The social group-tour marketplace TourRadar has recently received a strategic round of angel funding – the amount of which remains undisclosed – from influential and well-known travel executives. “This funding will enable TourRadar to become the pre-eminent online marketer of multi-day trips,” said co-founder and CEO Travis Pittman. The investors include Erik Blachford, former CEO of Expedia, and Jörg Trouvain, former CEO of HolidayCheck, the leading European hotel review platform.
Other investors participating in the round areMarkus Wagner, CEO of Vienna-based incubator i5invest and the Austrian Super-Angel fund Speedinvest. Erik Blachford, Jörg Trouvain, Daniel Keiper-Knorr of Speedinvest, will join Sebastian Heinzl, CEO of social travel guide Tripwolf, on TourRadar’s Advisory Board in the future.
What is TourRadar?
Headquartered in Austria, TourRadar was founded by Australian brothers (just to make things more complicated, but still no kangaroos!) Travis and Shawn Pittman in June 2010. It built on the concept of online travel site bugbitten, co-founded by the brothers back in 2004.
“We noticed a niche in the market for an easy-to-use online platform where people could book group tours,” Pittman told inventures.eu. Previously people would have to walk into a travel agency or visit 20 different websites from 20 different companies to maybe find a trip that matched their expectations. “We wanted to simplify that and provide travelers with the largest, unbiased choice possible,” said Pittman.
By letting people search, compare prices and directly book tours worldwide, TourRadar helps them find the right organised group tour to join, as well as meet other travelers on multi-day trips.
“The 89-billion-dollar tour industry needs a consumer website where travelers can research, choose and book tours from hundreds of operators from all over the world,” said Pittman. The site lists and compares approximately 20,000 tours – the longest takes 448 days and goes from London to Sydney via Africa, the Middle East and Asia. If you don’t have that much time and/or 14.000 euros to spend, shorter and cheaper trips are also available – a bus tour through Europe, an Australian wildlife adventure, or discovering the temples of Cambodia. TourRadar currently works with some 500 tour operators in 220 countries across the globe.
Social Media is Changing the Travel Industry
In addition to its website, TourRadar hosts a group of affiliate partnerships and provides consumers with a suite of Facebook and mobile applications, where they can communicate on a regular basis. ‘Interepid Meet Up’, an app that allows travelers going on the same trip to get in touch before the beginning of the tour, is reportedly used by hundreds of tour operators.
“It [the funding] will not only allow us to build up our team, but also provide us with the firepower to increase our reach and brand awareness, which ultimately helps our tour operators sell more of their tours,” said Pittman. “Travelers will find amazing trips to go on that they never knew existed before.”
Are you ready for some tunnel diving in Mexico? First stop: TourRadar.