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Travel Tech Essentialist #4: Jobs-To-Be-Done in Travel

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“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” Getting from point A
 

Travel Tech Essentialist

July 5 · Issue #4 · View online
A short newsletter every two weeks with my pick of the top 10 Travel Tech stories and innovations shaping the world's largest and fastest growing industry.

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” Getting from point A to point B (not necessarily limited to one transportation mode); having a place to stay (without needing to be an expert on the growing number of accommodations subcategories). Many of this week’s stories are related to the jobs-to-be-done innovation category: understanding at a basic level what the traveller is trying to accomplish.

1. New partner for JetBlue’s International Partnership Program
JetBlue Technology Ventures, the VC subsidiary of JetBlue, announced that Vantage Airport Group joined its International Partnership Program, a program established by JTV in 2018 to build a network of global partners embracing startups and applying emerging technologies within their companies. Vantage joins Air New Zealand as the program’s second partner.
2. Oyo’s bold global expansion
Oyo is executing on its plan to be the largest hotel chain in the world by 2023. The India-based hotel startup recently raised a $1 billion round from Softbank and Sequoia and is planning a $300 million expansion in the US and a $200 million expansion in Asia. Oyo currently offers more than 50 hotels in 35 cities in the US, and in only 18 months, Oyo has become the 2nd largest hotel chain in China.
3. eDreams Odigeo rolls out Prime, its new subscription program
Over the course of a 1 year test in Italy, eDreams’ unoriginally named subscription program took 25% of all bookings and had a 63% renewal rate. The company is now expanding the program to more countries and to its other OTA brands at an annual subscription price ranging from $46 to $68 in an attempt to move away from an entirely transactional client relationship.
4. Expedia CEO shifts the battle beyond the booking experience
“In many ways, the booking experience has become standardized. Not even just in travel; e-commerce in general.” Mark Okerstrom says that the next vector of innovation will happen after the booking is made. Expedia plans to use data and AI to change the experience from being click-focused to customer-focused.
5. Abrupt CEO departure at Booking.com
Gillian Tans is out as president and CEO of Booking.com. Glenn Fogel, Booking Holdings CEO, takes over her role. No official reasons for her sudden departure, but it seems there is disagreement over the level of collaboration between the group’s brands. Nothing like growth to smooth out differences, but in Q1 2019, Booking saw the first ever YoY quarterly revenue decrease. That might have something to do with it.
6. Etraveli acquires Canadian B2B flights technology company
TripStack’s Virtual Interlining combines fares from airlines without interline agreements into a single itinerary. The startup also provides all of the world’s Low Cost Carriers that are not available via traditional distribution channels in a single API. Some think that this deal could catch Airbnb’s attention.
7. Lastminute acquisition
Lastminute Group acquires intermodal travel platform Qixxit, a german base startup that compares and combines train, plane and long-distance buses in one search. In other words, they enable what travellers naturally do: combine various modes of transportation.
8. Easyjet could become the UK’s largest Tour Operator
Easyjet CEO announced that Easyjet Holidays will launch in 2020. Easyjet gets 100 million passengers on their planes, of which 20 million book accommodations. TUI, the largest Tour Operator in the UK serves 6 million customers a year. It’s not a stretch to think of Easyjet surpassing that.
9. One gigantic deal and two big deals
  • Corporate travel platform TripActions closes a $250 million Series D from Andreessen Horowitz and other VCs, bringing the total raised to $480 million. The travel booking service tailored for large enterprises is now valued at $4 billion.
  • Duffel, a London-based startup operating in stealth mode raised $21.5 million for a “next-generation travel distribution platform”. Benchmark, which has also invested in Uber, Twitter and Snap, led the round.
  • Flyr, a startup developing AI solutions that help airlines predict fares, raised $10 million in 2nd round funding, bringing total raised to $25 million. Backers include Peter Thiel, JetBlue Technology Ventures and Plug and Play. The company is based in Poland and San Francisco. 
10. Three promising startups
  • Setoo’s insurance‐as‐a‐service platform enables OTAs and other travel players to easily build tailored insurance and protection products that appeal to consumers because they are personalized, fully automated, easy to understand, and provide claim‐free compensation in response to pre‐defined triggers. HQ in London w/ offices in Tel-Aviv & Paris.
  • San Francisco based Stride helps travellers search and compare organized tours and adventure trips. It just raised $2.5 million from JetBlue and NFX for its guided trips marketplace.
  • Cozycozy.com is a French metasearch startup that aggregates content across all accommodation categories (hotels, Airbnb listings,home-exchanging apartments, hostels, etc…). It was founded by Pierre Bonelli (who previously founded metasearch Liligo acquired by eDreams Odigeo in 2013) and just raised a €4 million round.
Thanks for reading. If you like this newsletter, please forward it to someone who’d like it as well. And reach out to me with any corrections, ideas, news or any other feedback you have.
Mauricio
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