Travel startup secures $10.5-M capital boost from Japanese firm

Asia-based travel startup KKday said it has raised $10.5 million in additional funding led by Japanese travel firm H.I.S. with participation from existing investor MindWorks Ventures.

The alliance and funding is expected to help KKday expand its regional presence, which includes the Philippines, and further improve its variety of affordable product offerings to travelers.

KKday CEO Ming Chen

KKday is one of Asia’s largest travel-experience e-commerce platforms, curating more than 10,000 unique experiences from over 500 cities and 80 countries with over four million unique visitors and serves a few hundred thousand travellers each month.

Research by Phocuswright projects that the travel tours and activities industry will reach $183 billion by 2020 from $135 billion in 2016.

With such a large market, KKday has already implemented an effective globalized strategy by providing high-quality and affordable experiences to travelers from across the world.

Consequently, KKday has become one of the few e-commerce startups that has been able to gain traction in both regional and global markets.

The company is also constantly applying big data analytics to drive business decisions and to refine current offerings in pursuit of curating the optimal customer experience.

With substantial revenue growth and positive reviews, KKday’s recent performance has caught the attention of Japanese travel giant H.I.S.

Headquartered in Tokyo, H.I.S. is a global leader in the travel and tourism industry. With offices located in over 130 cities around the world, H.I.S. has a vast network with extensive on-the-ground resources.

As KKday CEO Ming Chen commented, “H.I.S. is not just a financial investor, but is valued as a strategic investor. By utilizing H.I.S.’s global resources and integrating it with KKday’s strong marketing and big data programs, we will be able to change the in-destination travel operations model.”

The strategic alliance creates many opportunities to explore synergies, as Chen states that “KKday will be focusing on improving the customer experience and strengthening our relationship with our suppliers. These two strategies are highly related. You can’t improve customer experience without having an amicable relationship with the supplier.”

As the in-destination travel industry is fragmented, managing supply chain is a major challenge. This is why KKday focuses on developing a strong supply chain management (SCM) system that allows all types of suppliers, big or small, to easily communicate with customers and manage orders without any IT investment.

KKday’s SCM system includes the usage of QR code redemption, and API integration of larger tour providers onto the KKday platform, thereby streamlining the user experience.

With a complete technology solution, customers can receive booking confirmation and updates in a timely manner while suppliers can manage their business efficiently.

By nature, local travel industries are highly affected by seasonality which makes it very difficult for suppliers to manage their capacity.

By working with KKday, suppliers can now attract customers from all over Asia, which will help to ease seasonal fluctuations.

Chen explained, “Let’s take April for example, the first week is Taiwanese Spring break, and then mid-month Hong Kong has their Easter long holiday, and at the end of April we have the Thai water festival, all this followed up rapidly by the Japanese Golden Week. The KKday platform can provide suppliers with stable and consistent revenue stream because everyday is a holiday somewhere.”

In addition to growing its operations across Asia, KKday will further improve its position in China as well as expand into the Asia travel segment of both US and European travelers.

KKday will also look to enrich current product offerings, offer personalized itineraries, and improve its end-to-end customer experience.

Comment on this post