Brisbane-based youth travel experience startup Travello has raised $10 million in a Series B.
The round was led by Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) with further investments from Paspalis Innovation Investment Fund.
The cash injection will be used to consolidate its position as a leading brand for travel and travel experiences for millennials and to prepare for a pent-up journey after the pandemic. Since reopening post-lockdowns and border closures, the company has seen 7x growth, driven by domestic travel amid signs that inbound international travelers are beginning to return. Pre-covid domestic travel accounted for only 5-10% of Travello’s revenue.
Co-founder and CEO Ryan Hanly said they are currently growing at 25% monthly and have recorded over 1000% growth in bookings.
“One of our biggest competitors is the pamphlet wall in the lobby or a hotel, so Travello’s digital first play positions us in a unique way to capture the growth potential that this market offers,” he said.
“Many youth travel brands, including the iconic STA and Student Flights, have not survived Covid, so the lack of competitors offers Travello a unique opportunity to gain market share.
“We acquired Backpacker Deals last year and that was a great move, so this funding allows us to look at similar acquisitions while accelerating our growth and expansion into both new regions and categories such as outbound multi-day trips.”
Hanly said the vertical travel experiencers is the biggest opportunity in the market.
“The industry is still very young, conservative 10-15 years behind flights and accommodation in every aspect,” she said.
“It’s really an immature market and that’s what offers such a great opportunity. For context, about 75% of flights and accommodation are booked online, but only 25% of tours and activities. That is a very exciting growth opportunity.”
The youth travel market represented about a quarter of visitor arrivals in 2019, but still contributed 40% to the total tourism expenditure, where experience was central.