18th April 2023 - 4 min read
Grab has revealed that it is planning to roll out several new features on its app, meant to facilitate the travels of tourists who are planning to visit Southeast Asia (SEA) soon. This comes following a steady rebound in the travel industry of SEA, as indicated by the 1,706% increase in international tourist visits to the region in 2022.
In a statement, Grab shared that one of the features that is set to be rolled out soon is the Traveller Homepage, which will allow overseas travellers to “explore” a city ahead of time, before they reach their destinations. They can use the Homepage to check for any Grab services that are available in their destinations, search and save places of interest – including their accommodation address – and check for food options that they would like to try nearby. This feature will be enabled for 33 of the top cities that tourists visit in SEA, although Grab did not reveal the exact cities.
Aside from that, Grab is also introducing a currency converter feature, which will automatically convert and display fares in travellers’ preferred local currency. Set to be ready by the second half of 2023, it means you will not need to calculate or check for conversions manually anymore – but again, Grab did not disclose which currencies will be supported when this feature is made live.
A third feature that Grab wishes to also introduce in its app is the translated merchant menus, although this is only applicable to Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand (for now). Essentially, the menus of restaurants in key cities within these countries will be translated to English to eliminate language barriers, thereby allowing travellers to make their orders conveniently. Specifically for Indonesia, Grab will also provide Chinese menu translations as the country is an especially popular destination with Chinese travellers.
Furthermore, Grab shared that it is updating its Venues feature, which was first rolled out back in 2019 to guide travellers in unfamiliar airports or attractions to the nearest Grab ride pick-up points using in-app photos and text directions. With the latest version, travellers using Venues will be able to browse through all the pick-up points that are available to them, and then select the one that they prefer. Following that, they will get image-based, turn-by-turn walking directions to lead them to the right place. This feature will be enabled for more than 4,000 locations in SEA, including major airports, malls, hotels, office buildings, and parks.
Grab is also planning to partner with other popular platforms that are already being used by travellers, so that its ride-hailing services can be offered via these channels as well. This, it said, will appeal to those who are hesitant to download yet another new app just for the sake of their travels. Some platforms that have been pegged for this initiative include WeChat, Alipay, Ctrip, Kakao T, and Booking.com – where travellers will be able to see their estimated fares in their home currency. They can also pay for the fares using their preferred methods via these platforms. As a side note, starting from the second quarter of 2023, Uber users who use the app in SEA will be prompted to use Grab as the recommended way to travel in the region.
To further support revival of the tourism industry in SEA, Grab noted that its GrabUnlimited subscription package have also been updated to provide subscribers with discounted airport rides at 89 airports across the region. You can check your GrabUnlimited page soon to view the list of the airports involved.
Ultimately, Grab said that these upcoming features will allow tourists to “plan ahead, get a smooth ride the moment they touch down, and experience their destination like a local”. The group managing director for operations in Grab, Russell Cohen stated that the company hopes to use its enhanced app to help welcome travellers back to the region.
“No one knows Southeast Asia like we do, and our goal is not only to deliver the safest and most seamless mobility experience, but also encourage travellers to explore the richness of Southeast Asia like a local through our superapp offerings,” said Cohen.
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