A technology platform to help travel agents put together quotes for group bookings is looking to expand in the UK having completed a round of funding.
Groupcorner has 23,000 accommodation listings across Europe and is already live with 7,000 agents in France, where it launched in 2013.
After receiving a €3 million cash injection it hopes to expand its offering to agents across Europe, with the UK – where it launched in January 2017 and makes up 19% of Groupcorner’s bookings – a primary focus.
Groupcorner provides a platform designed to help agents find accommodation suitable for groups of ten or more. Agents can search by destination, dates, number of guests and group type (eg business, family, sport). It takes a slice of the agent’s commission from the accommodation provider in return.
chief executive Antoine de Corson said: “The problem with groups is hotels are not going to give you availability for 15 bedrooms without checking. It can be a long and painful process but we are trying to make it easy. You could say it’s like a HomeAway for travel agents booking groups.”
The platform can be used by direct customers but it has a ‘pro’ arm for agents and travel professionals.
It also has a payment system that allows each member of the group to pay separately, rather than one member of the group collecting money on each individual’s behalf, which de Corson said made changes easier to make.
“Everything is complicated in group bookings,” he said. “We try to make it simple.”
Groupcorner’s European expansion has since continued in Spain, from January 2018, and within the last month in the Netherlands.
“We will grow into more and more countries [as source markets],” said de Corson. “We already in every country in Europe as a destination but now we want every country to have potential new clients.”
The €3 million, raised from investors including ISAI, SIDE Capital and BDR IT, will be spent on enhancing its technology.
Christophe Raynaud – chief executive and co-founder of ISAI, said: “Groupcorner is an excellent example. Their strategy undertaken these last few years to become the leader in group accommodation bookings is unique. ISAI knows very well the potential of these marketplaces since we have invested in Blablacar or Evaneos. We hope to give Groupcorner the means to realize its potential and encourage them in their ambition to become a global leader.”