Singapore ticketing company GlobalTix's new platform supports e-wallets across Asia
EVEN without a credit card, tourists from one Asian country can buy online tickets for attractions in another - thanks to payment platform GTPay, which lets them use their local digital wallet. A tourist from Indonesia could use OVO, for instance, while one from Singapore can use PayNow or GrabPay.
Home-grown digital ticketing company GlobalTix came up with the idea of GTPay last year, during the pandemic.
Travel was one of the hardest-hit industries, but the two brothers who co-founded GlobalTix refused to slow down. As chief executive officer Chan Chee Chong put it: "We said, 'Let us imagine the future of travel.'"
The future they pictured: A payment aggregation platform for digital wallets across the region.
Using GTPay, a tourism company can offer both foreign e-wallet and credit card payment options, allowing it to reach more travellers from other countries. Travellers pay in their home currency, while the merchants receive payment in their local currency.
Upon embarking on market research for the idea, the brothers realised that e-wallet adoption has grown significantly faster than credit card adoption, particularly in South-east Asia. Boosted by the pandemic, countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand now have an e-wallet penetration of more than 80 per cent.
"It shocked us when we saw everybody has already adopted wallets, because we planned for a later launch (for GTPay). We needed to bring this forward in terms of the development timeframe," said chief operating officer Chan Chee Kong.
GlobalTix began rolling out GTPay to regional clients last September, on a trial basis. The service was officially launched this January, supporting e-wallets in Singapore, mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
According to GlobalTix, cross-border e-wallet payments account for an average of 10 to 15 per cent of transactions for their partner merchants.
"Now, it's one of the standard features within ticketing solutions," said Chan Chee Chong, who was previously general manager of the Mount Faber Leisure Group under Sentosa Development Corporation.
Thanks to GTPay, GlobalTix's business has recovered beyond pre-pandemic levels, particularly as regional tourism players seek to incorporate more tech. Said Chan Chee Chong: "We have the technology and now everyone is looking for technology. We are in the right place, right time."
Tech in ticketing
GTPay is an enhancement to GlobalTix's existing e-ticketing platform, which manages the sale and redemption of e-tickets for tourist attractions.
As digitalisation made physical tickets obsolete, GlobalTix saw a need to digitise ticketing in the tourism industry too. Introduced in 2014, its digital ticketing platform simplifies bookings for travel agents and lets travellers enter multiple tourist attractions with a single QR code.
Provided on a subscription basis, GlobalTix's software-as-a-service platform saves tourism merchants from having to develop their own solutions.
Said Chan Chee Chong: "One of the key things for GlobalTix is also to help the small and medium-sized companies in the tourism sector adopt technology to grow their business, because it is always very hard for them to adopt technologies."
Aside from GTPay, GlobalTix used the pandemic downtime to improve other aspects of its platform, such as its tiered pricing system, its capacity and inventory management system, and its referral programme for merchants to engage social media influencers.
"We don't see technology as a one-time thing. We work to really improve on our technology," said Chan Chee Chong.
Today, GlobalTix handles tickets amounting to more than S$200 million each year. It has more than 1,000 major attractions and travel merchants as its clients, including Gardens by the Bay, Universal Studios Singapore, Mandai Wildlife Group, Legoland Malaysia and Hong Kong Disneyland.
Based in Singapore, the company has eight offices in the region. During the pandemic, it worked with regional tourism boards on domestic programmes such as SingapoRediscovers, Malaysia's Rediscover Fun 2.0 and Thailand's We Travel Together.
In 2021, GlobalTix received S$3 million in fresh funds from Tin Men Capital and Seeds Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore.
And earlier this month, GlobalTix was nominated as a finalist for the Singapore Tourism Awards' Outstanding Business Innovation for Enterprise Excellence 2023.
Having just celebrated its 10th anniversary, GlobalTix's vision is to make travel as seamless as possible through digital transformation, said the brothers.
It continues to improve GTPay, aiming to work with more payment gateways so more e-wallets can be used.
It is also developing a mobile version of GTPay, in which merchants can key in an amount and immediately generate a QR code for payment. This way, GTPay can be used at any time by any merchant, even those without websites, such as tour guides.
Chan Chee Chong said: "If you empower the merchants in a country to accept digital wallets of this region, then it makes that country much more attractive for travel."
Source: The Business Times