Travel site gains steam with ex-Luxury Escapes hire
Melbourne-based startup Travlr is one step closer to its goal of becoming an end-to-end platform for planning, booking and managing holidays, with the launch of it online booking engine this week.
The site, which boasts two million users, brings together multiple partners, including Expedia, Air New Zealand and Agoda Homes, to enable customers to find flight, hotel, tour and experience information in one place. Now, they can also search for the best flight prices and book them. Accommodation deals are set to be available soon.
The site sets itself apart from existing booking sites by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically curate and offer recommendations based on the type of traveller each user is and the trip they want to take.
The startup raised $5 million in a Series A funding round in 2017 and is set to raise another $5-10 million in a Series B funding round.
Travelr CEO and co-founder, Simon te Hennepe said the capital raise will enable the startup to aggressively accelerate growth of the platform and its functionality.
“We’ve been a market leader for almost a decade in the dream and planning stage of travel and acquiring customer ownership before the user starts their traditional flight or hotel search is one of the most unique and appealing areas of what we are doing,” he said.
“With the roll out of our new multi-partner booking engine, it gives our customers the best value, and gives us greater ability to own the customer before the traditional OTAs which means we won’t get into that fight for the booking.”
Te Hennepe said the company’s immediate goal is to refine and elevate the user experience, while it strengthens its foundations in travel destinations, including New Zealand, Fiji and Pacific Islands and throughout Indonesia.
“From there we’ve got an ambitious roadmap to roll out into more than 59 destinations over the next four years,” he said.
With this growth in mind, Travlr has expanded its leadership team recently, appointing Gordy Bayne to the role of global commercial director. Bayne was previously head of Bon Voyage and Scoopon Travel at Luxury Escapes.
Geoff Stringer, a veteran of the global travel industry having spent eighteen years with Lonely Planet, has been named chief operating officer, while Stuart Rowe, a respected technical leader and entrepreneur with a passion for solving complex technology problems and accelerating startups, is chief fechnology officer.