TourRadar, the online travel agency (OTA) that targets the multi-day touring market, continues to be on a roll. The Vienna, Austria-headquartered company, which also has offices in Brisbane and Toronto, has raised $50 million in Series C funding.
Consisting mostly of primary funding, the round is led by the Silicon Valley growth VC firm TCV, with participation from existing investors Cherry Ventures, Endeit Capital, Hoxton Ventures, and Speedinvest. Notably, TCV previously backed Expedia and Airbnb and so has a very decent track record in travel.
Erik Blachford, a venture partner at TCV and already an angel investor in TourRadar, has joined the company’s supervisory board. Blachford was previously President and CEO of IAC Travel, managing all of IAC’s travel assets including Expedia and Hotels.com. Again, a very good fit for TourRadar as it looks to scale up going forward.
In a call, TourRadar co-founder and CEO Travis Pittman — who founded the company with his brother — told me he was glad to have finally got Blachford on his board. The pair first met at a conference a few years back when Pittman heard the ex-Expedia CEO wax lyrical about the need for an OTA that serviced the group multi-day tour industry. He approached him afterwards to say that TourRadar wanted to be that company.
Not to be confused with something like GetYourGuide, which focuses more on travel experiences that take up part or all of a single day, TourRadar is a place to book a multi-day tour in the same way you might book a package holiday. To deliver this, the company works with more than 600 large and small local tour operators across Europe, Asia, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand. These include well-known operators such as G Adventures, Contiki, and Collette, and hundreds of specialty operators that otherwise would rely purely on local agents and word of mouth. In total, TourRadar offers more than 25,000 tours in 200 countries.
In fact, Pittman says TourRadar’s main competitor is large incumbent tour package companies, and that multi-day tours are one of the last areas of the travel industry that has not fully moved online. Another interesting tidbit regards TourRadar’s potential for growth: the company so far only targets english speaking consumers. Next on the roadmap is a lot more localisation, says the TourRadar CEO, with Germany, for example, a huge travel market.
To that end, TourRadar says it intends to use the funding to expand its team globally and to invest in the technology platform “to provide a personalized user experience for customers in new and existing source markets across the globe”. One area of focus will be developing a proper TourRadar mobile app — yes, really! — as Pittman reckons mobile, thus so far neglected, is a great platform for inspiration and discovery when deciding where to book your next tour.
More broadly, the platform supports operator partners in various ways, including offering instant bookings and tour review functionality, but there is room to go a lot further. This could include re-introducing community features to enable people who are planning to be in the same tour cohort to get in touch with one another before, during and after a tour.
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