Grab expands super app ambitions into hotel bookings, event tickets

Agoda's Jasmin Kossmann; HOOQ's Vishal Dembla; Grab's Jerald Singh; and BookMyShow's Kenneth Tan at the media launch yesterday

No longer content to be just a ride-hailing and food delivery app, Singapore-based Grab has unveiled its ambitions to become a bigger, better super app with the introduction of four new services – hotel booking, daily trip planning, purchasing of tickets and on-demand streaming – direct from its Grab app.

The four new tiles on the Grab app – named Hotels, Trip Planner, Tickets and Video respectively – will be progressively rolled out in Singapore from today, and will be available to all users in June this year.

Agoda’s Jasmin Kossmann; HOOQ’s Vishal Dembla; Grab’s Jerald Singh; and BookMyShow’s Kenneth Tan at the media launch yesterday

Jerald Singh, Grab’s group head of product and design, shared at a media briefing yesterday that outbound travel spend for South-east Asia is expected to hit US$115.9 billion in 2028. With Singapore residents among the most well-travelled in South-east Asia, foraying into accommodation booking is a logical next step for the company.

With the Hotels booking service, Grab users will be able book accommodation from Agoda and Booking.com through the Grab app. Grab users will benefit from exclusive hotel offers, as well as preferential rates for Platinum users, and be able to redeem vouchers to obtain discounts. Free insurance coverage, transport discounts and other benefits and features are also in the pipeline, and will be rolled out soon.

Currently, the Hotels tile is only available to select Grab users, but it will be rolled out to all users next month (May). And while Booking.com has confirmed its partnership with Grab, the integration will only be complete later this year. This Hotels service will be available in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Next, the Trip Planner service will enable Grab users to plan their transit journey with the help of public transportation and end-to-end directions. Available now in select cities of Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta and Klang Valley, the app will offer real-time schedules and statuses in the event of delays or service disruptions. The app will of course, offer the Grab modes of transportation as well.

When asked if public transport fares can be paid with GrabPay (Grab’s payment solution), Singh noted that it is something the company is working on, and plans to roll it out in the near future.

After which, Grab’s Tickets purchasing service will go live in June 2019 in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, in partnership with BookMyShow, an India-headquartered ticketing platform.

The initial launch will allow Grab app users to book movie tickets at Carnival Cinemas and Cathay Cineplexes, but Kenneth Tan, the company’s CEO & head of product South-east Asia, revealed that eventually BookMyShow will move beyond cinema tickets and offer concerts and musicals as well.

Unlike other online ticketing services in the current marketplace, users don’t have to create a new account and will be able to pay seamlessly with GrabPay, while earning GrabRewards points with every transaction.

Grab has also partnered with HOOQ – a video-on-demand service born in Asia – to allow users to stream online video content while on their commute.

Starting in May 2019, all Grab users in Singapore get to enjoy two months of free HOOQ content when they subscribe via their Grab app, and will enjoy a discounted rate of S$7.98 (US$5.90)/month thereafter, payable with GrabPay. Currently available in Indonesia, the video streaming service will also be rolled out to Thailand and the Philippines later this year.

Singh commented: “It is through partnerships that we have become the only true regional super app with multiple services in multiple markets. Last year we announced GrabPlatform to supercharge our partnerships strategy, and we believe that it has become a true differentiator in the region. It enables us to expand into new verticals quicker than we can on our own, at the same time empowers our partners to scale their business with our reach and assets.

“With more than 500 GrabPlatform partners by the end of the year, we’re building an ecosystem that will truly be a force to be reckoned with, an ecosystem that value-adds and serves everyone on our platform, be it drivers, merchants, users or partners,” concluded Singh.

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