Travel & Mobility Tech Newsletter

Dear Readers

No lengthy intro today. Let's jump right into what you need to know about Travel & Mobility Tech this week to convince your colleagues that you are the smartest person in the room. Enjoy.

Lennart Dobravsky
Director Trend & Market Intelligence

Airline Radar

The Airline Digital Index (ADiX)

We want travel providers to fully leverage digital means to make travel better.

The Airline Digital Index (ADiX) measures digitalization in order to establish progress in the field amongst major airlines. Check out all previously published metrics below: 

We publish these results in an attempt to drive forward the development of the entire aviation industry towards a more digital future. As the world's largest aviation group, we interpret Lufthansa's role as pivotal in shaping industry-wide digital innovation to create a more seamless traveler journey. 

We strive to do this in an honest, objective and transparent manner, calling out digital weaknesses where we see them and awarding best practices to inspire all others (incl. Lufthansa's competitors). Therefore, we publish ADiX metrics whether our parent company scores high or low. 

Continuing our mission, find the next metric below. 


Definition: Avg. daily active app users divided by avg. monthly active users (2018) 

The metric this week measures the "app stickiness" of an airline – in other words, how many of its monthly users actually use the app on a daily basis. 

Results have been normalized between airlines, making the most "sticky" app the benchmark for all others. Scoring a "1" in the ranking doesn't mean that the number of daily active users equals the number of monthly active users. It just means that this airline has the highest ratio. 
The relation between daily active users and monthly active users is a measure of the engagement with the app. In the airline context, it can even be interpreted as a signal for the frequency of travel amongst passengers. 

Congratulation to our parent company Lufthansa as well as Latam and KLM for topping the ranking this week. 

What can we learn from "app stickiness"?  

Digital engagement is important to airlines, firstly because it means travelers interact with one's product and brand and secondly because digital channels allow more seamless connectivity and higher personalization.

Having a high stickiness can be interpreted in different ways:

Firstly, it could simply be taken as an indicator of how many (very) frequent travelers a given airline has – amongst those that use the app. Having a high proportion of frequent travelers could be traced back to the fact that an airline services more business travelers, who generally travel more frequently. 

Secondly, high stickiness is a measure of app retention. Lower stickiness implies that more users have used the app, but then stop using it on a regular basis. As a result, higher stickiness signals that users are returning to the app more often rather than using other digital channels or other airlines. 

We favor an interpretation that combines both arguments, interpreting that the pioneers in this metric both have more frequent travelers and higher app retention. 
Disclaimer: One might wonder why the LCCs, often regarded to have superior mobile apps, are not present in the ranking. A possible answer is that these apps have a much higher Monthly Active User base (MAU), which makes it more challenging to have a high stickiness as defined above.
Startup Radar

Virtual Interlining Startup Kiwi Scores Exit

More than a year ago, we profiled travel-tech startup – an online flight booking platform that invented the concept of “Virtual Interlining”. By combining flight segments from low-cost carriers with ones on traditional airlines where no official interline agreement exists (think Easyjet partway to your destination and Lufthansa the last leg), Kiwi has been able to disrupt traditional airline networking by offering new routes at unbeatable ticket prices.

Price-conscious travelers rapidly jumped on board and turned Kiwi into one of the fastest growing travel-booking sites. Kiwi’s website attracted almost 20 million visitors during the past 12 weeks alone according to data firm Similarweb, which aggregates desktop and mobile web traffic (not including Kiwi’s apps).

Even more impressive: on average, Kiwi's website visitors returned more often, visited way more pages and less often navigated away from the site after viewing only one page (bounce rate) in comparison to selected low-cost carriers and major OTAs, see here: 

After months of back-and-forth talks regarding a significant Venture Capital funding round, travel media outlet Skift broke the news on Monday that Kiwi got acquired by U.S. private-equity firm General Atlantic via an investment in the range of $125 million.

With its pockets filled, Kiwi and the niche market of virtual interlining could soon appear on the global stage.

 Read the full article on Skift
Trend Radar

Investors' Crush on Hospitality Startups

2019 so far has been a particularly hot year for investments in hospitality startups. In the first five months of the year, we have seen a total of $1.8 billion allocated to alternative lodging, property management software, and boutique hotel startups to name a few specific use cases within the space. April has been particularly busy, featuring 80% of hospitality deals above $50 million this year.

The largest VC deal came from India's OYO Rooms which raised a mindblowing $1.1 billion Series E round in March, followed by Sonder Hospitality which became Travel & Mobility Tech's 39 unicorn via their recent 200M round.

See the 10 biggest VC deals in Hospitality of 2019 below:
Even though not among the ten major deals of 2019, there is also a highly promising German hospitality provider that has become a traveler's favorite especially among European tourists.

Backed by hotel group Accor – which increased its equity share to 50% this week – 25 Hours hotels has become one of the leading boutique hotel chains in Europe, offering a stylish hotel experience with a very personal and unique touch.   

We sat down with Christoph Hoffmann, Founder and CEO of 25hours to learn more about his take on the travel industry and the way digital means have changed his way of traveling the world.
 Read the full interview on Medium
Web Radar

We saw this post on Twitter by Skift's tech analyst Seth Borko. If you ever questioned China's dominant role in international travel, watch this illustration by clicking on the image.

