Klarna, the global retail bank, payment and purchasing service, can now add “travel agent” to that list.
The company announced Friday that it has acquired Inspirock, an online trip planner that uses artificial intelligence and local expertise to enable Klarna’s 90 million users to quickly and easily browse a destination’s offerings and create personalized itineraries. The finanacial terms of the contract were not disclosed.
East Palo Alto-based Inspirock was founded in 2012 by CEO Anoop Goyal and Prakash Sikchi. More than 25 million travelers use Inspirock annually to plan trips based on their interests or find new places to visit.
It raised $ 3 million in venture capital funding in 2015, led by investor MakeMyTrip, one of the largest travel booking sites in India. David Sandstrom, Klarna’s chief marketing officer, told TechCrunch that the entire Inspirock team is joining Klarna.
“Our goal at Inspirock has been to make trip planning quick, fun and easy,” Goyal said in a written statement. “Together we can fulfill Klarna’s ambitions to bring a seamless shopping experience to the travel space in an innovative way. Together, Klarna and Inspirock can provide great inspiration, tools and shopping experiences, making trip planning as fun as the trip itself. “
It’s been a busy year for Klarna, which is valued at $ 45.6 billion – this is the company’s fifth acquisition this year and follows three acquisitions over the summer of Apprl, Stocard, and HERO, as well as Toplooks.ai in early 2018. this year.
The acquisition strategy so far was to enable content creation at scale, Sandstrom said. He’s optimistic about ways to move toward inspiration, curation, and social shopping, which are key to what Klarna is doing. Sandstrom believes that e-commerce has gone from being a lonely, transactional experience to one that adds excitement.
“The next generation of e-commerce for me will be the social aspect, where we connect with our peers and can drill down to reviews and engage with key opinion leaders,” he added. “We have made massive investments in content creation and preservation, which will allow our entire customer base to create content.”
Although it may seem strange for a company like Klarna to enter the travel business, Sandstrom says the acquisition of Inspirock is his company’s way of solving another problem for its consumers.
In this case, after booking flights and hotels, help plan what the consumer will actually do on that vacation. And, by providing them with a way to purchase tickets for events and attractions through the Buy Now, Pay After Klarna service. The Inspirock integration also provides the opportunity to connect Klarna’s 250,000 retail partners with travelers who can visit their respective areas.
About 66% of travel bookings globally are already made online, with that number expected to rise to 72% by 2025 as the global market for online travel agents itself is set to hit $ 833.5 billion by that year.
Klarna’s own research shows that an average of 21% of people worldwide place travel at the top of their list for the categories they plan to splurge on in 2021.
“Forty-two percent of people say they are frustrated planning their trips,” Sandstrom said. “There are already incredible sites to book airlines and hotels, and we are not going to get into that. What we are doing is connecting local retailers and merchants to that travel planning experience so that consumers can more easily plan what they want to do while visiting and really experience a city. “