CLEAR | June 09, 2021
Biometrics are poised to make the leap beyond airports and act as a passport to any number of environments where crowds gather in post-COVID reopening.
To that end, biometric security firm CLEAR filed its S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), paving the way for an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange.
CLEAR may arguably be best known for its origin that ties into creating “a frictionless travel experience while enhancing homeland security,” as described in the prospectus. At a high level, the company’s biometric security service offers subscriptions to its services, speeding up passenger flow through TSA lines at the airport.
But branching into other use cases shows how fungible, in a way, biometrics tech can be, where knowing who is who — for admission, for security, or commerce — is an essential deployment. But along the way, as CLEAR’s filing shows, the pivot beyond travel — where demand is only now recovering from the ravages of the pandemic — will help determine whether the firm will see ignition. CLEAR points to the “convenience economy” as a critical driver for using biometrics in a bid to streamline everyday interactions.
Tracking The Enrollments
Digging into the prospectus, since inception, there have been 5.6 million cumulative enrollments, with 61 million cumulative use cases across its platform.
Along with the decline in travel-related activity, first-quarter revenues slipped 17 percent as U.S. domestic flyers dropped by 60 percent. But the company remarked in its prospectus that a trend in its favor would be the reopening of and return to secular growth in the travel industry.
As travel declined, cumulative enrollments on the platform were up more than 12 percent, to 5.2 million. Looking across the entire year, revenue was up 20 percent to 230.8 million in 2020, while net loss narrowed to $9.3 million from $54.2 million.
Moreover, the company has debuted its Health Pass app, which stores healthcare-related data such as COVID test and vaccine records, which can help members show credentials required to enter a sporting event. CLEAR has partnered with 26 sports and entertainment partners and 67 Health Pass-enabled partners. That reach helps give coverage to 110 locations, including offices, theaters, and theme parks.
Launched in 2010, CLEAR’s biometric security service is popular among frequent fliers who purchase subscriptions for $179 a year. Along with gaining the ability to speed through airport lines, subscribers can also use the service at sports stadiums and entertainment venues.
Looking Toward Scale
CLEAR defines the total addressable markets, by vertical, as being rather significant. In aviation and travel, 90 million American adults fly at least twice annually, while 31 million flies at least six times annually. In hospitality, there were 1.3 billion room nights occupied in 2019, pre-pandemic, in the U.S. Per data from ESPN, across major sports leagues, there were 130 million sports attendees in 2019.
The movement into adjacent use cases depends on how many consumers embrace $179 annual subscriptions (the price of Clear PLUS) and whether the populations that do so will justify partners signing on with the technology platform.
ATPI | July 06, 2021
When faced with a crisis, the travel industry reacts in a variety of ways. ATPI’s solution to the pandemic is to join the other mega-agencies that offer technology to other travel agencies. What ATPI may discover: licensing may be a complicated process.
ATPI’s track record with technology companies works to its advantage. For example, it recently invested $1.4 million in TapTrip and almost $350,000 in Singapore’s Greywing platform. According to its CEO, it now wants to “liberate” its platform and generate money by licensing it to other companies that may not have the means to create their own.
“The technology stacks that we’ve developed, we’re going to move into a different division so that, in addition to a travel management business arm, we’ll have our technology arm,” Ian Sinderson said.
ATPI has fared quite well in comparison to many of its rivals due to rising ties with the robust marine and cargo transport industries. It had a profit of $15 million last year, although that number was 50% lower than in 2019. Selling software could compensate for income lost.
When it formally launches in the coming months, its new technology arm, TripStax, will be a semi-autonomous company. TripStax was founded in August of last year, although ATPI experimented with various names, registering Travelstax and Lemonstack with the UK’s Companies House along the way.
TripStax will provide a full suite of platforms, including a booking tool, profile manager, analytics, duty of care, and traveler tracking platforms – key elements of technology that the agency has spent significant time developing internally, according to Sinderson.
GETTING THE BEST DEAL
ATPI is not the only agency to license a software-as-a-service travel platform to third parties; several of the industry’s larger players do as well. With their vast resources, they have greater opportunities to develop, or even buy, specialized platforms.
For example, American Express Global Business Travel has over 200 agencies signed up for its GBT Partnership Solutions section. They may, for example, utilize its booking tool, Neo, which assists the agency in filling gaps in its footprint. In addition, this premise collaborates with companies such as Kanoo in the Middle East and Tourvest in South Africa.
But what does it think of ATPI’s venture into software licensing?
If Amex GBT’s acquisition of Egencia goes through, it may be able to expand this segment of its company. “Teaming Egencia with GBT’s Supply MarketPlace, one of the most extensive sources for information and experiences for business travelers,” it said in a statement. It is now seeking a vice president for its GBT Partnership Solutions business.
However, one expert has warned that any agency selling its technology must guarantee that it is mature and flexible. “There is always a gap between utilizing a system inside one business and then providing it to a wider audience,” said Guy Sneglar, senior vice president, global travel technology integration, Partnership Travel Consulting.
Amex GBT’s Ahluwalia noted many legal, compliance, data privacy, and regulatory concerns to address before in-house solutions could compete with a third party. Then there are concerns about the content that comes with the technological product and other business structures.
Branching out has proven beneficial over the years, with some spin-offs taking on a life of their own. For example, Atriis, a managed travel technology platform, was founded in 2013 as a joint venture between Amsalem Travel in Israel and Portman Travel (acquired by Clarity Travel) in the United Kingdom.
HRG also found success with developing its expense tool Fraedom, while the UK corporate train booking site Evolvi was initially developed by Harry Weeks Travel, a 1954 agency.
Travel + Leisure Co. | September 02, 2021
Travel + Leisure Co. will hold its 2021 Investor Day on September 10, 2021, to provide an update on the company’s strategy and outlook. The presentation will outline the company’s strategy to grow its cornerstone timeshare and vacation exchange businesses, and to develop new business extensions to broaden its reach into the leisure travel market.
The event will be hosted by Michael D. Brown, president and CEO of Travel + Leisure Co., and feature presentations by Geoff Richards, chief operating officer of Wyndham Destinations, Fiona Downing, senior managing director of Panorama, Olivier Chavy, president of Panorama, Noah Brodsky, president of Travel + Leisure Group, and Mike Hug, chief financial officer.
The event will take place on Friday, Sept. 10 at 8:30 a.m. until approximately noon EDT followed by an opportunity to meet with members of the management team. A live, listen-only webcast of the presentation will be available at investor.travelandleisureco.com. The company will archive the presentation slides and the audio webcast on the website within 24 hours of the presentation, and the webcast will be available for a limited time.
About Travel + Leisure Co.
Travel + Leisure Co. is the world’s leading membership and leisure travel company, with nearly 20 travel brands across its resort, travel club, and lifestyle portfolio. The company provides outstanding vacation experiences and travel inspiration to millions of owners, members, and subscribers every year through its products and services: Wyndham Destinations, the largest vacation ownership company with more than 245 vacation club resort locations across the globe; Panorama, the world’s foremost membership travel business that includes the largest vacation exchange company, industry-leading travel technology, and subscription travel brands; and Travel + Leisure Group, featuring top online and print travel content, online booking platforms and travel clubs, and branded consumer products. At Travel + Leisure Co., our global team of associates brings hospitality to millions, turning vacation inspiration into exceptional travel experiences. We put the world on vacation.