Airbnb’s investment underscores the growing importance of attractions—and the entire in-destination industry—in travel.
Airbnb seems serious about being a massive in-destination player.
Today, the five-year-old global ticket booking platform Tiqets announced Airbnb is a lead investor on its $60 million Series C fundraising round, with additional financing from existing Tiqets investors HPE Growth Capital and Investion.
Tiqets CEO and co-founder Luuc Elzinga says Airbnb is a prime partner to help the Amsterdam-based company scale. “We wanted an investor that we could learn from. Airbnb is one of the most beautiful brands in the world, and they quickly went from a small company to a global leader. That’s not only very inspiring but also we can learn how to accelerate our growth even further.”
With plans to go public in 2020, Airbnb has been on a buying spree throughout 2019, acquiring the last-minute hotel reservation service HotelTonight and the business travel marketplace Urbandoor. With new innovations in Experiences (Animals and multi-day Adventures), and now an interest in attractions, Airbnb’s minority-stake investment in Tiqets means the homestay booking platform recognizes it is things to do that drives travel—even attractions, a category Airbnb has until now, not focused on.
Airbnb helped pioneer the trendiness of “off the beaten path,” authentic experiences. But major attractions drive tourism spend more. According to new research from Arival, 85% of travelers visit attractions when they travel, and more travelers cite visiting famous attractions as priorities on trips. Elzinga says global attractions and museums are a $60-80 billion market.
Tiqets’ mobile ticket purchasing capability was also attractive to Airbnb, Elzinga says. “We’re really focused on a niche where there is a lot of demand and a lot of last-mile complexity,” he says. For example, while numerous places can sell a ticket to the Louvre Museum, Tiqets sells last-minute tickets directly to travelers’ phones, sometimes with an included audio guide, too.
Tiqets Growth Planned
Elzinga says the company plans to use the investment to continue to build out functionality and product offerings.
Both companies say the transaction is financial, and there is no commercial agreement to share content or make Tiqets products bookable via Airbnb. However, the investment clearly indicates Airbnb is looking at attraction ticketing as it continues to expand its Experiences business.
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