Post lockdown, this Scottish travel startup aims to drive staycation growth, snaps £1.8M funding

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel is one of the worst-hit industries all over the world. It has been revealed by industry experts that the appetite for travel among people remains strong but there is a shift in the demand pattern. As per Skift data, there is an increase in domestic share by 45% and the Scottish travel startup TravelNest is all set to leverage the same.

Growth in staycation

In a recent development, the TravelNest secured £1.8M from Silicon Valley Bank UK Branch (SVB) and Scottish Enterprise. The funding is split as £1.5M from Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) loan from Silicon Valley Bank and £300K from Scottish Enterprise’s Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund, which assists high-growth companies face the negative impact on COVID-19. The funding will help drive the growth of staycation and support the strong rebound from the pandemic. Furthermore, the funds will be used for further product development and increase the customer base of TravelNest.

Improves occupancy rates!

TravelNest’s products improve occupancy rates for vacation rental properties by automating marketing and enhancing exposure on leading booking sites such as, Airbnb, Expedia, Vrbo, TUI, and TripAdvisor. Also, it minimises administration time for vacation property owners. After the lockdown restrictions were lifted, TravelNest founded by Doug Stephenson announced that it recorded triple-digit increase in night bookings made on its platform.

TravelNest founder and CEO Doug Stephenson said: “Industry data shows that people are opting for holiday rentals over hotels, and there is also a marked shift in travel behaviour with more domestic travel and a preference for accommodation in rural rather than urban settings.”

Online marketing platform

TravelNest’s online marketing platform, which was launched in 2018 automates vacation rental property listing and increases global exposure on top booking sites along with calendar sync and a bookings and payments hub.

Rebecca Moore, COO, TravelNest, said: “We’ve had amazing support from Silicon Valley Bank, first as a banking client and now as the recipient of a CBILS loan. The bank’s team has a deep understanding of the high-growth startup sector and also understood the market dynamics we were faced with earlier in the year. We’re also incredibly grateful for the ongoing support we’ve had from Scottish Enterprise.”

Bailey Morrow, Director at Silicon Valley Bank, said: “We are very excited to deepen our partnership with TravelNest. The company has shown great resilience in an incredibly trying time and we look forward to being a part of their growth story.”

Jan Robertson, interim director, Scottish Enterprise, said: “The Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund was established to ensure gains made in recent years by Scotland’s most promising businesses weren’t erased by COVID-19. Our support has helped TravelNest continue to innovate during the pandemic, meaning it’s well-positioned to seize the opportunities created by the anticipated changes to travellers’ behaviour in a post-Covid world.”

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