Rakuten is a known name in Japan, it not only runs the biggest ecommerce website of the country, but also, the brand is responsible for one of the leading online travel agencies with a booking record of over 3.8 million hotel nights every month.
Well, the brand now has one more thing under the kitty. Rakuten has just acquired the tour-planning startup Voyagin. The financial terms are still not clear, however, the co-founders of Voyagin, Masashi Takahashi and Tushar Khandelwal commented that the deal has taken place in a cash-only form and Rakuten now owns more than 50% stake in the company.
After the launch in late 2012, Voyagin has been doing pretty well. As of today, the website has over 1800 activities and it has already helped over 30,000 travelers. The main markets for Voyagin are Tokyo, Kyoto, Okinawa, and Bali, however, the online website is eyeing expansion in rest of south east asia and china.
The deal with Voyagin will allow Rakuten to offer more travel related services to the customers, since it already has the travelers database and most of them are the domestic travelers. Voyagin will use the funds to strengthen the 13 member team with more menpower in engineering, sales and operations teams.
Voyagin will remain a seperate platform, however, the co-founder said that they are exploring the possibilities to use all the Rakuten portals to create the best available solution.
“Rakuten is already the top OTA [online travel agency] in Japan, but it wants to cover all fields of being an OTA. It already offers flights and hotels, and Voyagin allows them to cover the last mile of this space,” says Khandelwal. “Rakuten is also interested in expanding its OTA in Asia. We’ve already started on our journey of becoming an Asian-based platform for tours and activities, so we can help them branch out.”