Grab’s trying to turn its app into a single destination for content, commerce, and activities across Southeast Asia.
It’s showcasing how that might work in the context of tourism. Indonesia’s tourism minister Arief Yahya and Grab’s hashed out a partnership that brings content from the “Wonderful Indonesia” programme, aimed to invite Southeast Asia’s holidaymakers to Indonesia into Grab’s app.
Grab users in Singapore now can access information and articles about Indonesian tourism, including the country’s best destinations, attractions, as well as events and festival, on their Grab feed. They can also book a trip through the app, along with flights, hotels, packages, and activities, a feature powered by Expedia.
“Mobile penetration in Southeast Asia is growing very fast, and the region is spending more and more time online, and mostly through mobile connectivity. We see a great opportunity to serve customers better by providing information about new tourist destinations, and even booking travel packages in the Grab application,” explained Lionel Yeo at a press conference in Singapore as quoted by Indonesian media. Yeo joined Grab as an advisor after years of serving on the Singapore Tourism Board in September, to “help steer the [company] through its next phase of growth.”
At the conference, Grab laid out its vision which includes tourists visiting Indonesia being able to rent a car comfortably through its ‘GrabCar Rent’ service, which offers rental packages of 4-12 hours. It’s currently available in Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Bali, Manado, and Makassar. Grab said it’s also building digital facilities, including charging stations and Wi-Fi at airport lounges and tourist information centres, and shelters as designated pick-up/drop-off points for Grab customers.
“We appreciate the support given by Grab in helping to introduce Indonesian tourism to the international stage,” said Minister Arief Yahya at the visit.
Technology continues to transform the way people travel. The Indonesian tourism ministry pledged to allocate 70% of its promotional budget with digital players in an effort to achieve the government’s target of welcoming 20 million foreign travellers next year.
A recent joint report by Google and Temasek said that more than 90% of Southeast Asians access the internet through their smartphones and around 41% of all travel bookings made in the region were completed online this year. The number is expected to keep growing, making digital travel platforms essential in the industry.
“Our survey shows 50% of those who visit Indonesia are millennials and they are more digital in their ways. They are used to ride-hailing apps,” added Minister Yahya.
After Singapore’s launch, the partners will go on to promote Indonesia in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia. Grab now operates in 235 cities across eight countries with more than 100 million users and four million driver partners in Southeast Asia.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad
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