GetYourGuide: €114m funding is “tremendous vote of confidence”

At Arival 360, Johannes Reck says latest GetYourGuide funding round “really speaks volumes about the quality of our market”

Investors are looking years ahead and can see good returns from the tours, activities and experiences market once the Covid crisis ebbs away, as shown by GetYourGuide’s latest funding round.

This saw the online travel agency for experiences raise €114m ($133m) through a convertible note. The round was led by Searchlight Capital, along with the SoftBank Vision Fund, KKR, Battery Ventures and Highland Europe, among others.

GetYourGuide Arival 360 Johannes Reck
“People see experiences as being at the centre of travel when we rebound,” Johannes Reck said

At Arival 360, Johannes Reck, CEO of GetYourGuide, told Douglas Quinby: “I’m really humbled with today and what’s just been so incredible to see is just the fantastic commitment of all employees.

“This year, it’s been a rollercoaster year to say the least, and this is just a tremendous vote of confidence that we have received.

“This is something that really speaks volumes about the quality of our market.

“People do see experiences as being at the centre of travel when we rebound.”

The funding does not affect its valuation of $1bn. The convertible note is expected to be turned into equity in 12 to 18 months.

GetYourGuide layoffs due to change in travel habits, not cashflow

On 14 October, GetYourGuide announced it was laying off one sixth of its staff — 90 people in total. It had previously said it would try to avoid layoffs during the pandemic.

When pressed on this by Quinby, Reck said: “People were incentivised through shares to reduce their salary, which people did to a great extent — really showing their confidence in the company.

“We used Germany’s very generous short-time labour scheme. We radically cut OPEX and we did that for all of 2020. Then by really containing our cash burn and making sure that we preserve the strong cash position.

“The reality though is, coming to the end of 2020, we realised that when tourism will rebound, it will rebound differently. It will not be exactly the same in 2021, like it was in 2019.

“There will be a lot more regional travel and people will be a lot more flexible, it will be more short term.

“So the requirements for company change and with that change we unfortunately needed to make some adjustments to our headcount.”

Travel’s rebound will be slow and local

GetYourGuide is expecting the rebound in travel to occur locally and domestically, and to be slow and gradual.

Travellers will know the market, speak the language but will still need help booking their experiences, as shown by the “boom” GetYourGuide had this summer.

Reck told Quinby that the company saw “incredible growth numbers for domestic travel”.

”It’s been a boom, I would say, on our platform in a way that we’ve never seen before.”

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