Robinhood soft launches hotel booking service
Robinhood Travel, a Thai online travel agent platform, has introduced the first phase of its hotel booking service, aiming to become a top three player in the first year of operation.
"Around 16,000 hotels ranging from three- to five-star hotels have already joined the platform as we expect to list 30,000 operators this year and gain 200,000 active customers with transactions for 300,000 trips," said Srihanath Lamsam, managing director of Purple Ventures.
Purple Ventures is a subsidiary of Siam Commercial Bank and the operator of Robinhood, the food delivery platform which currently has more than 2.8 million users.
Robinhood Travel also rolls out a zero gross profit policy and every booking will receive free food delivery service.
After the soft launch this month, the travel platform plans to introduce tour packages and activities as well as a car rental service in June, followed by domestic flights in July.
Mr Srihanath said Robinhood Travel aims to become one of the top three online travel platforms during the first year of operation.
Thana Thienachariya, chairman of Purple Ventures, said existing local customers in the urban upper segment which still have spending power are the key target to spur domestic tourism this year.
According to Robinhood Customer Base 2022, 49% was in the segment with monthly income of no less than 30,000 baht, of which 29% was a wealthy group and 20% were an upper middle group.
Besides domestic tourism, the country still needs international arrivals to fulfill tourism supply.
"Thailand is heavily reliant on the export and tourism sectors. While exports have resumed, tourism cannot stay afloat. It's important to take things back to normal to increase competitiveness," Mr Thana said.
He said the normal situation means there should be fewer travel restrictions by dropping Thailand Pass and forgoing masks outdoors.
He said the platform will also develop services for outbound tourism to destinations like Japan, South Korea and Singapore in the next 1-2 years.
With an aim to build Robinhood as a super app, online groceries will be implemented by July.
Express delivery and ride-hailing services should be ready for launch in the third and final quarters this year, respectively.
Mr Thana said the food delivery service remains a loss leader, but this strategy can help build a customer base which will help the travel platform break even.
However, other services like marts, parcel delivery, ride hailing, lending and advertising should help gain profits in the next stage.