Report: Travel activity platform GetYourGuide raised €500M led by SoftBank at €1.6B valuation

The success of Airbnb — and observations of its acquisitiveness as it continues to scale — has led to a surge of interest among investors in other fast-growing startups in the travel sector. Just last week, Selina, which runs a network of hostel-style work/live accommodations around the world for digital nomads, raised of $100 million at an $850 million valuation. Other recent fundings in the travel sector have included another travel activities platform, Klook, raising $200 million; AI-based travel platform Hopper raising $100 million; and TripActions raising $154 million.

The growth of all these has also helped to build a market and consumer demand for digital-first, new takes on travel services.

“The major trend here is that it’s not the same tourists than the tourists that you had 10 to 20 years ago,” GetYourGuide’s CEO and co-founder Johannes Reck told TechCrunch in 2017. “[Then] there were these old school tour operators. Really bad reputation. They would all show you the most touristy parts of town… Now because we have so much content around the activity and customer reviews etc it’s becoming much harder for the tour operators to do a bad job… So essentially we’re in a new age of tour supplier, all of which have really tremendous customer satisfaction.”

But at the same time, Airbnb also represents a competitive threat to the smaller fish.

While Airbnb built itself first as a marketplace for people to list and rent out rooms and homes for casual travel accommodation, in its quest to continue building out its business and grow its revenues per user by having more touchpoints with customers beyond simply providing a link to finding a place to stay, Airbnb has in more recent years expanded into more areas such as business travel and travel-related “experiences” to suggest (and sell) activities to tourists once they are staying in their Airbnbs (and even to those who are resident in cities and just looking for things to do).

GetYouGuide’s advantage up to now has been is that activity booking is currently all that it does, making it less of an afterthought and more of the primary purpose of the platform. One key question is whether this new round of funding will now take it into new directions, or whether that focus will be enough for the next stage of growth.

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