Booking.com has partnered with Southeast Asian ride hailing app Grab to offer its app users access to the firm’s fleet of drivers across eight countries in the region.
The move is Booking’s first foray into the ride-hailing sector and will connect international travellers visiting Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines with local on-demand rides.
The OTA said the tie-up removes the language and currency barriers that can stop many visitors using local transport providers.
Bryan Batista, chief executive of Booking.com’s transport division, said: “It’s an exciting time, as people discover new ways to explore the world around them.
“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 personalization than ever before.”
Mark Porter, chief technology officer for transport, mobility, and core technology at Grab, added: “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.
“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 travelers 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.”
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.
The firms said the 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”.
The integration of Grab’s ride-hailing services into the Booking.com app is part of a 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.
Booking.com said: “Utilizing its unique scale and experience, Booking.com is partnering with transport providers all around the world to give travellers intuitive access to the relevant, personalized 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, travelers 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 travelers 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.”