What’s new in travel: Funding, Acquisitions & Partnerships

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Shall we jump straight to this week’s curation of the top news about innovation, trends and startups in the travel industry? Here we go:

  • Travel app Hopper flying high with fresh $96 million raise. It seems the travel bug is still around, and as people are still itching to get away, investments in the companies making it happen are still taking off. Now, travel app Hopper, which has been showing the benefits of agility and timely-executed pivots since its 2007 launch, has raised $96 million, reaching a total raise of $740 million to date. With more than 80 million downloads and sales of flights, hotels, homes and rental cars on the platform set to exceed $4.5 billion this year, it’s one of the largest travel apps. And, if that wasn’t enough, Alexander Gevers Deynoot from the firm, joined our Summit last week.
  • Busbud and Betterez merge for smoother bus travel. Canadian travel companies Busbud and Betterez have just announced their joining forces – a bus collision that makes for good news. Busbud connects travellers and bus operators, offering more than 3 million routes worldwide whilst Betterez’s reservation system and ticket management platform is used by more than 50 bus operators in a dozen countries around the world. The idea is to enhance digitisation of ground transport, making bus travel more accessible and unlocking more route coverage on a global level. At the same time, Busbud has shared that Amadeus just invested some capital – it’s undisclosed but it’ll be interesting to see what new developments are to come.
  • Hotels out and serviced apartments in? It’s been one of the big trends in hospitality this year – it seems that more and more travellers are looking for homely experiences whilst travelling, opting for vacation rentals and apartments that also give the luxury of staying in a 5* hotel. Reflecting this trend, Munich-based limehome has just raised €45 million as it reports over the past year, occupancy rates across the portfolio, which spans 100 locations, have been sitting at 90% with high profitability.
  • TripActions snaps up Spanish player. TripActions is certainly taking action when it comes to establishing themselves on the global stage. Now, Reed & Mackay, part of the TripActions Group, has acquired Spanish corporate travel company Atlanta Events & Corporate Travel Consultants. This marks the 4th deal of its kind in 18 months for TripActions as the firm takes on the European continent.
  • Hospitality staffing needs a rethink, and the Qwick solution is looking popular. As the staffing crisis within hospitality has been laid clear, one startup thinks it has the solution, and investors are in agreement. Qwick, a staffing-as-a-service platform has just secured $40 million to scale. Its platform connects service-industry professionals directly with food and beverage shifts in real-time, provides them with the flexibility to work on their own schedules and enables them to get paid as quickly as 30 minutes after their shift – a gamechanger for the industry that could solve many of the underlying problems.
  • Wave goodbye to travel fragmentation. Hyper-personalization is the trend-de-jour in the travel world. Travellers want, and expect, to be able to customise their trip to meet their exact wants, desires and dreams. Not asking for much, right? Well South Korean startup Globaleur doesn’t think so. The traveltech company has just raised $2.5 million and set up an office in Singapore. It leverages AI solutions to solve the issue of the fragmented travel industry by connecting the end-to-end travel experience, offering a seamless travel experience to their end users while personalizing offers & itineraries. What makes it special is that it addresses travel through 3 steps – pre-flight, in-flight, and in-destination.
  • Share cars, don’t rent them, says Invygo. Car subscription startup Invygo has just raised $10 million to expand its platform that allows customers to choose, drive and swap cars at the tap of a button. Based between Dubai and Riyadh, the app operates by partnersing with third party car disruptors and rental companies, from which users can rent cars for a monthly subscription fee. It offers an interesting proposition for those who are staying for longer trips and need new ways to get around. Think of those opting for vacation rentals rather than hotels – now they might have a way to have a car as well…
  • Barcelona’s Lodgify takes home €30 million. While the appetite for vacation rentals rumbles on, those with homes to rent out have both more travellers to target and more competition in the market. Becoming successful in this space, and standing out from the crowd, relies on being heard and seen in the digital sphere, and with the digitalisation of management tools, hosts and vacation rental businesses can grow by tapping into an international market. Helping them to do this is Lodgify – and it’s had a big year of growth, now raising a fresh €30 million.