Booking.com, one of the world's leading digital travel platforms, launches its on-demand ride-hailing service in partnership with Grab, giving Booking.com app users access to the largest fleet of drivers across 8 countries in Southeast Asia on Tuesday. Marking the company's ride-hailing debut, this move will connect international travellers visiting Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines with local on-demand rides through an app they already know and trust. It removes the language and currency barriers that can stop many visitors using local transport providers.
As the region's leading provider of ride-hailing services, Grab is also the creator of Southeast Asia's foremost super app. Booking.com, with its unique understanding of travellers and their needs, has long been an integral part of many visitors' experiences in Southeast Asia. This initiative combines the strengths of two market-leading travel tech companies and marks the first time Grab has worked with a Western global digital travel brand to build a native experience.
Already, each company is known for empowering customers through innovative, mobile-first technology. 130 million visitors travel to Southeast Asia every year, and Booking.com and Grab coming together will provide them with the tools they need to travel like a local:
- Access to millions of Grab drivers, giving international travellers unprecedented access to safe, affordable and comfortable transport options across Southeast Asia
- In-app, cashless payments in user's currency, delivering greater security and confidence, while removing the worry and expense of haggling, language difficulties and currency conversion
- Customer services in the user's language, so they know what to expect and are able to resolve any issues that may arise
- All-in-one functionality – a single app that provides complete control over accommodation and travel, meaning no need to download unfamiliar apps
- Speed and reliability, so each traveller spends less time researching and organising their trip, and more time enjoying it
- Safety – travellers can relax, knowing that all Grab driver-partners are registered and undergo stringent background checks
Booking.com app users will be able to access Grab services in Singapore from today, in Indonesia and Thailand by the end of the year, and in Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippines by early 2020.
70% of the world's ride-hailing activity takes place in Asia as a whole – and Southeast Asia, with its love of mobile technology, is the obvious arena in which to take on the challenge of ride-hailing. Wi-Fi networks are already pretty much ubiquitous in the region, and smartphone usage is predicted to triple before 2021 is out.
"It's an exciting time, as people discover new ways to explore the world around them," said Bryan Batista, Chief Executive Officer of Booking.com's transport division. "Like Grab, we're delighted to be pushing the boundaries, combining our unique strengths to deliver added value and bring travellers real, tangible benefits.
"Our mission is as simple as it is ambitious: we're making it easier for everyone to experience the world. Looking ahead, we'll continue to test and develop innovative products. By placing intuitive technology in our customers' hands, we're giving them the freedom to explore – with greater choice and personalisation than ever before."
"Grab's core mission since day one has been to make it safer, easier and more affordable for anyone to get from point A to point B in Southeast Asia," said Mark Porter, Chief Technology Officer for Transport, Mobility, and Core Technology at Grab. "Today millions of Southeast Asians rely on us every day to get to work, home and play. We're very happy to work with Booking.com to give international travellers the ability to explore this beautiful region more freely and with greater peace of mind. Booking.com has been a fantastic partner, and we're excited to continue working with them to build even better travel experiences through technology."
The integration of Grab's ride-hailing services into the Booking.com app is part of a broader strategic partnership between Booking Holdings and Grab. Booking Holdings is an investor in Grab, and Grab has introduced hotel bookings directly through its app, in partnership with Agoda and Booking.com.
Utilising its unique scale and experience, Booking.com is partnering with transport providers all around the world to give travellers intuitive access to the relevant, personalised transport options they're looking for. Already, people can pre-book taxis in over 120 countries, and rental cars in over 160. And, through an ongoing pilot scheme, travellers can buy and use public-transport tickets in six European and Australian cities, all through their Booking.com app.
Booking.com's all-encompassing ambition is to connect the trip: giving travellers a single platform they can use to book, pay for and manage every element of every trip, from accommodation and transport to experiences and attractions.