Archives for posts with tag: flipkey

Though Tripping, a one-time social travel site, has begun to make a name for itself in metasearch for vacation rentals, the start-up has bigger ambitions.Tripping vacation rental

Now it will get a boost with the help of venture capital.

Tripping revealed via a Facebook post last night that it has received a Series A round of financing. The round closed on May 9.

A source told Business Insider that the round was more than $5 million, though the start-up would not confirm the sum.

Tripping, which launched in 2010 [see our TLabs profile], said the investment was co-led by an existing investor, Quest Venture Partners, and a new one, Recruit Holdings.

The later investment was by the RGIP Fund, whose existence Recruit Holdings revealed today. It’s a 4.5 billion yen venture capital fund in Japan.

RGIP says it plans to make additional investments in other travel companies to add to its existing ones in Jalan (one of Japan’s largest travel websites), PegiPegi (Indonesia), (Vietnam), and (Philippines).

A number of other new investors, including former Expedia CEO Erik Blachford, Qunar founder Fritz Demopoulos, and NFL athlete Shawntae Spencer, also participated.

Succesful pivot

Tripping has 16 suppliers, such as HomeAway, HouseTrip, Flipkey, Interhome, and, and it says this coverage gives its users access to 1 million properties worldwide.

CEO and founder Jen O’Neal said in an interview that the company has a queue of about 40 suppliers that it wants to add to the system.

“There are a ton of regional players in holiday home and short-term rental that don’t have the resources to get distribution visibility, and we’d love to send traffic to them and also deepen our global coverage.”

Until last month, Tripping was a five-person team, though it has now added three more staffers to its offices at 111 New Montgomery in San Francisco.
O’Neal also plans to use the funding to boost marketing spend, to drive more traffic to the site. She says that, up until now, the company hasn’t done more than $1,000-a-month worth of marketing.

She declined to share her company’s traffic or revenue numbers.

Founder’s story

Tripping launched in 2010 as a social travel site connecting local hosts with travelers, a la Couchsurfing. It gained users in 150 countries within 30 days, but it never found a viable revenue model.

O’Neal decided to take her team to Lake Tahoe for an off-site brainstorming session. They tried to rent a place on Airbnb or VRBO. But the research phase was so painful that they gave up and opted for camping in Big Sur instead.

As O’Neal tells it, around a campfire, they realized that bringing the aggregator model to vacation rentals was a potential opportunity. Within 30 days they launched that as their new business plan.
In 2011, they received a seed funding round of $1 million, in a round that included Launch Capital and Tim Draper of DFJ Venture.

This month’s funding comes on the heels of’s launch last week of, a standalone brand in the market.

O’Neal says that the deepening market work by global brands has a halo effect for the vacation rental industry by helping to build consumer confidence in the concept, which boosts transactions for smaller players indirectly.

Now the big dream for Tripping is to scale. It estimates that the vacation rental market is $85 billion in the USA and Europe alone. Says O’Neal:
“The vacation rental industry is at least 10 years behind the hotel industry when it comes to online distribution.

It still takes an average of nine days to complete the typical vacation rental transaction, outside of metasearch. As one of our interns pointed out, we put a man on the moon in only eight days back in 1969.”

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TripAdvisor has announced the acquisition of Massachusetts-based for an undisclosed sum.

vacation home rentals

Vacation Home Rentals has 14,000 listings worldwide, and will join TripAdvisor.

Dermot Halpin, president of TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals: “We’re thrilled to welcome Vacation Home Rentals to the TripAdvisor family. The team delivers a great experience for both homeowners and travelers and the inventory is a valuable addition to our fast-growing business.

This is the second purchase in a year for TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals, as the division acquired Spain’s Niumba a little under a year ago. The division has been steadily snapping up competitors, starting several years back with UK’s Holiday Lettings.

In addition to straight purchases of competitors, TripAdvisor has been pursuing partnerships that allow its consumer reviews to be placed alongside holiday rentals. The division aims to have a comprehensive rentals portfolio that benefits from the wider company’s status as the most visited travel and review site.

The company says that the addition of Vacation Home Rentals brings the vacation rental count to over 550,000 rental properties, including inventory from other portfolio brands like FlipKey.

TripAdvisor signalled its intent to take the vacation rental sector seriously (beyond its previous somewhat piecemeal acquisitions) when it hired Halpin in 2011 to oversee a dedicated division. Halpin was previously president for Europe at Expedia, when the pair were sister companies.

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Tripping, the world’s largest search engine for vacation rentals, just announced a partnership with leading European provider Interhome (it’s not the sole!)

The deal will make Interhome’s 33,000 vacation properties immediately available on Tripping.

The addition of Interhome is a boost for the already massive vacation rental platform, which hosts over 1 million listings across 50,000 cities worldwide.

