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TechTrade Asia: GlobalTix launches major platform upgrade, shares Asian expansion strategy

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Guest of Honour Quek Choon Yang, CTO, Singapore Tourism Board, launches the revamped GlobalTix platform.

 

– Single marketplace for merchants and travel partners

– Enables travellers to use a single ticket for all their travel needs

– US$2 million series A funding

 

GlobalTix has officially launched version 2.1 of its travel e-commerce platform, an e-ticketing marketplace that links travel stakeholders on a common, cloud-based marketplace. The B2B2C platform empowers stakeholders such as travel agents and tourist attractions by taking care of the complexities of cloud-based commerce, allowing companies to focus on differentiating themselves.

 

GlobalTix replaces physical tickets, the traditional form of distribution and identification for admission to attractions, earning revenue through charging transaction fees. With GlobalTix, attractions and food and beverage (F&B) outlets have an instant e-commerce avenue to distribute e-tickets efficiently, while agencies can customise offerings to cater to the demands of the modern traveller.

 

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Chan Chee Chong explains the GlobalTix advantage at the launch of GlobalTix version 2.1.

Chan Chee Chong, GlobalTix’s Co-Founder and CEO, explained that paper tickets can be manpower-intensive compared to e-tickets. Someone may have to go the an attraction in person to buy physical tickets for a travel agency, and that agency’s finance department has to ensure that the ticket quantities tally with the amounts spent, monitor the inventory and ensure that the correct tickets have been disbursed to customers. “There are a number of staff involved. These are real costs,” he said. “Using this system really improves your productivity. Now finance can click a button and (obtain itemised records).

 

At the same time, travellers are now doing research online and influenced by social media, he said. “It is an invisible traveller – they’re booking online and you don’t even see the customer…Today we need to engage our customers online and pre-sell if possible. We need to create packages, unique experiences for each customer…We need to embark on this journey or else we will be left behind.”

 

Skyline Luge is touching customers but not using my branding. We are more like the Intel (chips in) PCs…Apart from providing a common distribution platform, the partner (travel agency) also benefits by having to visit only one website instead of multiple websites to put together customised and innovative packages for customers – the tourist. This enhances the partner’s value-add to his customers, and best of all, the tourist has to only hold on to one e-ticket for all his travel needs.”

 

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Chan (left) with GlobalTix Co-Founder Chan Chee Kong (right), who is Chan’s brother and COO.

The company worked with software consultancy Leo Tech to upgrade its platform after experiencing an ‘explosion’ in customers nine months after it launched. GlobalTix currently hosts 70+ major attractions and more than 200 travel partners today. GlobalTix has already signed merchants such as Universal Studios Singapore, Wildlife Reserves Group, Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Airlines in addition to set meals from chicken rice specialist Boon Tong Kee, and rides from Skyline Luge. While travellers do not get direct access to the platform, they can sites like Nam Ho Travel, which is powered by GlobalTix, to create versatile personalised itineraries.

 

“We needed an enterprise-grade platform that could scale,” said Chan. “It supports multiple countries and (currencies).”

 

The electronic form of tickets enables sales and visitor behaviour data to be captured, enabling more insights through data analytics. The data, which includes average number of redemptions and the time of the visits, is reviewed quarterly by GlobalTix to surface new trends that can be translated into more tailored offerings. Customers have access to the data as well.

 

Singapore Airlines’ Explorer Pass, a city pass allowing visits to a number of attractions for a single price, is a success story for effective data analytics. The Singapore Explorer Pass allows one-time access to more than 20 Singapore attractions and benefits over one to three days.

 

“Singapore Airlines was using paper vouchers. It was a finance nightmare to consolidate them. They could not track data,” Chan said. “We can track individual travellers, where you go, what time you (arrive). All these are being captured so they can develop targeted passes.”

 

The Explorer Pass began as a generic city pass when it was initially launched with GlobalTix. After monitoring visitor trends, it was found that Chinese tourists, who typically prefer shopping to visiting nature attractions, tended to visit Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.

 

“That’s why Singapore Airlines put Gardens by the Bay into the system,” Chan shared. “Once you have data there are many things you can do.”

 

Another insight was that tourists from different countries differ in the number of attractions they go to. This allowed the airline to tailor pricing for city passes in different countries. Explorer Passes for Chinese tourists are priced to reflect the fact that they tend to visit many more attractions, for example.

 

Chan also revealed that tourists tend to go on a river cruise before they visit the Singapore Flyer. This means that focusing the Flyer marketing budget near the river cruise outlets is more effective, he explained.

 

The GlobalTix system was upgraded with support from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) under its Business Improvement Fund (BIF). “STB welcomes businesses with innovative ideas that raise Singapore’s destination appeal. GlobalTix’s e-ticketing service is one such example as it adds convenience for tourism businesses, while enabling visitors to access tourism offerings more easily in Singapore. We hope to see more businesses continuing to innovate and deliver efficiencies so that our overall visitor experience can be further enhanced,” said Choo Huei Miin, Director, Visitor Experience, STB.

 

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Standee providing a snapshot of GlobalTix’s unique selling points.

“More and more countries are using technology to drive productivity and innovation, particularly in Singapore where we have severe manpower constraints,” Guest of Honour Quek Choon Yang, CTO, Singapore Tourism Board said, calling GlobalTix a good exmaple of the outcomes that STB seeks. “We must change how we sell and market ourselves so the rest of the world.”

 

GlobalTix’s ticketing value has grown five times since 2014 to reach S$45 million to S$50 million annually, catching the attention of investors. GlobalTix successfully raised US$2 million series A funding in August 2016, anchored by investor Tan Chin Hwee who invested on behalf of Mount Sinai Capital. “We strongly support home-grown Singaporean entrepreneurs and believe that GlobalTix has the makings of a global leader in its ability to transform the tourism industry,” said Tan.

 

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The kiosk which GlobalTix plans to introduce to hotels and malls. Created together with NEC, GlobalTix expects to have the kiosk appear in hotels, shopping malls and convenience stores.

GlobalTix plans to venture into about 20 cities around the region in the next two to three years, growing e-ticketing revenues ten times over the same period. Chan observed that Singapore is more advanced technologically than many other Asian countries, giving his company a first-mover advantage when expanding elsewhere in Asia.

 

“It was a choice – whether we want to grow organically or raise funds and hit 10 cities at a go,” Chan said. “The founders discussed it and decided speed is everything.”

 

Chan added that targeted destinations are typically popular tourist destinations and close to Singapore. “Thailand is a huge market with close to 25 million visitors,” he said. “Indonesia is huge as well.”

 

GlobalTix also has a presence in the Philippines, while Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur are on the books.

 

 

by Joy Tang (TechTrade Asia)

 

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