Significant growth during lockdown and local cost advantages have propelled Getlocal’s Africa division to become the global operational hub for the Icelandic-based travel-tech company.
Getlocal Solutions, which provides e-commerce and content management systems for the travel industry, is now assisting with the support of more than 50 global websites out of its Johannesburg office, whose small team has grown to more than 15 employees during lockdown.
The travel-tech company is now opening up offices in New Jersey in the US and investigating opening offices in Italy, Australia and Dubai next year, with the intention that all new development requirements will be serviced from the Johannesburg office.
“When lockdown was announced, our shareholders had to make a decision regarding whether to mothball the company or keep going during this period. Opinions were divided but in the end the decision was made to keep going. As a result, we have been able to achieve a huge amount of technological developments, propelled by momentum that would have been lost if we had made the decision to go into hibernation. The quiet periods in between have also allowed us time to ensure that our developments and our content offerings are 100% correct,” says CEO of Getlocal Africa, James Elstob.
Getlocal has introduced a number of new offerings to the market. Its powerful Content Management System (CMS), or website builder, allows the Getlocal team to create simple and advanced e-commerce websites, which are connected to various APIs of powerful booking inventory systems, such as TripAdvisor’s Bokun and activity provider Musement.
For a start-up cost of R5 000 (€275) plus R750 (€40) per month, Getlocal can build, host and manage a new state-of-the-art website for any travel, tourism or hospitality company. The websites are tailored for the individual client and can include multiple booking channels, payment gateways and customised features. This is particularly attractive for SME retailers and operators that want to improve their online presence and take direct bookings through their own websites but have a limited budget to invest in development.
Elstob says the advantage of Getlocal’s website offering is that it allows the customer to maintain and add content to their own website. All traffic, including e-commerce purchases, remains 100% inside the client’s domain rather than redirecting potential customers through widgets or iframes to different booking platforms, and thereby losing the SEO value.
He adds that Getlocal websites are super-fast and work well when viewed through mobile devices. Websites can be set up in multiple languages, can accept multiple currencies and can include individually tailored payment portals.
Getlocal’s community reselling platform has an impressive range of over 200 000 global activities available to resell at negotiated commissions, these products are usually used to complement the customers’ existing product portfolio.
For accommodation providers, Getlocal Solutions will soon be including a booking engine with an integrated channel manager (Links to Airbnb, Agoda, Booking.com, Expedia, etc) inside its website builder, which will allow travel companies to sell accommodation as well as activities and experiences in one integrated cart and booking system. “From our understanding this hasn’t been done before in the travel technology world,” says Elstob.
Getlocal Solutions has also launched an SEO and digital marketing division, which assists travel and tourism businesses to improve their domain’s online ranking, as well as paid digital advertising strategies, including Google ads, Facebook ads, pixel tracking and content writing.
Getlocal can also provide large travel retailers and wholesalers with outsourced travel experience portals. Examples of companies whose portals are provided with inventory from Getlocal in this manner include Flight Centre, Kruger to Cape, Dream Wild Adventures and TravelCheck.