Tripping currently aggregates properties from major rental sites including Homeaway, Flipkey, Wimdu, Housetrip…

Founded in 1965, Switzerland-based Interhome is the operator of 15 regional subsidiaries and is one of Europe’s premier providers of professionally managed vacation rentals worldwide, with a concentration of listings in France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

“Partnering with Interhome allows us to expand the properties offered on Tripping, particularly within the growing European market,” said Tripping CEO Jen O’Neal. “Travelers now have thousands of beautiful new properties to stay in, all from a trusted source with decades of industry experience.”

Interhome COO, Jörg Herrmann said the deal will greatly expand its global reach.

“We’re excited to start distributing our listings on Tripping. Our properties will have greater visibility on an international platform, which is a good thing for travelers and hosts alike,” he said.

“By joining forces with the leading aggregator in the vacation rentals space, we’ll also be able to heighten Interhome’s global brand and remain competitive both in Europe and overseas.”

About Tripping

Tripping is a metasearch site for vacation homes and short-term rentals offering over 1 million rentals across 50,000 cities worldwide.

Travelers can use Tripping to easily compare the world’s best home rentals by price, reviews, ratings and location. Based in San Francisco, the company was founded by tech industry veterans from Expedia, Travelzoo and StubHub. You can search, compare and save on your ideal home rental at

Ocean View House An Bang Vietnam

Ocean View House An Bang Village, Hoi An, VietnamGood for aspiring boat captains
Sleeps 6
Cost from £973 a week including breakfast

A few miles from the souvenir shop-lined streets of Unesco-listed Hoi An is An Bang, where the sandy shore is dotted with thung chai, traditional bamboo basket boats. Rise before dawn and you’ll see An Bang’s fishermen amid a mountain of nets as they paddle out to sea.

In the village, sandy paths lead between nine whitewashed houses run by a local couple (who can arrange for you try your hand at sailing a basket boat). Ocean View House (comprising adjoining buildings called Ocean Dream and Ocean Breeze, which can be rented separately or together) is the closest one to the sea. Only a lawn scattered with sun loungers and umbrellas separates the shaded patios from the sand.

Light-filled, air-conditioned rooms are whitewashed with turquoise accents, and sparsely furnished (there’s a fridge, but no kitchen). Breakfast is included and a local chef can cook other meals, or you can use the communal outdoor kitchen 50m away down a sandy track.

There’s a fish market nearby, or you can ride the free bikes or hire a taxi to go into Hoi An for superb restaurants and street food stalls. Closer are a handful of simple beachside eateries, sublime spots for sundowners.
• +84 90 666 0309,

The Boathouse Mui Ne, Vietnam

The Boathouse, Mui Ne, Vietnam
Good for luxury lovers
Sleeps 8
Cost from £2,077 a week

This must be one of the country’s most magnificent beach properties, slap-bang on the area’s best beach, which is great for young kids. You’ll pay a premium for the privilege of staying here, but at least the living is cheap – the Boathouse is right next to a fishing village, so you can buy seafood from the fisherman who ply their round basket boats around the bay. It comes with two motorbikes, a couple of staff and stacks of space – all done out in a rather tasteful if incongrous urbane style.
• No phone,


FlipKey today listed the ten destinations where traveler demand is the highest for 2014.


Florida accounts for half of the most desired destinations for 2014. Miami, Orlando, Naples, and Key West were also included in the 2013 list. Panama City Beach rounded out the top five this year.


Brazil wasn’t on the list at all in 2013, but Rio de Janeiro was the number one trending destination for 2014 due to interest in this summer’s World Cup.


No Asian destination was on the list last year either, but Bali rose to the tenth spot for 2014 due to a more active tourism market in Asia and rising interest in Southeast Asia as a destination.


The top ten trending destinations for vacations rentals found on FlipKey in 2014 are listed in the infographic below.


With next year’s World Cup taking place in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro tops the list as travelers are already locking in rentals for this highly anticipated sporting event.

Rio holiday rental

On the other side of the world, Seminyak, the luxurious beach destination located in Bali, rounds out this year’s list at the number 10 spot.

“We weren’t surprised to see Rio at the top of this year’s list, given the popularity of the 2014 World Cup,” said Eric Horndahl, Vice President of Marketing at FlipKey. “Our tenth spot on the list can be attributed to the growing popularity of Southeast Asia and a beautiful destination like Seminyak offers a variety of properties for all travelers’ needs.”

As in 2013, Florida destinations dominate the list, with Miami Beach taking the number two spot, followed by the Orlando/Kissimmee area, Naples, and Key West. Overall, this year’s list demonstrates that warm-weather beach destinations are where travelers are going for next year’s vacation.

