VELTRA IPO Gives Rare Insight on Financials for Online…

The revenue of the major online players in Tours, Activities & Attractions has always been a bit of a mystery. Beyond Phocuswright’s research on the sector, there is little publically available data to estimate sales volumes of the big players. Most companies are privately held, and key public online travel companies such as Expedia and China’s Ctrip do not break down data for the segment. TripAdvisor only reports “non-hotel” revenue. Although activities is believed to represent a significant portion of that revenue, it does include other segments such as restaurants and vacation rentals.

That is changing with the public listing of Japan-based booking platform VELTRA, which announced that as of December 25, 2018, they will be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The listing gives our industry a peek into the financials of a major regional player in Tours, Activities & Attractions.

VELTRA is an important player in Japan for online bookable experiences, including tours and activities. The company has focused on growing in Japan and regionally in Asia. In 2016 Veltra acquired European online tours and activities seller City Discovery to expand its footprint in Europe. Earlier this year the company folded the City Discovery website into the VELTRA brand.

The Industry Shows Growth

According to the company’s filing, currently available in Japanese, VELTRA had revenue of nearly ¥2.5 billion (approximately US$22 million) as of the third quarter of this year. This represents significant growth over 2017 when revenue for the full year was slightly lower (¥2.45 billion). VELTRA has also swung to profitability. The company posted a ¥186K loss in 2017 compared with a net profit of ¥73 million yen ($651K) through the third quarter of 2018.

With 2018 Q1-Q3 revenues just shy of $22 million, VELTRA has a much smaller footprint than TripAdvisor. They posted $153 million in non-hotel revenue through the third quarter, up 20% from the same period in 2017. Revenue represents the gross commission or markup the company earns on each transaction, and not the gross bookings value of all tours and activities sold through the platform, which would be significantly higher. It’s an extremely small sample size, but it’s worth noting the two companies with public financials are showing solid growth.

Although VELTRA is a regional player in Tours, Activities & Attractions, the firm’s growth is another affirmation of an industry-wide trend of customers booking more online. This trend will not slow down anytime soon, and more data on the marketplace and its key players will help the entire industry.

Peter Gietl