TRVL lands $2.7M round of financing as pioneering digital magazine evolves into peer-to-peer travel booking platform
The digital magazine app, first released in 2010, has been updated recently after having been frozen in place due to the sale of the company’s Prss digital publishing platform to Apple in 2013
The CEO of the travel content website TRVL today announced that the company had raised $2.7 million in new funding as it moves from a digital magazine to a peer-to-peer travel booking platform. The announcement was made through Tnooz, a UK-based travel news website.
The investors are the same as those that previously backed the company’s effort to create a digital publishing platform, Prss, TRVL’s CEO Jochem Wijnands said. Prss was eventually sold to Apple, and both Wijands and partner Michel Elings briefly worked for Apple following the sale, working on the launch of Apple News.
The goal now is to build a travel booking business built around active travelers who will make recommendations to other travelers. User/agents create an itinerary, helping with hotel selection, flights, entertainment. If that itinerary is accepted by another TRVL user, then the agent gets paid a fee of up to 10 percent. These itineraries become part of the agent’s profile and can be reused or modified for others.
“Think about it: if you book a trip with TRVL, and you have the app, your whole itinerary, all your flights, all your tickets and vouchers, everything is in there. Your profile is in there, and then we can then help you prepare for your trip,” Wijnands told TNM in an interview last September.
Wijnands sees the new TRVL platform as more consistent with the sharing economy, more peer-to-peer, and likes to compare it to Uber. (The company will make its money through its affiliate deals with Booking.com and Hotels.com.)
While making the transition to a booking platform, the TRVL app, first released in September of 2010, had to be frozen in place, its last update being released in October of 2013 due to the sale of the Prss platform to Apple. But a new version of app was finally available late last year, with several bug fix updates being released since then.
The app will still feature content, but now it will be geared towards providing research material for travelers.
“We are still publishing, but we are not publishing for the broader audience, where you don’t know who you are going to reach,” Wijnands said last year. “We are very specifically writing content to make TRVL agents more comfortable when they do their bookings. We are writing content about the neighborhoods.”
“The content experience will always be part who we are.”