TripGuru and Airbnb Experiences Confirm Partnership in a Win for the Hong Kong Travel Startup
Hong Kong based digital tours and activities supplier TripGuru partners with Airbnb Experiences for regional expansion catered to millennial travelers
3 October 2019, Hong Kong – Hong Kong based digital tours and activities supplier TripGuru confirmed its partnership with Airbnb Experiences for regional expansion catered to millennial travelers. This marks another win for the startup, which now supplies travel giants Expedia, GetYourGuide, KKday and TripAdvisor.
Airbnb’s LA-based Experiences Market Manager first reached out to Sebastian Renzacci, Founder and CEO of TripGuru in July 2019, to explore a supplier-based model. This involves TripGuru uploading and featuring its tours and activities on the Airbnb Experiences platform under the personalized profiles of the Balinese guides they closely work with to develop unique itineraries based on customer feedback and travel trends.
The partnership officially began early September, with 32 TripGuru Signature Experiences now live on Airbnb’s platform. TripGuru has effectively been placed on the radar of hundreds of thousands of millennial travelers who love booking through Airbnb, and are looking for authentic experiences the likes of those presented by TripGuru.
Airbnb Experiences was launched in 2016 as an activities marketplace “designed and led by inspiring locals”, going “beyond typical tours or classes… immersing guests in a host’s unique world.” The San Francisco based travel giant selected TripGuru as the startup aligned with Airbnb’s philosophy of putting discerning travelers in small group experiences hosted by local guides in off-the-beaten-path itineraries.
TripGuru’s experiences veer away from the classic busload tours taking people to sight after sight. As well, the type of travelers that choose TripGuru—40% being from the US—overlaps with that of Airbnb’s. “We understand and are used to serving this market, and we do it pretty well,” says Renzacci.
Bali is the first market in which the partnership will be tested, being TripGuru’s flagship destination. According to Renzacci, TripGuru has 95% positive reviews in Bali across platforms, speaking well about the company’s positioning and service in the destination. Currently, TripGuru works exclusively with 30 to 40 local Balinese guides, having grown that number from just one in 2016.
Renzacci believes that Airbnb Experiences’ peer to peer model is feasible in countries like the US and Europe, where independent hosts can organize activities as autonomous entrepreneurs. However, the market doesn’t work the same way in Southeast Asia for several reasons, including regulatory ones; for example, in Thailand, individuals cannot act as tour guides without a license.
So far, TripGuru has received 5-star reviews for its initial bookings on the Airbnb Experiences platform. It is now working with Airbnb to create guide books and other supplementary materials to bundle with their experiences.
Francesco Piccolo, COO and Co-founder of Trip Guru, said: “In Bali, TripGuru has the manpower, local expertise and solid relationships to handle the amount of tours that big companies like Airbnb need. Most importantly, we’re able to assure quality with the training we provide to each and every guide we hire. Quality control in Southeast Asia has a long way to go before attaining the level of standardization in more developed markets. There, hosts are prepared to handle international travelers much like themselves. In Asia, the reality is a totally different story. The good news is that there’s so much potential to tap, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of that!”
Sebastian Renzacci, CEO and Co-founder of Trip Guru, said: “We take this as a vote of confidence that we’re adding value and driving positive impact for everyone. For travelers, experiences as we know them; for local tour guides, that working closely together has generated more business and better products; for our institutional partners, that we’re a sustainable solution supplying them with tours and activities locally, yet with the capacity to handle volume, operations, quality control and customer service. We’re delighted to have received such validation of our mission and everything we’ve been working hard towards.”
TripGuru is a regional tours and activities supplier based in Hong Kong that creates unique travel experiences based on industry trends and data analysis. The startup partners with local guides in each destination, effectively placing them in the digital marketplace—empowering them to become entrepreneurs, operating them under TripGuru’s brand name and standards.
TripGuru connects travelers via authentic experiences in 61 destinations, with Signature cities Bali, Bangkok and Chiang Mai featuring original and exclusive small group tours. By joining TripGuru’s shared experiences, customers get to enjoy unique itineraries, access to certified local tour guides, private cars equipped with a/c and wifi, and instant availability with excellent customer service support.