Multi-day online tour booking specialist, TourRadar, has secured a massive $50 million funding round and enlisted the help of an ex-Expedia executive.
The Series C round is led by Technology Crossover Ventures, with the investment giant's venture partner Erik Blachford coming on-board as an adviser.
Previous investors, Cherry Ventures, Endeit Capital, Hoxton Ventures and Speedinvest, have all returned to participate in the latest round.
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TourRadar raised a Series B of $10 million in November 2017.
The investment is the largest in the tours and activities sector since GetYourGuide and Klook brought in $75 million and $60 million, respectively, in late 2017.
Last week, fellow brand Peek announced a Series B round of $23 million.
With investment comes opportunity
TourRadar CEO, Travis Pittman, concedes the new round is a lot of money - it has now taken in around $66 million in finding since its formation in 2010 - but says there are a number of strategic moves that it will take as a result of the latest backing.
Speaking to PhocusWire, he says the company will increase the headcount in the company, specifically in technology and marketing. It currently has around 130 people.
There will be a "heavy mobile focus" going forward, he says, plus the current English-only provision will change with new language versions of the brand appearing in new markets.
Tours & Activities Come of Age
Other elements include the continued roll-out of personalization technology, including its recommendation engine, and continued investment in its video content creation service.
Pittman says: "Word had started to spread in the VC world that we had a good 2017, and that 2018 had started strong, so we began having a number of pre-emptive Series C round conversations with funds in both Europe and the US.
"We weren't planning on raising until later in 2018 or early-2019, but due to Erik's prior involvement in TourRadar and being a Venture Partner at TCV, a conversation was started with John Doran and his team in London at TCV, where things began to move at a pretty quick pace."
TourRadar's focus on bookings for multi-day tours, rather than what many of its fellow brands have concentrated on with attraction tickets and one-day trips, has not been without its challenges.
Pittman says the "combination and complexity of connecting to technically-challenged supply" is what makes the market unique.
Other issues that it faces are around understanding the requirements of a "customer buying a high-value product six-to-12 months out from departure", he adds.
The company is focused on "ultimately being able to deliver the right customer experience (both on and offsite 24/7) to give a traveler the confidence to put down their credit card for a $5,000 tour".
TCV has backed the likes of Airbnb, HomeAway, Netflix, SiteMinder, Spotify, Vice and Zillow.
Blachford was president and CEO IAC Travel and oversaw the early growth of Expedia, Hotels.com and Hotwire.
PODCAST: Travis Pittman on the PundIT Show
The TourRadar CEO was a guest on the PhocusWire podcast, recorded in May 2018. Check it out here!