Market Trend

5 Asia Startups Unlocking New Travel Experiences

Jinsoo Choi
June 20, 2024

How are you planning your summer vacation? I hope you are skimming through travel apps and planning your dream furlough.

Asian countries have lots to offer, from enchanting oceans to mystical forests and exotic cities. Unsurprisingly, there are multiple Asia travel startups with exceptional services and growth. From curated experiences to unique offerings, the startups in today’s letter are changing the travel industry landscape. These companies also overcame the unprecedented hardships of COVID-19, which makes them even more noteworthy.

MyRealTrip: The Super Travel App of South Korea

Source : MyRealTrip

MyRealTrip is a battle-hardened travel startup that has overcome hardships over the past ten years.

Donggun Lee, founder and CEO of the company, discovered that the conventional travel agency system limited customers’ choice of travel and imposed unnecessary middle-man fees.

MyRealTrip positioned itself as a ‘direct connector’ between local guides and travelers. This led to travel guides’ efforts to upgrade their travel programs and provide customers with a more comprehensive range of choices. The CEO also recruited highly qualified travel guides worldwide by deep-diving into travel communities.

Source : TechCrunch

MyRealTrip’s exceptional customer-centric perspective was also the main reason for the company’s survival during the pandemic. Since 99% of sales relied on overseas travel at the time, the startup was forced into a situation of ‘go bold or go home.’

MyRealTrip took the second option and focused on the 1% local travel. The voyage agency applied a ‘cross-sell’ strategy, providing a data-backed package of lodging, tourism, and activities. This made MyRealTrip the new leader in South Korea’s travel industry.

MyRealTrip looks forward to enhancing the customer experience with AI and creating travel products for K-POP fans and digital nomads. The company plans to launch its initial public offering in 2026.

Klook: The Master of Over-Localization

Source : Klook

Since 2014, Klook has aimed to become a ‘glocal(global+local)’ startup by meticulously designing seamless travel experiences.

With Klook, travelers do not have to worry about trivial but essential things such as local Wi-Fi and tickets for popular amusement locations. The founders discovered that the ‘segmentation’ of steps hindered customers’ fluent voyage. The Klook team diligently and patiently knocked on every travel program provider’s doors. 

“The need to communicate with a broader array of suppliers to form direct partnerships was challenging. However, partnering directly with suppliers brought a longer-term competitive advantage, including better prices, seamless integration for better user experience, and higher supplier efficiency.” _ Eric Gnock Far President & Co-founder, Heather Lo Interview, 2017.12

Klook also stepped up its localization game to a new level. The company swiftly integrated the latest payment options, varied websites and apps for each country, and regularly visited countries to upgrade face-to-face interaction. Klook recently announced it would localize further by applying vast data to artificial intelligence bots. 

Staying On Top Of Payments with Klook: Localizing beyond language - Adyen
Source : Adyen

The Hong Kong travel startup recently acquired a 210 million USD Series E+ investment. Klook C-Levels announced that the company will use the fund in three future core categories: Klook city-pass (activity package product), Klook Kreators program, and AI innovations.

(Refer to : The Insider Secrets & Story of Hong Kong Travel Startup Klook Discovered)

Anyplace: Travel Service Specifically for Free-Roaming Workers

Source : TechCrunch

The unprecedented global pandemic sparked a new form of working: digital nomads traveling worldwide while staying connected to their careers.

These people have different needs from ordinary travelers, such as a steady network connection and a space where the nomads can focus on working remotely. Anyplace discovered this niche opportunity and has provided a fully equipped lodging service since 2017. It's a literal Airbnb for workers, so to speak.

Source : Anyplace
Source : Anyplace Corporate Housing

Anyplace started as a marketplace platform for hotels, rentals, and workers traveling abroad who were willing to stay more than 30 days. Now, the Japanese company operates in over sixty nations.

The most significant merit for users of Anyplace is that they do not have to worry about anything. Anyplace’s space provides an entire suite of office equipment, from monitors and keyboards to webcams, laptop stands, adjustable desks, etc. The lodging also includes various amenities like a laundry area and balcony, depending on location.

