It all started in 2014 when HolidayMe founders Digvijay Pratap and Geet Bhalla realized that booking a holiday in the Middle East was a cumbersome task. So they decided to found an online travel booking site especially for travelers to the area.
“People in the Middle East were still dependent on the local travel agent for booking a holiday. There was no local online travel portal which gave them a platform to book a fully customizable holiday online in a simplified manner,” says Geet.
With over US$7 million in investments received so far from Silicon Valley-based VC firm Accel Partners and Saudi-based F&C Overseas Investment, Dubai-based travel startup HolidayMe plans to woo travelers in the Middle East.
Most of the funding will be used in recruitment and to boost IT infrastructure.
An initial round of funding of around US$4 million was provided by the Saudi Arabian trading giant Al Sanie.
HolidayMe specializes both in dynamic packages and bundled deals and claims to have more than 8,000 activities and tours available and operates ground transfer with partners.
Geet Bhalla, co-founder and CEO of HolidayMe, said: “We are currently at a very important stage in terms of growth and expansion. “The funding will be used to further scale up our technology, accelerate customer growth, make key strategic hires and expand regionally.”
Most internet travel agencies offered consumers the option of pre-made vacation packages. But a passenger couldn’t alter their reservations. The founders and a team of three individuals started brainstorming in a small room in a row home in an effort to find a solution to the burden of personalised travel booking.
HolidayMe allows users to book customized holidays – including hotels, activities, and transfers – in a few simple clicks and get real-time confirmations. HolidayMe offers users extreme customization: your travel planning through the service can include airport pickup and drop-off, tourist activities, and hiring guides.
A survey of existing HolidayMe customers revealed that around 79.4 percent of respondents preferred complete holiday packages that include hotels, flights, activities, and transportation. Those looking only for hotels and flights came in a distant second at 11.9 percent; 8.7 percent sought hotels, activities, and transportation.
“Specifics – like a preference for complete holiday packages, price range, family vacations, among others – are key to us offering intelligent and convenient customer service,” added co-founder Digvijay Pratap.