Karhoo launches in the UAE

More than 80 travel professionals attended the official launch of Karhoo in the GCC. Vanessa Heydorff, Senior Vice President, Karhoo shared with TRAVTALK their plans for the year and how they will collaborate with agents across the GCC. Working with Karhoo, travel companies gain a more efficient search and booking process, fair market prices for their customers, and revenue share on completed rides.

Shehara Rizly

Q Why did you select Dubai to launch Karhoo?

We have just joined the dnata Representation Services partner family, an extraordinary ecosystem of global travel and technology providers. As part of dnata, one of the world’s largest air and travel services providers, based in Dubai, this made the city – a hub of innovation and creativity – an ideal place to announce our new partnership, which aims to bring Karhoo to the GCC region.

Q Could you share details of the partnership with dnata?

Partnering with dnata Representation Services, Karhoo Mobility Marketplace has launched across the GCC. dnata Representation Services has been awarded as the exclusive distributor of Karhoo across the region. Brands under the dnata Travel Group’s extended network can now offer taxis and private hire vehicles to their leisure and business customers travelling around the world, as well as their B2B partners. This partnership has marked a milestone for Karhoo in the Middle East.

Q What services entail Karhoo? You mentioned a suite of products/services for Dubai

Not only for Dubai but for the GCC region. Karhoo is the leading worldwide mobility marketplace for taxi and private driver services. Our mission is to connect hundreds of companies and their millions of end-users with millions of drivers around the world, and we are delighted to be launching our services in Dubai and the wider GCC working with dnata Representation Services. Karhoo aggregates 1,500+ taxi and private hire vehicle providers in most parts of the world, including covering 500+ airports. We connect these providers – via a single contract and technical integration – to travel and hospitality brands who want to offer transfers and in-stay mobility to their customers to create better travel experiences and also generate ancillary revenues. We allow brand partners to access these suppliers via a range of technical interfaces and pre-built user experiences.

Q How do you compare the services with other providers? Why should they select you?

We believe that we have a unique proposition in terms of the number of mobility partners – more than 2,500 fleets in 125 countries – and the modern experience that our technology platform can provide. Our platform aggregates and unifies a fragmented mobility market and enables state-of-the-art e-hailing or on-demand experience everywhere we operate, including loyalty integration, mobile payment, and vehicle tracking. We perform the financial settlement between travel and hospitality operators and fleet operators, in multiple currencies and in accordance with local tax regulations.

Q Would you say that the services are aimed at B2B/corporate? Or is it more B2C?

Karhoo is not a consumer brand but instead enables other established brands to become leaders in mobility. Brand partners using Karhoo may offer our mobility services to their customers, either consumer or business.  Our mobility providers offer a range of services, from small economy cars to premium chauffeured executive services.

Q Dubai already has a wide range of players in different areas somewhat same as what is offered by you; how do you plan on competing with them? Or will you collaborate with them?

It is important to understand that we do not compete with transportation companies; we partner with them and allow them to have access to global brands. We actually support in helping them promote their service offering to international travellers that they may otherwise have a hard time addressing. We partner with powerful brands who have large customer bases and are able to promote mobility directly on their websites and apps, in a flight ticket or hotel room booking for instance. Using established brands increases the trust with travellers.

Q Are there any criteria to be part of the services you offer?

We partner with any licensed taxi and private hire vehicle fleet that operates a quality service. We require our supply partners to operate a dispatch management system with which we can integrate to ensure that we can deliver a modern user experience. If you are a travel brand and want to distribute the Karhoo network, there are is no acceptance criteria, except to be a registered business. We have even managed solutions that can be ordered online for small independent hotels and travel agencies.

Q Do they require a guaranteed number of services/clients or how does that work?

Karhoo operates an open mobility market and wants to attract quality suppliers and brands to connect.  There are no upfront connection costs and a range of connection options for brands to choose from.  As a partner, once connected you can work with any of the connected brands or suppliers.  You pay no fees unless you sell your services.  Other than a commitment to promote and deliver quality services, there are no other obligations.

Q What are the key benefits for the travel agents?

Through a single connection, travel agencies gain access to a global digital marketplace via Karhoo that, on average, delivers five service options per search request. In popular areas such as main cities and airports, the number of offers can be tenfold.  This guarantees that agents can find the right service at the right price for their customers. As the service is 100% digital, there is no need to ‘call to book’ or make enquiries regarding the journey.

Q How do you incentivize them?

Working with Karhoo, travel companies gain a more efficient search and booking process, fair market prices for their customers, and revenue share on completed rides.

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