KUALA LUMPUR – AirAsia Bhd has fit in the final missing piece in its jigsaw of travel offerings: on-ground activity offering.
The low-cost carrier told Bursa Malaysia that it had bought a 50% stake in Touristly Travel Sdn Bhd, which has an online platform for those who want to explore, plan and book on-ground activities for their travel.
AirAsia’s unit AirAsia Investment Ltd is paying for the shares in Touristly by injecting the carrier’s travel 3Sixty (e-T360) digital platform at a consideration of RM6.5mil.
e-T360, the digital platform of AirAsia’s travel 3Sixty inflight magazine, includes from the print magazine as well as digital-only exclusive features.
AirAsia said the next phase for the digital platform was to empower guests to discover on-ground activities and local unique experiences at their destinations through travel guides, reviews and ratings, and ultimately allow them to buy activities (direct deals from merchants) on the platform.
This would lead to greater cost-savings and personalised customer experiences, it said.
AirAsia Investment also signed an agreement with Touristy to provide the latter with a convertible loan of RM5mil at an interest rate of 6% per year.
On the rationale for the share subscription, AirAsia said it now offered “almost” a complete suite of travel offerings including hotels via the AirAsiaGo platform and car booking.
“The missing piece is on-ground activity offering. Increasingly, there are more free independent travelers looking at planning their own travel itineraries, rather than depending on tour operators to plan their entire trip.
“Touristly has built a platform based on industry proven application programming interface technologies that allow guests to seamlessly create and purchase travel on-ground itineraries for AirAsia destinations. Guests can also combine and view them in a single itinerary for easier travel planning. This powerful feature complements our guests’ travel intention and purchase habits, and leads towards higher conversion,” the airline said.
With the trove of AirAsia customer profiles and datasets coupled with Touristly technologies, the Touristly platform can offer more targeted offerings matching the customer’s lifestyle and travel aspirations. “For instance, adventure deals and healthy food options for AirAsia segment markets who fly to adventure-related destinations,” it said.
AirAsia said Touristly also had synergies with AirAsia in terms of the destinations covered and platforms.
“Out of the over 120 destinations that AirAsia operates, Touristly covers 70 destinations and growing. Guests can also earn AirAsia BIG Points when they purchase deals on the Touristly platform.
“Going forward in 2017/2018, AirAsia BIG Points can be used as currency to redeem deals on the Touristly platform, including one-click hassle-free payment with AirAsia BigPay,” it said.
AirAsia disclosed that Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, who are directors and major shareholders of AirAsia, have an indirect shareholding of less than 10% in Touristly via Tune Labs Sdn. Bhd.