Bulletin of Industry
In order to help improve Staycation and encourage a successful Covid-19 recovery, Scottish start-up TravelNest has earned £ 1.8 million from Silicon Valley Bank UK Branch (SVB) and Scottish Enterprise.
TravelNest experienced a drop in bookings following the coronavirus pandemic, like the travel industry as a whole, but the holiday rental site has seen a substantial increase in bookings as the trust of travelers returns.
By automating marketing and growing accessibility to major booking sites such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Vrbo and TUI, TravelNest’s product increases vacation rental occupancy, thus reducing administrative burdens for landlords. TravelNest has seen triple-digit growth in the number of nights booked through its platform since easing its blocking steps earlier this year.
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The financing is made up of a £ 1.5 million loan from Silicon Valley Bank under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and £ 300,000 from the Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund of Scottish Enterprise, set up to help high-growth companies where revenue, working capital costs or access to equity investment have been adversely affected by the effects of Covid-19.
The funds will be used for ongoing product growth and customer base expansion for TravelNest.
Industry research shows that while demand trends have changed, the appetite for travel stays high. Domestic travel has increased by 45 percent, according to data from Skift, and TravelNest is well placed to gain, with its largely rural portfolio and strong presence in the UK. 50 percent of the property portfolio of TravelNest is in the UK, with the rest distributed around foreign markets.
Doug Stephenson, TravelNest’s founder and managing director, said the company is now poised for a strong return to growth: “We are excited about the year ahead. The changing dynamics of travel are playing to our advantage and represent a great opportunity for TravelNest and our customers. Industry data shows that people are choosing vacation rentals over hotels, and there is also a significant shift in travel behavior with more domestic travel and a preference for rural over urban accommodations.”
“We have received amazing support from Silicon Valley Bank, first as a bank customer and now as a CBILS loan recipient. The bank’s team has a deep understanding of the high-growth startup sector and also understood the market dynamics we faced earlier this year. We are also incredibly grateful for the ongoing support we have received from Scottish Enterprise.”We have received amazing support from Silicon Valley Bank, first as a bank customer and now as a CBILS loan recipient. The team of the bank has a deep understanding of the high-growth startup industry and also understood the market dynamics we faced earlier this year. We are also incredibly grateful for the continued support we received from Scottish Enterprise.
Bailey Morrow, Director of Silicon Valley Bank, said, “We are very excited to deepen our partnership with TravelNest. The company has shown great resilience during an incredibly difficult time and we look forward to being a part of their growth story.”
The Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund was developed to ensure that the successes of Scotland’s most promising companies in recent years are not undone by Covid-19,” said Jan Robertson, Interim Director, Scottish Enterprise. Our support has helped TravelNest continue to innovate during the pandemic, meaning the company is well positioned to seize the opportunities created by the anticipated cha cha cha.”
“Having provided equity investment, grants and advisory support to the company in the past for its impressive offering, it’s no surprise to Scottish Enterprise that TravelNest has overcome the obstacles created by the coronavirus.”
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