The Rotterdam-based startup Vakanties.nl has received an investment of €5 million from its co-founder and a founder of Triton-acquired Sunweb, Joost Romeijn. The startup uses machine learning to personalise the list of options for accommodations, rental cars and flights that each visitor sees. The investment will be used to develop a non-linear chatbot to serve 50,000 travellers next year and up to 250,000 by the year 2024.
Founded in 2017 by Judith Eyck and Joost Romeijn, Vakanties.nl is trying to help travellers find what they are looking for, by bundling services together with the use of machine learning and the abovementioned bot.
Judith Eyck, co-founder and managing director of Vakanties.nl explains the way it works: “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. And dealing with a non-linear bot 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 is also special for Romeijn — both a co-founder and an investor in the startup:
“Whenever someone asks me what makes Vakanties.nl so special, I say that this company is uniquely built around making optimal use of data. 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.”
According to Eyck, after the last year revenues grew from one to ten million euros, the recent funding puts Vakanties.nl in a position to grow even more quickly.