Identifying the next billion-dollar Southeast Asian Travel startup: Staydilly.
Tourism in Southeast Asia is a multibillion dollar industry that’s growing at a breakneck speeds. As the region becomes more accessible to international tourists, over 104 million international visitors visited the region in 2015, including 18.7 million coming from mainland China alone.
Recognizing this potential, massive investments into travel and tourism are being made in the region. On 24 July, Grab announced a new investment of US$2.5 billion – just a week before Didi Chuxing, SoftBank, Go-Jek, SEA and Lazada followed suit. Two weeks ago, Indonesian online travel agency Traveloka announced a US$350 million investment from Expedia, East Ventures, Hillhouse Capital Group and JD.com.
According to our analysis of the participants at Techsauce Global Summit 2017, unicorn startup Staydilly, a mystery hotel booking website that searches, compiles and presents the best-priced hotels to users, may very well be the next billion-dollar star. Here are our reasons why we think that Staydilly is the next big startup:
Southeast Asia: A large but fragmented market.
As one of the fastest growing regions in the world, Southeast Asia’s tourism industry is expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 7.26% as it rides the economic success of China and India, the second and third largest economies in the world respectively. According to a report published by Euromonitor International, tourists visiting Southeast Asia spent US$5.4 billion a year on travel bookings alone.
However, fortune favours the bold, and Southeast Asia’s fragmented market comprised of small local players means that the opportunity for a more dominant force to assert its presence and dominate the market – an opportunity that a well-funded and organized company like Staydilly is highly likely to power through.
And compared to global giants like Expedia and Priceline, Stadilly operates from within the region and is in a better position to leverage local partnerships as well as having an intimate understanding of its culture and business practices.
An effective business model.
This advantage is demonstrated by Traveloka’s success to become the biggest online travel agency in Indonesia with a 20% local market share – an achievement that has earned it its status as a Southeast Asian unicorn.
By launching its website in multiple countries across the region simultaneously, Staydilly will be able to analyse where its brand will perform best and therefore focus its efforts in that particular region.
The similarity in overall market value between the four major markets in Southeast Asia (Malaysia at US$1.25 billion, Singapore at US$1.15 billion, Indonesia at US$1.31 billion and Thailand at US$1.27 billion) means that Staydilly’s market valuation won’t differ significantly regardless of the final target market it enters.
In order to avoid competing head-to-head with established online travel agencies, Staydilly plans to focus its attention on building its brand awareness by partnering with organizations and agencies with strong outreach capabilities. This includes its recent partnering with Techsauce Global Summit as its accommodation partner, as well as future plans for other event tie-ins including Echelon Conferences, Comic Con and other major events in the region.
As for funding, Staydilly is looking to VCs in Singapore for its main source of capital and is already in negotiations with several parties who have expressed interest in the business. Its exit strategy: to be acquired by one of the major online travel agencies including Expedia, Priceline or C-Trip.
Promising leadership and employee base.
Headed by its CEO Eu Jin Song, a leader with extensive experience in finance, travel and communications, Staydilly’s strongest suite is its team, which is on par with established MNCs.
Making up the team include: CFO Julian Lim, an ex-auditor with the big-4 audit firms and ex-investment banker who is the currenty owner of the second largest backpacker hotel in Kuala Lumpur; COO Daniel Tay, a serial entrepreneur with experience working with US and Chinese startups dealing with hotels fittings; CIO Sofiane Hemici, ex-CTO at General Electric Transportation in Southeast Asia; and Head of Revenue Cheryl Wong, who worked in a similar capacity at Shangri-la, Genting Hotels and Tune Hotels.
Staydilly is also made up of experienced mid-level employees with experience in hotel management as well as travel agencies both online and traditional.
The effectiveness of the Stadilly staff is demonstrated by its growth, which has seen the startup expand to cover over 400 3-5 star hotel partners in Southeast Asia.