Travellers landing in a city for the first time will often face the confusing process of getting themselves to the airport pick-up point to meet a driver.

Often, people will try to navigate to the pick-up area before they book a ride, so they don’t miss the car.

With travel volume skyrocketing post-pandemic, Grab has prepared an updated Venues feature to guide people at airports to pick-up points by offering photos and text directions.

When someone in an airport opens the transport section in the Grab app, they’ll see a walking guide at the top. After they scroll through the directions, they’ll be prompted to book a ride to their destination.

Beta testing for the guide to pick-up on the transport section has been rolled in airports in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bali. By mid-May, travellers can expect to access this feature in other top tourist spots such as Phuket, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City.

Grab’s photo and text directions feature isn’t new. We started offering Venues in 2019 and now cover 4,000 locations such as malls, hotels and office buildings across the region.

But the older version offered directions after a user booked a ride. The operations team realised during research that travellers preferred to be given directions before a booking instead.

Lead product manager, Hann Lam Woo, said the team found that the earlier implementation didn’t get as much traction. Studying user behaviour helped them discover that the visibility of the feature was blocked because users were only being prompted after booking a ride.

An airport survey conducted by Grab in October also found that users tend to book their rides only after they have arrived at the pick-up point, said transport product manager, Winston Goh.

While ride-hailing apps emerged among the top three transport modes to get out of the airport, people preferred traditional taxis lines, because survey respondents said they found locating pick-up points a top challenge when it comes to using ride-hailing services.

Building the Venues and Meeting Points features

Grab’s operations team started to identify a list of key venues in Southeast Asia by analysing historical booking data.

Team members were then dispatched to carry out a detailed survey of each venue in order to identify landmarks and signs that are useful in guiding users to respective pick-up points. They captured images and documented walking directions that would help users navigate complex buildings, such as shopping malls with multiple entrances.

The Venues feature builds on earlier work to identify specific pick-up points so driver-partners and end-users would have a clear point to meet at. Called Meeting Points, this helps to address users selecting points along the road which might be unsafe for driver-partners to stop at, or if users in buildings are unable to locate a precise pick-up location because they’re out of GPS coverage.

When a user books a ride, various nearby Meeting Points are displayed as green dots on the map around them, and users can toggle among the points to choose the most convenient spot.

This feature started rolling out in 2018 to help users accurately select their desired pick-up point and reduce driver-partners’ wait time. Since then, we have introduced over 250,000 of these points across the region.

Together with Meeting Points, the updated Venues feature aims to improve the overall travel experience from the moment a user arrives at the airport.

Komsan Chiyadis

GrabFood delivery-partner, Thailand

Komsan Chiyadis

GrabFood delivery-partner, Thailand

COVID-19 has dealt an unprecedented blow to the tourism industry, affecting the livelihoods of millions of workers. One of them was Komsan, an assistant chef in a luxury hotel based in the Srinakarin area.

As the number of tourists at the hotel plunged, he decided to sign up as a GrabFood delivery-partner to earn an alternative income. Soon after, the hotel ceased operations.

Komsan has viewed this change through an optimistic lens, calling it the perfect opportunity for him to embark on a fresh journey after his previous job. Aside from GrabFood deliveries, he now also picks up GrabExpress jobs. It can get tiring, having to shuttle between different locations, but Komsan finds it exciting. And mostly, he’s glad to get his income back on track.