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The Singapore-based company gets support from DLA Holdings
Is the travel industry picking itself up and dusting itself off after the recession left many strapped for cash and vacationless? Judging by the number of travel sites getting funding these days, it would seem so. Last month, the Washington Post reported that travel site Airbnb is raising a $100 million round for a $1 billion valuation. Today, in less sensational news, travel site network TravelShark announced that it has secured $5 million in funding from DLA Holdings, a Singapore-based private equity firm, bringing its total funding to date to $8 million.
Founded in 2008 and launched in 2010 as SwiftRank, TravelShark has a network of over 12,000 travel sites for markets in 125 countries, with between 10 and 100 travel sites in nearly every major and middle market in the world. The network represents over 150,000 hotels, with some 600 hotels, hotel brands, marketing agencies, and hospitality companies participating in TravelShark’s Featured Hotel Program, which currently includes Intercontinental Hotels Group, MGM Resorts, Highgate Holdings, TIG Global, and more.
The sites operate by driving direct bookings to hotels, resorts, spas, and more via the Featured Hotel Program, and the network’s traffic is increasing at a rate of some 20% a month, as the network corresponds with over four billion search engine searches.
"This additional funding is a nod to the dramatic expansion that TravelShark has achieved in traffic and revenues across its global network of 12,000 travel sites, as well as the tremendous opportunity we have to further accelerate growth," said Sue Heilbronner, CEO of TravelShark, in a statement. "With this financing, we will invest in sales, marketing, and new product development to leverage our new consumer-friendly brand and our traction with travel suppliers and consumers."
Headquartered in Singapore with offices in Boulder, Colorado, the company’s network of sites include LasVegasHotels.com, HotelLondon.com, SingaporeHotels.com.sg, and more. The sites operate just like other major travel sites like Expedia: the user selects a hotel and a room, enters payment information, and books the room through the TravelShark website, rather than redirecting the user to the hotel’s website to book the room.
Of course, the danger of booking a hotel through a third party site like this is the fact that sometimes, communications get muddy and you run the risk of showing up at the hotel, only to find out that your room was never booked (but the third party site billed you anyway). So now you’re down a couple hundred dollars and you’re stuck without a room. This doesn’t happen often…but it has happened to me before, so consider yourself warned.
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