Tiqets, a booking platform for museums and other attractions, raises $ 60 million led by Airbnb – TechCrunch

Airbnb is best known as the place where you go to find a place to stay that is not a hotel. Now he has invested in a startup that shows his greatest ambition to be a premier destination for experiences. Tiqets, an Amsterdam startup that has built a ticket booking platform for museums and other attractions, has raised $ 60 million in a Series C round led by the travel giant to expand its platform and its broader activities. Tiqets has sold millions of tickets in more than 60 countries to date, he says.

The investment also includes participation from previous backers HPE Growth and Investion, and brings the total raised by Tiqets to $ 100 million. Luuc Elzinga, CEO and co-founder of Tiqets, said the startup was not disclosing its rating, but said he was “happy” with the number.

For now, this is a financial investment for Airbnb rather than a strategic one. In other words, the two companies have yet to work together, Elzinga said, although it appears to be the longer-term hope. “Airbnb will be involved in the business,” he said ((involved as an investor, not as a strategic partner, to be clear), “and it’s interesting because we can learn from their evolution . “

Scale is almost an understatement. Originally a small market for people to offer guest rooms and sofas to travelers, Airbnb is now in the custody of outsized startups, raising $ 4.4 billion in venture capital, valued at $ 31 billion. dollars and in the process of IPO in 2020.

“Travelers seek a wide range of experiences when visiting a new city,” Philippe Magid, Airbnb artistic and cultural director, said in a statement. “The Tiqets team has effectively used new technologies to connect travelers to communities and we are delighted to support their work. “

Across the tourism and travel industry, revenues from museums and attractions are valued worth about $ 160 billion, of which $ 60 billion is for ticketing.

The gap in the market that Tiqets is targeting is the change we have observed in the way and reason why people – both tourists but also those who visit museums and attractions in their own city – buy tickets. to get to these places.

While some still wait to queue in front of a venue for hours, others choose to go online to buy in advance and use mobile tickets to speed up the process. Museums and most other attractions aren’t often the places that come to mind when you think of ‘technology’, and Tiqets steps in and provides a service for them so that they can meet the demands of more savvy visitors. digital.

Museums and other attractions are now gradually starting to think about how to use this to their advantage.

There was a very British uproar in the 1980s when the Victoria & Albert Museum in London launched an advertising campaign claiming it was an “ace caff with a pretty nice museum attached”. (This is a beautiful cafeteria.) But these days these ubiquitous cafes and gift shops are some of their biggest incomes, so offering tickets online cuts some of the friction to get people to places and in a better mood, to spend more money. ‘money later. And, if users “tick the box,” sites can also build their marketing databases to get started.

Tiqets, founded in 2014, is still a relatively young company. Elzinga said he works with some 3,000 museum and attraction groups – with his client list including some of the most visited institutions in the world, like the Louvre in Paris.

It also partners with some 2,500 travel agencies and portals – Ctrip is another big customer – that integrate with Tiqets APIs to sell customers tickets to sites after booking their trips. About 35% of its income currently comes from these agreements with third parties.

Tiqets’ plans for the investment will be to expand its coverage to more attractions and to expand deeper into smaller towns beyond the big cities where it is currently most active, specifically developing better technology by self-service (much like Airbnb’s for hosts) to make it easier to get on its platform. It is now available in 14 languages, so the addition of more localization is also on the maps.

On Airbnb’s part, the investment is part of a larger strategy for the company to invest in smaller startups that are strategically aligned with what it aims to bring into its own business.

Other investments have included stakes in Oyo, the India-based hotel chain; specialist in corporate accommodation Lyric Hospitality; the Resy booking platform (which was eventually acquired by Amex) and The Wing co-working space.

Sometimes Airbnb also acquires companies, although in the case of Tiqets, Elzinga said Airbnb had not approached her to acquire the company.

The vast majority of Airbnb’s growth is due to people posting and booking accommodations in private homes, but Airbnb’s interest in Tiqets highlights how the company itself expands the revenue it can generate per user. by developing the longest lineup of services it offers its users beyond booking travel accommodation.

Current offers include Experiences (city activities, day), Adventures (guided tours over several days) and restaurant listings.

One area in which Tiqets does not plan to expand is ticketing for shows or seated events, at the Ticketmaster or Eventbrite.

“Our focus and our opportunity will continue to be museums and attractions,” said Elzinga. This is partly because many of them continue to provide paper tickets issued by kiosks, but also because of the rise of the blockbuster and the new awareness of public safety in the cities. iconic and crowded tourists. tasks. “It’s getting more and more complex, with timed entries and issues like crowd management. “

Longer term, it will be interesting to see how and if Airbnb works more closely with Tiqets. Both are aiming for what is a huge opportunity. Travel and tourism are worth some $ 8.8 trillion and will account for 10.4% of global GDP in 2019, according to an estimation.

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