As of early 2024, Anyplace operates more than 100 units in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and New York. The annual occupancy is maintained between 80% and 85%, which is remarkable. Instead of fast expansion, Anyplace plans to gradually increase its locations while maintaining its signature, nomad-optimized experience.

(Refer to : Anyplace wants to make flexible-term housing as easy to book as hotels | PhocusWire )

Luxstay: The Shark Tank Prodige is Coming Back From the Downfall

Source : Top Digital Agency

Luxstay is a home-sharing / travel platform more well-known as Airbnb Vietnam.

The platform was founded by Steven Ngyuen, an ex-ad tech startup leader, in 2016. Steven witnessed the success of other Asian counterparts like Grab, Gojek, and Traveloka. This phenomenon deeply inspired him, and he applied it to the Vietnamese Shark Tank program. Luxstay raised 6 million USD worth of investment, the biggest in the startup show’s history.

The key to Luxstay's exceptional growth was specializing in national travel demands.

Unlike other travel businesses, Luxstay focused on Vietnam for quite a while. The company diversified its options, which are hard to find in Airbnb and other competitors. Luxstay also focused on providing on-hand customer responses, operating 24/7. Based on these factors, Luxstay raised several major investments, including 4.5 million USD from South Korea.

Source : The Thao 247

After the COVID, however, Luxstay had to endure years of hardships. Mobile applications stopped operations, and numerous complaints were filed against the Vietnamese startup. After three or four years, Luxstay reopened its website with a completely different service model. The founder announced that the company looks forward to pivoting its business. 

Although the future is uncertain, Luxstay’s accumulated experience and data of operating a local-specialized home-sharing service is more than valuable. With the resurgence of the travel industry and an increase in Vietnamese government support, Luxstay is likely to step up once more as an advanced travel service.

(Refer to : Luxstay, the Vietnamese startup that wants to take on Airbnb: Startup Stories | KrASIA )

Tripfez: Because Voyage of Muslims Matters

Source : Digital News Asia

Tripfez is a Malaysian startup targeting a unique market: Muslim travelers worldwide. Muslims have several more details to consider, such as occasional prayers and taking Halal meals. Because of this, people with Islam religion have a hard time planning their overseas travel. This is where Tripfez comes in, providing a Muslim-centered, hassle-free service package.

The startup has its Muslim hospitality criteria, known as Salam Standards. The document encompasses Muslim travelers’ major inconveniences, necessary tools, and guidelines for providing the best travel experience. Tripfez’s standard is now a global standard for a Muslim-friendly voyage. Along with this deep-dive research into Muslims' needs, Tripfez is also expanding its area of specialties into travel-related services like flights and itineraries.

Source : Tripfez

“It is a very tedious and lengthy process to develop the Muslim travel market globally. But by helping people to fulfill their needs during holidays, which is usually the best time of the year it is a very rewarding task for us.” _ Faeez Fadhlillah CEO  & Co-Founder, Inspire Magazine, 2016.6

With a dedicated mission of improving Muslim travelers’ experience, Tripfez is developing new services, including an organized group pilgrimage to sacred locations. Tripfez’s case proves that the opportunity to discover untouched needs and develop them into a new service always exists. 

(Refer to : Tackling underserved markets with Muslim travel startup Tripfez at Echelon Malaysia 2017 )

Written by Jinsoo Choi


*Read the other articles and delve into the landscape of rising startups in the Asia region!

AI Powerhouses of Southeast Asia: 5 Horsemen of Change

10 AI startups to spotlight in Asia

10 Fintech Startups to Spotlight in Asia‍

10 Biotech Startups to Spotlight in Asia

10 ESG startups to spotlight in Asia


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Jinsoo Choi
I am a freelance editor with an exceptional interest in branding, fashion, marketing, the media industry, and cultural events. I'm also capable of deep-diving areas with zero experience, interviewing people with a focus on an individual's genuine passion and story. I aim to become an editor who can provide insights for South Korean and international readers.