The full list of FlipKey’s leading destinations for vacation rentals in 2014*:

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Miami Beach, FL
Orlando/Kissimmee, FL
Naples, FL
Key West, FL
Kihei, HI
Panama City Beach, FL
Honolulu, HI
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Seminyak, Bali

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As large travel booking giants like Priceline and Expedia continue to do big-ticket digital acquisitions, the hotel reviews giant — and now-trying-to-become-hotel-metasearch company — TripAdvisor continues with its curious strategy of picking up tiny travel companies that have little apparent effect on its topline, and surely nothing on its bottomline.


According to its latest quarterly SEC 10-Q filing, TripAdvisor acquired five companies in the first six months of this year for a total cash price of $31.6 million. These five startups were: TinyPost, Jetsetter, CruiseWise, Niumba, and GateGuru.

Out of these five companies, CruiseWise and TinyPost together cost a little over $1 million, more of the acqhire variety, and the rest — Jetsetter, Niumba, and GateGuru — had $30 million spread between them. Our estimate is Jetsetter took the largest chunk of that, which means the sale price of GateGuru and Niumba were likely in the single digit millions.expedia

The table below shows how stingy TripAdvisor has been over the years with money on hand, spending these amounts on a total of about 20 companies since 2009. In fact its spend decreased drastically over the last two years, though it has picked up the pace this year.

TripAdvisor 2013 (first 6 months) 20122011

Annual Revenues $476.86 mil $762.96 mil $637.06 mil
Profits $129.3 mil $194.06 mil $177.67 mil

For a company with annual revenues expected to reach close to $1 billion by the end of this year and a market cap now of over $10 billion, these acquisitions aren’t just immaterial to the bottom line in the short term. The parts of the company these start-ups end up in are mostly inconsequential in the scheme of things for TripAdvisor’s future business growth. And yet it intends to continue doing these small acquisitions going ahead, the company says.

Here’s how CEO Steve Kaufer described his company’s M&A strategy on its Q1 2013 earnings conference call this year:

The…lens through which I look at acquisitions is really furthering the core TripAdvisor offering globally. So we’d look at either something that adds lots of traffic in a market where we’re not strong in, or something that adds technology or features to something that, in fact, we can roll out globally because, again, we’re trying to leverage our traffic base, our content base, our reach, our membership, and those are pretty powerful assets that, if we brought a technology or a team, we can often make some nice hay with that.tripadvisor

But “nice hay” is putting it very generously. The only exception to the above immateriality rule have been TripAdvisor’s vacation rental acquisitions such as Flipkey,, and Niumba, with Tingo and Jetsetter providing some more transactions over the last 18 months. Even all of these likely don’t add up beyond mid-to-high-double digit millions in yearly revenues.

Others in its stable — AirfareWatchdog, BookingBuddy, CruiseCritic, Everytrail, FamilyVacationCritic, Gateguru, Holidaywatchdog, IndependentTraveler,, Seatguru, SmarterTravel, Travelpod, VirtualTourist, Whereivebeen, and – are small businesses at best, somehow fitting in TripAdvisor’s larger goal of “providing comprehensive travel planning resources across the travel sector.”

Besides the small size of these acquisitions, TripAdvisor has also left these companies as separate brands — often under the auspices of the Smarter Travel Media — with little integration into the main traffic juggernaut, except Flipkey’s vacation rental listings on main TripAdvisor. On the other hand, it does integrate some Tripadvisor branding on these sites, with varying levels of integration. SeatGuru relaunched earlier this year with Tripadvisor’s flight metasearch integration, for instance, and that would be an example of as deep an integration as it would do.

From sources we have spoken to, TripAdvisor usually doesn’t mess with the management of these companies much, and certainly doesn’t fund them extravagantly either.

Beyond this, the question becomes: What does Tripadvisor want to be, when it grows up beyond its dependence on user-generated media and lead generation at its core? For now it has stuck close to its core of providing “comprehensive travel planning”, but will it embrace the actual transaction and booking phase in travel? Hotel metasearch as large a step it can take in the transaction direction without actually being in it.

If it does, then it will surely have to reconsider its historically conservative strategy of small, immaterial acquisitions. Competing with Kayak, now owned by the heavy spending giant Priceline, and Expedia, which now owns European hotel metasearch biggie Trivago, will require a lot more heft than TripAdvisor’s organic growth can sustain — especially if its own efforts in its hotel metasearch rollout and uptake remain slow, as TripAdvisor hinted at multiple times this year. It may soon have to start looking at larger acquisitions.

But then, what exists that could make a material difference to TripAdvisor’s business, without turning off the shareholders? The only target that would qualify as a transformative acquisition for TripAdvisor would be HomeAway, with a $2.5 billion plus market cap and close to $300 million in revenues expected by end of the year. Nothing else comes close. Then there are material acquisitions adding to the technology for its main engine, such as hotel metasearch startup Room77.

