TRVL raises $2.7 million round and pivots to traveller-becomes-agent model

TRVL is celebrating turning itself from travel content aggregator to a hotel booking platform with a $2.7 million capital-raise.

The company made the switch this year after hinting at a change in late-2016.

The investors in what is being billed as a pre-Series A round are a group on unnamed angels who have previously backed a company by TRVL CEO Jochem Wijnands, known as Prss.

The content service was later sold to Apple to run as the backbone for its news aggregation platform.

Wijnands says the new TRVL is “turning people into travel agents the way Airbnb is turning people into hosts and Uber is turning people into drivers”.

TRVL is now a peer-to-peer hotel booking service that allows consumers to take bookings for hotels and earn a commission.

For example, organisers of a wedding can create a microsite (or add the functionality into their wedding site) with lists of relevant hotels in the area, with each booking earning the “agent” a 10% commission.

He adds:

“Artificial intelligence is great, but nothing beats a personal recommendation, from one human to another. That is still the most appreciated and most valuable travel advice there is.”

Content for the hotel inventory comes via affiliate deals with and Expedia Inc-owned for now.

The new investment will be used to develop the product and add to the existing team (chief operating officer Arthur Hoffman is a former boss at Expedia Affiliate Network).

Wijnands adds:

“TRVL is tapping into the unmatched experience and passion of thousands of travelers worldwide. By open sourcing travel and adding an earning model, we’re introducing a service level to online travel bookings that is missing today.”

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