Travel and tourism, two of the industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, are slowly starting to show signs of recovery. Now, OTA overview – a company that develops business intelligence tools for one of the key sectors of this space, hotels – announces a round of financing because it too takes more business on the rise.
The company raised $ 80 million, a Series B led by Spectrum Equity, with participation from previous backers Eight Roads, F-Prime Capital and Highgate Technology Ventures. OTA Insight does not disclose its valuation, but to get a feel for its size and how it works, it is used by some 55,000 properties today; and it has already been profitable for years, including during the pandemic. Prior to that, OTA Insight (founded in 2015) had only raised $ 20 million.
The plan will now be to use this cash injection to generate more business in what is still a very untapped market, said CEO Sean Fitzpatrick.
“One of the peculiarities of the hotel and hospitality industry is that technology providers generally focus a lot of their energy on the big chains, because that’s where they think the opportunity is,” said he declared. “But if you look at the addressable market, there are over a million hotel properties, while there are only about 70,000 chain properties… We have a very good split between independent family businesses and global channels. “
As big data analytics continues to mature as a discipline and different industries become more digital savvy, we have seen a number of startups emerge with tools to suit verticals, sizes of industry and industry. business and specific use cases. (Just earlier this week, Pigment – which provides better forecasting tools to fund teams that get by with Excel – raised $ 73 million.)
In the case of OTA Insight, its opportunity is to tap into a group of users – hoteliers – who not only are under new pressures in terms of the business climate, but who have turned to, and are now ready to go. to invest in more digital tools to help them better navigate this new climate.
“We see this incredible opportunity, because even though the headlines [for travel] are not great in terms of the trajectory of the pandemic, I think over the three to five year horizon, people are really optimistic about the rebound in travel, about people’s desire to go out and have new experiences ” , Fitzpatrick said. “We are seeing very strong interest coming in in terms of investing in hotel technology, but we are also seeing hotels also evaluating their own technology stacks, looking for opportunities to maybe do things differently. Things have changed quite profoundly in the industry, so this is a very important opportunity. “
The gap between the interactions hotels have with their users and what they understand about those users’ intentions is pretty huge. On the one hand, they register them, provide them with a place to sleep for the night and potentially many other services. On the other hand, they usually don’t have a lot of visibility into what these users want or have searched for online, sometimes resulting in a reservation with their hotel, and sometimes not. The direct experience of this was, in fact, part of what prompted the founders to start the business: planning a trip to London from Belgium for the 2012 Olympics, Gino Engels and his friends didn’t. could find hotel rooms that weren’t painful. Dear. And yet, after their arrival, they could see that many hotels had spaces and drastically lowered their prices. They saw that there had to be a better way to handle it.
OTA Insight today provides various business analysis and BI tools to hotel operators – called Market Insight, Rate Insight, Revenue Insight, and Parity Insight – to help them understand how to price and manage room availability, which they can use to help them understand how to rate and manage room availability. tower be used on their own account. direct sales and manage sales through third-party channels. For now, the company is not reselling its technology through aggregators like Booking.com or Airbnb, although you can imagine that one day this could also become an opportunity to grow its business, as these platforms are also looking for better ways. to serve their hotel customers. .
A portion of Series B will be used to continue investing in OTA Insight’s technology stack.
“We are very excited about our customers’ response to our latest products and innovations,” said Gino Engels, co-founder and CCO of OTA Insight. “With this investment, we will accelerate our expansion in all regions in 2022, but particularly in the Americas, where we have seen an incredible recovery.”
Steve LeSieur, Managing Director of Spectrum Equity who is joining the board with this round, said greater market potential is one of the main reasons his company has invested now.
“OTA Insight is at the forefront of delivering real-time information and broader business decision support to an industry that is rapidly adopting dynamic intelligence to stay competitive and optimize performance,” said he said in a statement to TechCrunch. “We have been impressed with the growth of OTA over the past few years, including during the pandemic, which has resulted in a very strategic customer footprint in the global hotel market. We believe the company is very well positioned and is just getting started.