When shelter-in-place was first announced in the United States, most companies in the travel space saw bookings drop. Some shuttered. Hipcamp, a San Francisco-based startup that provides private land for people who want to go glamping or camping, found itself in a similar spot (even though its entire sell is about getting you away from crowds).
“Bookings took a precipitous drop as people sheltered-in-place, and we actually encouraged people to cancel,” founder Alyssa Ravasio said in an interview. The startup conducted a round of layoffs back in April, citing “economic uncertainties.” One employee tells TechCrunch that 60% of the company was laid off in two weeks. Hipcamp did not comment directly on the number of layoffs, other than to say the percentage of laid off employees is significantly lower than the 60% report.
Months later, Hipcamp is in a far better spot. When stay-at-home orders lifted, bookings spiked with people eager to get outside, which the CDC says is a safer activity than being inside a place with less ventilation. Ravasio says that Hipcamp has even brought back some employees it originally laid off. The startup is currently hiring.
Off this new momentum, Hipcamp today announced that it has acquired Australia-based landsharing startup Youcamp, marking its first expansion into an international market. With the new business, Hipcamp will acquire Youcamp’s existing 50,000 listings, bringing its total to 420,000 listings.
Ravasio says she made her first big international bet in Australia partly because of revenue predictability.
“Expanding to the Southern Hemisphere also helps us account for natural seasonality with outdoor recreation. Between the U.S. and Australia, it’s an endless summer,” the founder said.
Along with the acquisition announcement, Hipcamp shared that it is officially launching in Canada. The startup already had a number of Canadian hosts, but it will now increase the total by partnering directly with private landowners.
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