Tour booking startup Evaneos raises $80 million
Local agents develop their direct-to-consumer businesses with the help of Evaneos and then collects a fee from an agent whenever a trip is booked.
Evaneos, a booking platform for customized multi-day tours, has raised an $80 million round of investment with the goal of becoming a global digital travel brand.
Partech and Level Equity led the round in the Paris-based startup, which had previously raised $28 million.
Evaneos connects consumers with more than 1,200 professional local agents to create multi-day tours, such as a safari in Kenya or an 11-day tour of sights in Uzbekistan.
Evaneos said that 300,000 customers have traveled on tours sold through its platform since its founding in 2009. It said it is profitable in its home market of France, where it has 180 employees.
Consumers can browse more than 5,000 itineraries and then work with an agent via the site to customize details. Agents use Evaneos’s software to tailor tours.
“We believe there’s a big gap in the market in the U.S. where online travel agencies mostly offer cookie-cutter options, and there’s a hunger for customization,” La Bonnardière said.
La Bonnardière and his co-founder Yvan Wibaux claim that, unlike aggregators of tours and activities like GetYourGuide and Klook, they are more comparable to major platforms like Booking.com and Expedia because they provide full multi-day itineraries.
But critics might point out that Expedia or Booking.com can be used for a variety of trips, including generic business and leisure trips, and thus benefit from having repeatable utility.
On the supply side, Evaneos has gained traction with local agents by offering to develop their direct-to-consumer businesses through workshops and software for pitching itinerary proposals more efficiently.
That’s a change. Until now, many of these agents have relied on the marketing work to be done by large travel agency companies and have mostly focused on business-to-business efforts.
The enhanced margins for agents and a promise to help build the brands of local agents so that they can gain more repeat direct business are together creating a positive word-of-mouth effect on the supply side, said the company — which collects a fee from an agent whenever a trip is booked.
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