Global payments and commerce leader Klarna has announced its acquisition of Silicon-valley based Inspirock, an online travel planning service. More than just a travel booking site, Inspirock has created a platform using a combination of AI and local expertise that enables users to book trips based on their interests. Over 25 million travelers have used the platform to create personalized itineraries based on specific interests or found new places to visit, all based on access to localized information.
“Our goal at Inspirock has been to make planning a trip fast, fun and easy,” said Inspirock CEO Anoop Goyal.
Klarna, now valued at $45.6 billion, has made several acquisitions this year, including Apprl, Stocard, HERO, and Toplook.ai. It’s not obvious at first how a travel booking site fits into the Klarna stable, until you look deeper into the Klarna strategy.
According to Klarna CMO David Sandstrom, their acquisition strategy so far has been focused on developing the ability to create content at scale, as commerce begins to blend an emotional aspect that takes it from activity to experience.
“The next generation of e-commerce for me is going to be the social aspect, where we connect with peers and are able to do a deeper dive into reviews and interact with key opinion leaders,” says Sandstrom. “We have put massive investments into content creation and curation, which will be an enabler for our entire customer base to create content.”
Klarna already makes it easy for travelers to book trips through its Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) installment billing service that is widely available on popular travel booking sites, but according to Sandstrom, the addition of Inspirock helps them to solve another pain point for their customers.
“Forty-two percent of people say they are frustrated planning their trips,” Sandstrom said. “What we are doing is connecting local retailers and merchants with that trip planning experience so that consumers can have an easier time planning what they want to do during the visit and actually experience a city.”
By integrating Inspirock, travelers can connect with Klarna’s 250,000 retail partners, and enjoy a richer experience in their destination city. Conversely, this makes Klarna’s BNPL product much more valuable to merchants, since it not only facilitates commerce through installment lending, but now has the ability to provide advertising exposure for a local business to the 25 million Inspirock travelers.
Klarna’s announcement comes on the heels of TikTok’s partnership with Shopify to enable commerce through video content on its platform.
Says Inspirock CEO Goyal, “Together we can deliver on Klarna’s ambitions of providing a smooth shopping experience to the travel space in an innovative way. Klarna and Inspirock together can bring great inspiration, tools and shopping experiences, making planning the trip as fun as the actual trip itself.”
Overview by Don Apgar, Director, Merchant Services Advisory Practice at Mercator Advisory Group