Vakanties.nl has recently announced that it has received an investment of €5 million from Sunweb founder, Joost Romeijn. The Rotterdam-based startup bundles listings for accommodations, rental cars and flights. It uses machine learning to personalise the list of options that each visitor sees. The investment will be used to develop a non-linear chatbot to serve 50,000 travellers next year.
Judith Eyck, co-founder and managing director of Vakanties.nl says,
Joost Romeijn is not only involved as an entrepreneurial visionary who helps me by providing inspiration and coaching. He is also once again putting more skin in the game. That puts us in a position to grow more quickly. Last year already, our revenues grew from one to ten million euros. We hope to continue on that path of fast-paced growth.
Eyck is among the nine nominees for the de LOEY Talent award.
Joost Romeijn says,
Whenever someone asks me what makes Vakanties.nl so special, I say that this company is uniquely built around making optimal use of data. In that regard, Vakanties.nl is operating on a par with Silicon Valley. That’s something that we in the Netherlands can all be proud of. The strong focus on data means it is much easier for Vakanties.nl to scale up the personalisation of its offering than it is for its competitors.
‘The Netflix of travel’
Eyck first had the idea for Vakanties.nl while booking a holiday for herself. “The travel agent asked me a few questions and, after that, I chose from three options for a trip to Gran Canaria. I thought, isn’t it bizarre that this kind of personalised travel experience isn’t available online? Often, you have to go through thousands of options, and it’s easy to lose track of what you’re even looking at. Vakanties.nl solves that problem. Our ambition is to present travellers with three to five suitable options, based on an automated conversation with them, or using behavioural data. It’s just like a real travel agency, except online. Kind of like Netflix, but then for travel.”
Vakanties.nl hopes to serve 50,000 travellers in the year ahead. The goal for 2024 is 250,000.
This means our service must be better than what our competitors offer. That’s why we are currently working on developing our own chatbot that is smarter than other bots. Dealing with a non-linear bot like this is very much like having a conversation with a human. It can answer all the basic questions. That frees up my colleagues so they can spend more time on providing real service.
Vakanties.nl was founded in 2017 by Judith Eyck and Joost Romeijn. Based in Rotterdam, the company uses machine learning to bundle services and help travellers find what they are looking for. Currently, it employs nineteen people.
— Press release
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