Last minute holiday rental provider, Snaptrip.com has secured a £2.1m investment round and completed the acquisition of Last Minute Cottages, which includes the websites lastminute-cottages.co.uk, big-cottages.com and henpartyvenues.co.uk.
Existing investor Bestport Ventures, who previously backed the company in 2015, led the new funding round, which also included Snaptrip.com’s other institutional shareholder Forward Partners. Several current and new Angel investors participated in the round, including Matthew Witt, former Chief Operating Officer of Active Hotels (acquired by Booking.com).
Featuring in Startups.co.uk Top 100 list in 2015 and 2016, Snaptrip.com was founded in April 2014 by Matt Fox and Dan Harrison. It offers the largest range of last minute, discounted UK holiday properties and brings them together in a one stop marketplace.
The investment raised has been used to acquire Last Minute Cottages Limited and it will also fund new marketing initiatives to develop the group of businesses and to fuel the expansion of the group into mainland Europe.
Commenting on the funding and acquisition, Snaptrip.com CEO Matt Fox says: “This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to the last minute cottage market, and our focus on dominating the huge opportunity to help managers and owners of holiday rental properties to sell off unsold inventory for spontaneous, bargain hunting consumers. Due to the quality and lifespan of the websites operated by Last Minute Cottages, they each have a really strong organic search engine presence. The resulting site traffic will provide us with a fantastic boost to our growing position as the UK’s biggest and best ‘last minute’ self-catering brand.
“This will be Snaptrip.com’s first time working with individual homeowners. While Snaptrip.com lists the inventory of professionally managed rental agencies such as Sykes Cottages, Cottages.com, Hoseasons, Holiday Cottages and the Original Cottage Company, Last Minute Cottages works with individual owners who advertise their properties with the websites. We’ve previously had a lot of owners express interest in adding their properties to Snaptrip.com and this gives us a platform to work with.
“With the additional websites that Last Minute Cottages operate, our plan is to maintain the existing sites as they are, upholding links with owners and growing the traffic and bookings across all our portfolio businesses.”
Owners of Devon-based Last Minute Cottages, Jill Nielson and Judy Lawson, added: “We have been running Last Minute Cottages for over 10 years and whilst it is something we love, we both have other interests we’d like to pursue. We have been approached by companies in the past that wanted to buy Last Minute Cottages but we never felt like they were the right companies or the right time for us to proceed.
“Snaptrip.com has a very personal approach to business, it is run by a highly skilled and dedicated team and backed by a group of respected investors. We immediately got the sense from the management team that our business would not only be in good hands but be in a fantastic position to progress to the next stage. We have grown to see many of our owners as friends over the years and knowing the sector as we do we wanted to make sure that the best interests of our advertisers were always a priority. Snaptrip.com respects this and what it wants to do with the business was crucial to our decision.”
Since its first recorded booking, Snaptrip.com has seen more than 130% growth year on year. Along with being listed the top travel start up two years in a row by Startups.co.uk, Snaptrip.com was also crowned The Next Big Thing in Travel at the 2016 World Travel Market.