Lastly would be business and marketing services aimed as a software-as-a-service to its core constituency of hotel clients, beyond what it offers as part of its TripAdvisor for Business unit. TravelClick, with reported revenues above $250 million last year, would be the only one that comes to mind. No other travel-specific marketing service companies/startup is big enough to make any large difference to the company, but there are others larger digital marketing companies to pick up.

Excellent article from

TripAdvisor Acquired which gives TripAdvisor world’s largest collection of Spanish vacation rentals.Niumba

Niumba features more than 230,000 properties globally and brings to TripAdvisor the world’s largest collection of Spanish vacation rentals with more than 120,000 properties in Spain.

“This acquisition underscores our continued commitment to growing TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals,” said Dermot Halpin, president, TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals. “We’re delighted to bring Niumba on board; its strong brand, talented team, and impressive collection of vacation rental properties make it an excellent addition to TripAdvisor.”tripadvisor

“We’re very proud of what we’ve created at Niumba,” said María José González-Barros. “Joining TripAdvisor is the right next step for us and we look forward to the continued growth and success this will bring.”

Niumba will continue to operate as an independent brand and website from its offices in Madrid. The company’s listings will remain on and will soon additionally be featured on TripAdvisor and Holiday Lettings.flipkey

Terms of the acquisition will not be disclosed.

I read it on…. this hotel newsletter doesn’t give any comments. It’s strange! Tripadvisor is used by number of hotels. But in the same time TripAdvisor is building a great network of holiday rental websites (Flipkey…) in competition with hotels. Our World is funny…isnt it ?

Here’s a shocker of a travel headline: Florida is an exceptionally popular destination, especially in winter. The latest source to confirm this slice of travel conventional wisdom is vacation rental site FlipKey, which has released search data revealing its top reservation requests for 2013.

Of the top 10 destinations in FlipKey’s network, seven are in the Sunshine State. Kissimmee, the hotel/condo/retail epicenter for visitors to Walt Disney World sits at the top of the list, followed by Gulf Coast destinations Naples, Siesta Key and Marco Island. Rounding out Florida’s spots in the top ten are Cape Coral (No. 7), Key West (8) and Holmes Beach (10).

A closer look at the data also shows when visitors are looking to take their trips. Key West is FlipKey’s top Florida destination from January-May, and the top spot overall in March and May. And if you’re thinking of booking a Florida vacation rental around spring break, start searching now. For March, the five most popular spots for FlipKey properties are Key West, Orlando, Panama City Beach, Miami Beach and Fort Myers Beach.

Miami Beach was also the most-reserved destination for all of 2012.

An ocean away, the other hottest spot for FlipKey users is Kihei, Hawaii. The Maui beach destination is No. 5 overall for 2013, and the most popular vacation rental spot for January and February.

Here are Flipkey’s complete lists of 2013 reservation requests, plus 2012’s most popular.

Leading destinations for 2013

1. Kissimmee, Fla.

2. Naples, Fla.

3. Siesta Key, Fla.

4. Marco Island, Fla.

5. Kihei, Hawaii

6. Palm Springs, Calif.

7. Cape Coral, Fla.

8. Key West

9. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

10. Holmes Beach, Fla.

Top 12 Destinations of 2012

1. Miami Beach

2. Paris

3. Rome

4. Panama City Beach, Fla.

5. New York City

6. London

7. Kissimmee, Fla.

8. Manhattan, New York City

9. Barcelona

10. Orlando

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TOURISTS are being warned about a scam targeting users booking accommodation through TripAdvisor.

The scammers pose as legitimate property owners and email travellers who express interest in holiday rentals on the travel website’s FlipKey service.

The scammer then secures their payment before sending them a fake contract.

FlipKey lists holiday rentals and acts as a matchmaking tool for owners and holidaymakers.

FlipKey has told scam victims the company is not responsible because the scam happens through a hack on the property owner’s email account.

Has this happened to you? Leave a comment below or send us an email.

Sydneysider Nina Dela Cruz is among those hit by the scam around Australia after sending almost $2000 for a bogus Bali villa to “the owner’s” UK bank account.

“Everything sounded great,” Ms Dela Cruz said. “And I’m a smart person, I’m really careful with all this sort of stuff.

“And because you’re dealing directly with the owner it’s kind of normal that they’d give you their personal account details.”

She was looking forward to her beach holiday in Seminyak when she received an email from FlipKey warning her she may have been scammed.

After contacting the property’s real owner she found he had never heard of her.

FlipKey chief operating officer Jeremiah Gall said it was a personal email account and not a FlipKey account which was compromised.

“We care deeply about the experience of all travelers using FlipKey to plan their trip and we’ll continue to work with this traveler and owner to resolve the situation and make sure this traveler’s vacation and funds have not been lost,” Mr Gall said.

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