“Travel market in south-east Asia is the best vertical to market,” said Thomas G. Tsao, founding general partner of Gobi Partners, an early stage venture capital firm in China. “We heard a lot of skepticism for Pakistan but we heard the same things for China that people still pay cash but we have experienced that and some of the trends are playing in Pakistan and we are confident that learnings from China are applicable here.”
Shazil Mehkri, co-founder & CEO of Sastaticket.pk, said that the funding would help them develop their product further, scale offered services, and potentially launch in another country of the region.
When questioned, Tsao admitted that the industry profit pool play would be a big part of the future for SastaTicket, adding that the primary goal is to establish market dominance in domain expertise.
Mehkri estimates that the travel market in Pakistan is worth $3 billion with only 3% of prospective travellers turning to SastaTicket, a platform that converts only 1% of its monthly one million visitors.
The funding will also be used to deliver efficiencies and an AI model for a recommendation engine, to increase the conversion rate and discoverability of the platform.
Globally, travel sites have used their DMP’s of intent based search to capture value across the segment, offering visitors deals on hotels, tourist attractions, and similar activities.
Airbnb went from offering a place to stay to also offering a managed service in finding a flight and now offers experiences based on the intended location, partnering with local SMB’s, schools, and event planners. The regional business model applies the travel site as a trojan horse to capture data, monetizing on it by retargeting based on other elements of a travel journey.