A leader in messaging-based hotel booking and a premier travel assistant, SnapTravel, has recently announced that it has ended a Series A funding round with $12.2 million, adding $13.2 million in new investments to its initial $8 million back in July, 2017. Among the new investors include Telstra Ventures and Stephen Curry, an NBA player.
With SnapTravel, consumers can book hotels through conversations with an AI-based travel assistant. Powered by a combination of machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), and the occasional human touch, SnapTravel curates personalized hotel offers over SMS, voice, and the messaging platforms consumers already frequent, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
“Online hotel booking is an incredibly transactional and noisy process, where pop-ups and expiring offers inundate consumers,” said Co-founder and CEO Hussein Fazal. “We are re-imagining this experience – making booking hotels feel as natural and personal as talking to a friend. Beyond travel, we're at the start of a shift in which consumers no longer shop on individual websites or apps, but entirely via conversations with brands.”
Founded in 2016, SnapTravel has had conversations with over 2 million consumers in over 150 countries to date. An early leader in conversational commerce, SnapTravel is one of Facebook’s preferred partners engineering message-driven brand experiences on Messenger and Whatsapp.
“Conversational commerce is an area of immense opportunity and interest for us, and the level of consumer adoption that SnapTravel has achieved in this space so far is extraordinary,” said Liron Wand, Head of Partnerships, Messenger at Facebook. “This is not only a unique approach to booking hotels, but also a new outlook on commerce as a whole. We're partnering with SnapTravel to create seamless experiences for Facebook users today, and design what message-driven commerce looks like in the next five years.”
In addition to being available on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, consumers can access SnapTravel to book hotels over SMS, iMessage, RCS, Viber, Slack, and Alexa.
“We’re always looking to invest in lighthouse entrepreneurs operating in sectors poised for rapid growth and disruption,” said Yash Patel, Principal and lead consumer technology investor at Telstra Ventures. “SnapTravel sits at the intersection of two trends we believe in: the growth of messaging-based commerce and the continued disruption of the enormous travel market. This is an area where many incumbents have yet to successfully leverage the growing shift in consumer purchase behavior from offline, web, and mobile apps to messaging and voice. I’m thrilled to partner with Hussein and Henry after having had the chance to observe SnapTravel’s swift evolution from an idea a few years ago to one of the more popular conversational commerce experiences on Facebook Messenger.”
“We look for companies that are disruptive and challenge an industry’s status quo. SnapTravel is doing just that with conversational commerce and we want to be part of it,” said Bryant Barr, President of SC30, Inc., the company that manages Curry’s investment, brand partnership, media and philanthropic interests. “They’re in a unique position to lead more than just the travel industry, but rather the entire e-commerce landscape by transforming how consumers make purchasing decisions online through delightful experiences.”
SnapTravel plans to use this latest funding round to optimize its user experience by continuing to develop the company's machine learning and NLP technology.
Edited by V. Haviland
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