Two entrepreneurs behind a hit social networking app have purchased Australia and New Zealand’s biggest youth-focused online travel agency.
Two entrepreneurs behind a hit social networking app have purchased Australia and New Zealand’s biggest youth-focused online travel agency.

Travel app kings aquire leading global agency

Astute players in the travel sector are using their downtime wisely to bounce back strongly once pandemic restrictions lift.

For evidence of this, look no further than the actions of Brisbane entrepreneurs Ryan Hanly and Mark Cantoni, two long-time mates who launched their Travello app five years ago.

It's a social network for travellers that has grown to have more than a million users across 180 countries.

Targeted at the 18-35 age bracket, the app allows users to connect, as well as book tours and activities.

Mark Cantoni (left) and Ryan Hanly (right) from Travello
Mark Cantoni (left) and Ryan Hanly (right) from Travello

This week the company announced the acquisition of Backpacker Deals, which claims to be Australia and New Zealand's biggest youth-focused online travel agency.

Launched in Melbourne four years ago, Backpacker Deals has grown aggressively and now flogs a range of tours, activities and attractions in more than 24 countries.

As part of the deal, founder Dinesh Kaku will join Travello and head up its growth initiatives.

 

GETTING SCALE

Hanly did not disclose the purchase price but said Travello would use its enormous social media audience to provide "scale'' for the travel company.

"It's an exciting move, particularly in the current environment,'' he told us.

"We are buoyed by the consumer shift to digital during Covid in other industries and we are also confident the youth market will be the first to return to travel. This positions us perfectly."

Hanly also revealed that Jeff Lewis, a former global "VP of Technology and Strategic Initiatives" at TripAdvisor, had joined the Travello board to help make the merger of the two firms the world's largest youth-focused online travel agency.

Data would seem to back up their faith in a looming travel spike fuelled by a huge amount of pent up demand.

Millennials and the Gen Z crowd accounted for about 40 per cent of the pre-Covid market. A recent study also found that more than 80 per cent of travellers 18-35 would travel overseas in the next three months if they could.

WORKING CAPITAL

Travello's snaring of Backpacker Deals follows partnerships announced earlier this year with Flight Centre, as well as student accommodation providers Scape Australia and Urbanest. There's talk of a possible tie up with travel insurance groups, as well.

It also snared a $300,000 state government grant in February, right on the eve of our lockdown, to generate data to help improve marketing efforts aimed at potential visitors.

But is Travello, which generates revenue from booking commissions and dues paid by retail partners, making any money yet?

That's unclear but we do know that venture capitalists see huge potential for the business model.

The company got a $5m injection of working dough from private investors in late 2018, taking the total equity raised to $6.4m.

OWN GOAL

It sure looks like mining giant Adani has scored a stunning own goal with its name change announced this week.

The company, currently building the highly controversial $2bn Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, will now trade under the banner of Bravus Mining & Resources.

Boss David Boshoff said "bravus'' was chosen because it means "courage'' in Latin and, he noted, that's what the firm has shown in the face of withering criticism.

Bravus is the new branding for Adani Mining
Bravus is the new branding for Adani Mining

Not so, according to Greenpeace research head Dr Nikola Casule.

"The Latin for 'brave' isn't 'bravus'. The word Adani is looking for is 'fortis', which the English 'fortitude' is derived from,'' he told us.

 

 

"Bravus is a vulgar medieval Latin version based on the Latin 'barbarus', meaning barbarian.

"Bravus was eventually adopted as an English word, via Middle French, to become our word 'brave', but the word itself had much of a connotation of a violent enemy of civilisation.''

So Adani indulging in a costly, and frankly pointless, renaming exercise with a word that has its roots in "barbarian'' is just an unbelievable gift for greenies. You simply can't make this stuff up!

Originally published as Travel app kings aquire leading global agency


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