Antwerp-based startup Live the World, has today announced the acquisition of its competitor, itinari. The Belgian traveltech is now preparing to attract new investments and spread its adventurous, personalized approach to travel booking on a global level.
The travel industry continues to be one on the move. It’s a sector which is full of fresh innovation and creative new ideas that are bringing travellers the experiences they want. Planning, booking and experiencing travels and adventures have moved beyond the area of a generic package, and travellers increasingly seek a more tailor-made, local experience that brings them more immersion in local culture and communities.
It’s a trend that is being facilitated by startups and innovators, and in Europe, the space is hotting up. Now, Belgian platform Live the World has snapped up itinari to give people worldwide better access to authentic travel experiences and possibilities.
The transaction, for an undisclosed amount, sees Antwerp-based Live the World, being able to tap into itinari’s broad follower base. The Belgian startup attracts 5 million visitors a year, giving its users access to more than 5000 travel stores and tips from locals in about 65 countries. This extensive content and follower base will now become accessible to Live the WOrld.
By combining its user-friendly interface with the authentic stories from itinari, Live the World aims to be the platform for people worldwide in search of authentic travel experiences.
As a result of the transaction, Seeder Fund, 4Ventures and Sambrinvest will become new shareholders of Live the World.
Joris Vanherp, CEO of Live the World: “Travelers are tired of seeing the same listicles of top-x things to do over and over again. They are looking for more unique experiences that really leave a mark. The only way to find these is by connecting with real locals. With Live the World and itinari, we make that happen by collecting tips and tricks from real locals all over the world, and showing the most relevant ones to our visitors.”
“Most travel companies need to attract customers via paid marketing (Google, Facebook, Instagram ads), and it’s really a race to the bottom – only the ad providers are winning. As we’re moving to a cookie-less world, it will only become more difficult to reach a targeted audience that converts. With Live the World, we are developing AI technology that can understand who the visitor is and what he or she is looking for – on-the-fly – based on the content they’re reading. This way we’re transforming our visitors into highly-qualified leads for our partners, eventually leading to higher conversion.”
According to research by Booking.com, 68% of travellers want authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture. Amadeus 2022 Travel Trends also points to an increase in searches for ‘epic destinations and experiences’.
Call it a result of the Instagram generation, but travellers want to do something special, and unique in their travel experiences. They want to have an experience that reflects their personality, taps into their specific tastes and gives them something they can share with friends and family.
Founded in 2020, Live the World aims to make travel planning an enjoyable experience, giving users the chance to curate the trips of their dreams. Its digital interactive map gives an overview of adventurous walks, city trips and other activities that users can save for later or use to build their trip and directly book experiences.
It additionally provides bite-sized content and personalized recommendations on ideas. Live the World is also an efficient marketing tool for companies in the tourism sector. Travel agencies, hotels and tourist organizations can offer their services to the right target groups. The artificial intelligence of the platform ensures ten times more successful matches between traveller and provider.
Joris Vanherp: “People are clearly looking for alternatives to the busy tourist attractions, and it is locals who can give the best tips about this. We make it easy for people to find that information.”
Now, it’ll be joined by the impressive local travel content library that itinari has.
Founded in 2016, itinari is a reference point for travellers, giving users access to the best-hidden secrets around the world. It hosts a global network of editors to provide travel-inspo and ideas to a growing base of users.
Nicolas Casula, founder of itinari, will remain on board as an advisor to Live the World: “The synergy between the two companies was natural because of our common goal: serving travellers worldwide with authentic, inspiring content. Itinari’s content will act as a lever for Live the World’s ambition to match every user with their ideal journey. As a consultant, I am happy to help the company on its path to global expansion.”
Live the World is active worldwide and currently has the most users in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the Benelux, with the goal to grow visitor numbers to 10 million by 2025. In addition, Live the World wants to improve the personalisation of user recommendations using artificial intelligence. This acquisition will help extend the possibilities forLive the WOrld.
Pierre-François Hellebuyck, VC at Seeder fund: “By leveraging the assets and strong organic traffic of itinari.com, Live The World is well positioned to play a leading role in the travel industry. As an early investor, we are excited to continue supporting this ambition as a shareholder of Live the World.”
Joris Vanherp: “With this acquisition, we see an enormous increase in scale where we are able to offer our users a much wider range of unique experiences. It allows us to make great strides in technology and to build stronger partnerships with travel companies. We are very excited that we can now further build on our vision together.”