Travel Social Network Travello Pulls In $5M to Expand Experiences OTA

Operators focused on the youth traveler may want to have a look at this startup

Reading Time: 2 minutes 44 seconds

Key takeaways:

Travello believe experiences will increasingly be sold through social networks

Operators will be offered terms of between 20% and 25%

Integrations with all major reservation systems but Bokun have been completed

Tour, activity and attraction operators serving the student and young adult travel market (roughly ages 18–34) may want to keep an eye on this startup

Many experiences on the network are outdoor or multi-day

Australian travel social network and online travel agency Travello has raised $5M (AUD$6.5M) to expand their OTA vertical.

The company says it will use the funds to further fuel their growth and capture pent-up millennial demand for travel experiences as the world recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Investors in the Series A funding round include Flight Centre co-founder Jim Goldburg, former Tourism Australia chief Andrew McEvoy and ex-Velocity boss Phil Gunter.

Travello says they have integrations with all major reservation systems, with the exception of Bokun. A connection with Bokun is in progress.

Operator content will be added to their website and then pulled to the app through an API. Many experiences on the platform are outdoor or multi-day tours.

Integrations were helped by the app’s acquisition of Backpacker Deals in 2020 for an undisclosed amount. Backpacker Deals was the largest youth OTA in the region.

Travello will be offering operators terms of between 20% and 25% through a “very traditional way of contracting”.

“We knew it would be a great formula for providing tourism activities”

Travel Social Network Travello Pulls In $5m to Expand Experiences OTA Arival Ben Finch
Travello target the youth travel segment — Jackman Chiu / Unsplash

Ryan Hanly, CEO and co-founder, said: “We knew we were going to be an in-destination app and we knew we were going to have really rich insights about our users — that is, where they are and what they’re interested in. 

“We always knew that would be a really great formula for providing curated tourism activities and things to do in-destination.

“We sit in the youth market, so we have studied that demographic very closely. The way they discover an activity or things to do — whether it’s paid or otherwise commissionable activities — is through social feeds.

“We’re definitely looking at what shopping for tours and activities is going to look like and we strongly, strongly believe it’s going to be social led. 

“It’s going to come from social feeds and it’s going to be peer-to-peer. We think we’re well positioned to innovate in that space.”

User engagement increased through the pandemic

Travel Social Network Travello Pulls In $5m to Expand Experiences OTA Arival Ben Finch
“This opens the way for Travello to be a major player,” Andrew McEvoy said — Nick Dunn / Unsplash

While the social network had been the main focus for Travello, selling experiences had always been part of the plan. Covid allowed the company to evolve and present themselves less as a social network and more as an OTA with an engaged community, Hanly said.

It claims to have more than 1.2 million users spread across 180 countries. Hanly said that engagement had increased through the pandemic as people sat at home and tried to satisfy their wanderlust.

Most content on the social network is user generated and Travello doesn’t wish to have too much advertising. However, operators are welcome to create their own content to reach users.

“We don’t really want to get advertising on the platform,” Hanly said. “There are operators coming onto the platform and they posting really great location content. 

“It’s all fairly organic, it’s all travel related and we don’t have an issue with that. Operators coming on and creating user generated content around their experience and their location — we absolutely welcome that.

“We want to keep the user experience sacrosanct within the app. We don’t want it to become an advertising machine.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


already a member?

Lost your password?


Become an Arival Insider

Included in Free Membership

Included in Arival Pro Membership

The Arival on-demand video library archive
Access to the entire library of over 150 video sessions and webinars

Short, digestible research & trends reports delivering insights into our industry, such as The Tour Operator Outlook for 2021. articles
Topical articles about marketing, tech, operator business and operator stories in all areas of tours, activities & attractions & experiences

Job board access
Find a job from our regular listings, post a resume to the talent network and learn strategies from the job resources articles

New webinars
Helpful, instructional sessions covering subjects such as Mastering Facebook Ads, Grow Your Business and How To Work With OTAs — topics to help advance your business.

Discounts on all Arival in-person events
20% Discount on all Arival in-person events (save up to $300)* based on business type

Arival ProShield – Insurance program
Access to tailored insurance solutions by Granite Insurance is available exclusively for Arival Insider Pro Access Members. Insider Pro Access Members also have access to a suite of resources from Granite Insurance including templates, forms and other informative documents.

Insiders Pro Access member exclusive webinars
Paid membership-only webinars to deepen your understanding of important industry topics.

Job postings & talent directory
Post jobs & connect with candidates most applicable to your business.

Private roundtables to connect, learn and engage
Small, focused and intimate discussions exclusive to Arival Insider Pro Access members.

Full access to Arival’s library of in-depth reports
Up to date, deep analysis of tourism topics ranging from Self-guided Tours to Sales & Distribution Trends and Outlooks, based on the data that defines the industry.

The latest on-demand videos
Over 350+ on-demand videos featuring hot topics in tours, activities & attractions

Insider discounts in digital marketing, tech, e-learning, and more
Save money on additional tools, services and learnings you need to run your business. Exclusive to paid members.

Membership Overview

At Arival, we believe travel can make the world a better place. Our mission is to establish and inspire a diverse community of individuals and companies in the In-destination Industry by providing opportunities to gain insight, share knowledge and build connections. To make it possible for true collaboration, creativity, innovation, and idea exchange to thrive, we are committed to facilitating a welcoming and respectful community for all. This Conference Code of Conduct shares our community expectations and applies to all attendees, employees, exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and other participants at Arival- produced and sponsored events. We empower all participants in our community to actively engage in creating a friendly, inclusive and safe environment for all.

Arival’s core values include the following, and create an expectation for conduct at our events and in online community spaces:

We demonstrate a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.
We value integrity and strive to consistently interact with others in ways that are authentic, ethical, and fair.
We are dedicated to transparency, committing to clear, open and honest communication.
We actively pursue and advocate for inclusion, diversity and representation of varying cultural backgrounds, perspectives and ideas

Arival welcomes people from all cultural backgrounds, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity, religion (including religious dress and grooming), marital status, domestic partner status, genetic information, age, national origin or ancestry, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local laws.

Accordingly, participants must refrain from displaying any demeaning, harassing, aggressive, or intimidating behavior or materials that would interfere with others’ experience and participation in our community.

If you witness or are subjected to inappropriate or disruptive behavior or have any other concerns, notify an Arival staff member as soon as possible.

Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Arival reserves the right to refuse entry to or remove any party from any event or community space at any time when participation or behavior create a disruption or hinder the event or enjoyment of the event by other participants. All determinations are at the sole discretion of Arival, and the decision of the Arival team will be final. Severe breaches of this Conference Code of Conduct may result in disqualification from participating in future events. Individuals expelled due to violating this Conference Code of Conduct will not be eligible for a refund or other consolation.

If you have questions regarding this Conference Code of Conduct or its implementation, please contact us at [email protected].