provides local guides.
The strategic partnership will bring an integrated tour and lodging experience in early 2017 to hotels around the world, Triip said a statement on December 13.
“This is not just a simple API integration. Rather, our product team is executing on a vision to make travel and tour booking more seamless,” said Ho Viet Hai, CEO of Triip.
Hai said he had seen more “indie travelers” shifting from AirBnb and other such platforms to book for hotels, while still demanding a unique local experience, which his company has been working on.
“We asked a very simple question: How to make traditional lodging more indie? Our answer was to give travelers best-price guarantees on lodging while also staying true to Triip’s vision of providing authentic local experiences at the same time.”
Under the partnership, Triip’s new booking practice will offer frequent travelers the lowest rate on hotel rooms, free international phone access through Flexiroam, as well as honouring travelers’ reward status achieved on other websites, the company claimed.
Triip’s services will be leveraged through the duo’s networks of over 1 million listed accommodations in 227 countries and more than 6,000 local guides in 660 cities, their statement added.
Meanwhile, AirBnB has over 500 local guides in eight countries but boasts over 3 million property listings.
However, Hai said his venture was not a direct competitor to AirBnB or other similar marketplaces.
“We see ourselves as an enhancement to traditional lodging,” he emphasized. “Now that we’re building the product, we’re seeking partnerships with any hotels around the world interested in having a more hands-on approach to the bookings we’ll be sending them, and also getting the word out to super travelers so we have sufficient early adopters to optimize the experience.”
Founded in 2013 by Hai and Lam Thi Thuy Ha, who had been in the tourism industry as a tour guide herself, Triip initially allowed Vietnamese people to curate their own tours to offer to travelers. The company is currently present in almost 100 countries.
Triip was the first investment in Vietnam by Gobi Partners, as the Shanghai-based VC firm had put in $500,000 into the company. Gobi later invested in fintech startup OnOnPay in November.
In another development, Hai told DEALSTREETASIA that Triip has launched Type-A Retreat – a group retreat in Bhutan for type-A founders, in partnership with its VC investor and the Pacific Asia Travel Association.
Each group will consist of 15 founders across Asia, hand-selected so that no one is direct competitors of the others. They will go through the challenge of finishing a full-day’s work in two breakfast hours before spending time with the other founders along the journey.