As state borders reopen and international holidays become a live prospect again, Antony Catalano-led media company ACM has announced a stake in a world-leading travel technology platform and plans to transform its growing Explore brand into an online travel marketplace.
ACM, the publisher of this masthead, has joined the latest capital raise by revolutionary travel technology platform TRAVLR, which also announced on Tuesday the roll-out of a landmark media deal with BBC Global News, as well as preparation for expansion into other international markets.
Launched in 2017 by Bali Bible founders Simon and Lani te Hennepe, TRAVLR is one of Australia's fastest growing travel technology start-ups.
TRAVLR is an online travel booking technology that consolidates travel offerings from around the world to create an easy-to-use single interface for prospective travellers wanting to book their next trip. Referred to as 'Travel as a Service', TRAVLR has one of the largest ranges of travel products in the world.
A recent capital raise that has been backed by Tony Gandel, Antony Catalano's ACM and entrepreneur Matt Berriman will support the successful roll-out of new partnerships across Australia and New Zealand and enable the company to expand into open markets such as the US and UK.
TRAVLR already has key partnerships with Network Ten in Australia and Stuff.co.nz in New Zealand.
ACM executive chairman Antony Catalano said his company's nation-wide network of news websites looked forward to adding TRAVLR's technology to enable regional audiences to discover, plan and book tailored travel experiences.
"We're excited to be able to offer our Explore readers a smooth and convenient way to find and book the world's best travel and accommodation deals as they enjoy our inspiring and informative travel content," Mr Catalano said.
The Explore holiday brand was launched across the ACM network's 140 websites in 2019 and includes a dedicated website exploretravel.com.au and liftouts in the Saturday editions of The Canberra Times and ACM's other daily newspapers such as the Newcastle Herald and Bendigo Advertiser.
Founder and CEO of TRAVLR Simon te Hennepe said the travel industry was going through "one of the most significant structural changes in a century, paving the way for new and innovative offerings".
"Our raise and launch of new partnerships with the likes of BBC Global News is evidence that the market sees the value for TRAVLR's unique offering," Mr te Hennepe said.
Investor Matt Berriman said the global opportunity for TRAVLR was huge.
"I see this having similar enterprise media tech characteristics as Unlockd (without the dependency on Google), which will enable us to reach and support tens of millions of travel-hungry consumers," Mr Berriman said.
Mr te Hennepe said his company's vision was "to forever change the way people dream of, plan and experience travel".
"We want to enrich travel experiences like never before and after the last 18 months we've all had, the future of travel is more about the quality of the experience than just the size of the inflated discount," he said.