No wonder, all eyes are on Asia’s online travel ecosystem these days as startups cater to rapidly growing traveler herds and continue to gain investor attention while platforms and super apps widen their appeal inside and outside the region.

At the Phocuswright Europe conference, a panel of investors shared what specifically they have their eyes on, as well as how the development of super apps in the region is impacting travel. If you're an investor, this is a must watch!

 Watch the full investor panel on Phocuswire
Press Radar

Our Recommended Must Reads 

CTRIP BUILDS SOCIAL MEDIA BOOKING PLATFORM  Chinese travel giant Ctrip is finding success with its strategy to create an Instagram-style content platform within its mobile app. Since its launch in December, the new “Trip Moments” product has exceeded one million daily active users, and 70% of those users are under 30 years old. 
 Read more in WiT
AIRBNB IMPACTS HOTEL PRICING – Among hotels’ concerns is how Airbnb impacts their pricing and distribution strategies. A study assesses Airbnb's flexible-capacity vs. the fixed-capacity lodging industry to uncover how the sharing economy has changed the way the hospitality industry accommodates demand fluctuations and how traditional hotels should respond.
 Read more in PhocusWire
PLANES VS. TRAINS – Norway aims to replace fuel-guzzling passenger jets with electric planes on all domestic flights by 2040 as part of its drive to fight climate change. By switching to electric planes, "emissions can be eliminated while emissions from expensive and extensive infrastructure projects such as tunnels and bridges will be reduced." 
 Read more in dezeen
Funding Radar

Most Recent Venture Capital Deals

 = Exit Alert (Startup listed at stock exchange or acquired)
 = Unicorn Alert (post-deal company valuation at >$1B) 

 Travelport – a UK-based distribution system operator was acquired by Evergreen Coast Capital and Siris Capital for $4.4B. 

 Didi –
a Chinese provider of a mobile ride-hailing application designed to match customers with local drivers in China raised $550M in funding from Toyota Motor Corp.
 SpaceX –
a US-based designer and manufacturer of aerospace and space transport services raised $535.7M in funding from FoundersX Ventures and Gigafund. 

 Mafengwo – a Chinese provider of an online tourism platform intended to serve as a travel guide to users raised $250M in funding from Tencent Holding, General Atlantic, and other investors. – a Czech-based developer of an online travel booking platform designed to book cheap flights for holidays was acquired by General Atlantic for $126.4M. 

 Trainline – a UK-based provider of rail and coach ticket booking platform raised $97.8M in funding from an IPO. – a UK-based developer of an AI decision-making platform raised $24M in funding from Tencent Holdings, SGInnovate, and other investors. 

Revenue Analytics – a US-based developer of an enterprise platform intended to make big decisions in pricing, products, and promotions raised $11M in funding from Noro-Moseley Partners and Blue Lagoon Capital. 

Mindsay – a French developer of a travel assisting application designed to provide assistance while on a holiday trip raised $10M in funding from White Star Capital, Aéroports de Paris and other investors. 

Fabhotels – an Indian operator of an online hotel portal designed to provide budget hotels in India raised $7.7M in funding from Goldman Sachs. 

Gokada – a Nigerian ride-hail startup raised $5.3M in funding from Rise Capital Adventure Capital, and other investors. 

Luxstay – a Singapore-based operator of a short-term property rental platform intended to provide luxury accommodations raised $4.5M in funding from GS Shop and Bon Angels. 

Ride Report – a US-based developer of a smart mobile unlocking application for mircromobility designed to maintain mobile privacy raised $3.4M in funding from Homebrew, Urban Innovation, and Better Ventures. 

Airfree – a French developer of an enterprise platform intended to provide a seamless in-flight e/m-commerce experience raised $2.3M in funding from Shiseido Company, Starburst Aerospace, and other disclosed investors. 

Anyplace – a US-based provider of an online marketplace intended to offer flexible-term furnished rooms and apartments raised $2.5M in funding from UpHonest Capital, East Ventures, and FundersClub. 

Airblack – an Indian company to connect customers with a network of travel influencers through WhatsApp and Instagram raised $1.5M in funding from SAIF Partners. 

Shoot My Travel – a US-based developer of a vacation photography platform designed to pair travelers with local professional photographers raised $1.1M in funding from Launch fund and Ludlow Ventures. 

Vntrip – a Vietnam based operator of an online hotel booking portal raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Jubilee Capital Management. 

Travelstart – a South African provider of an online travel booking platform designed to book flights, car rentals and hotels in Cape Town raised an undisclosed amount from HarbourVest Partners. 

Travel Management Company – a US-based operator of a full-service jet charter operation was acquired by Wheels Up for an undisclosed amount. 

Enchanting Travels – a US-based operator of a customized travel group was acquired by Travelopia for an undisclosed amount. 

AreaVan – a Spanish provider of a rental platform for motor-homes and campers was acquired by Yescapa for an undisclosed amount. 

Away Resorts – a UK-based operator of a chain of holiday resorts and parks in the United Kingdom was acquired by Bregal Freshstream for an undisclosed amount.

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