PARIS – A second round of funding for the leader in group bookings for Europe and the United Kingdom marks the launch of Groupcorner Pro, its new free service designed for travel agencies. A new chapter opens for the successful start up, after successfully beginning services to Spain over the past few months.
With more than 23,000 accommodation listings in Europe, Groupcorner continues to stand out as the foremost platform for group reservations of 10 rooms or more.
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Steady growth has allowed the company to triple in size each year since 2016, and today Groupcorner is the number one european website that lets groups – companies, clubs, travel agencies – obtain the best offers and find the ideal accommodation quickly and simply.
Groupcorner’s UK market segment also shows strong growth: booking requests from the United Kingdom tripled in volume between 2017 and 2018, now representing 19 % of Groupcorner’s activity.
Groupcorner has become a valuable tool for organizing company meetings, finding accommodation for school groups, music tours, sports travel teams, leisure tour groups or family reunions. Most other booking websites with instant reservation systems cannot meet the specific needs for group requests: availability, special requirements or services and contract negotiation.
Clients take advantage of Groupcorner’s technology to save precious time thanks to multi-posting and project control tools offered to users on the platform, along with accommodation offers perfectly suited to their needs from specially selected properties. Groupcorner’s intelligent algorithms define each client request in detail. Accommodation providers benefit from improvements in yield management to better offset fixed costs and get access to pre-qualified sales leads.
Groupcorner Pro, the first free group booking service designed for travel agencies
To enhance services designed especially for travel professionals, the start up is launching a new resource: Groupcorner Pro.
This unique and custom-made service will meet the needs of travel agencies by taking over the management of time-consuming tasks (searching for hotels, emails, phone calls and follow-ups). Travel agents can concentrate their energies on value-added services and customer relations. The end result: saving time and improving efficiency for the agencies without giving up direct contact with hotels. This simple, free, nocommittment solution is available to over 7000 travel agencies in France. They can access a unique database of some 23 000 properties selected by Groupcorner that meet the specific needs of all types of groups (large capacity, accesibilty, …) and benefit from the personalized support of a Groupcorner Advisor.
Another benefit for agencies: Groupcorner shares a percentage of its commission (depending on booking volume levels) collected from the properties.
Series A Funding: a new level up in the growth of Groupcorner
To strengthen future development and create new services, the start up has received a new injection of cash to the order of 3 million euros from several stake holders including ISAI, an internet entrepreneur investment fund led by Christophe Raynaud but also from SIDE Capital (whose founder Renaud Guillerm is a Groupcorner board member) and BDR IT, a legacy stockholder from the previous funding round.
Also joining the venture are BPI and 2 business angels bringing industry experience: Patrice Thiry, founder of Prowebce (bought out by Edenred) and Guillaume de Marcillac, co-founder of Egencia, and former CEO of Fastbooking (digital Business Unit of Accorhotel) and current CEO of TravelFactory.
“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” says Christophe Raynaud, CEO and co-founder of ISAI.
“Two years after our initial investment, we have decided to renew our support and our confidence in the development possibilities for Groupcorner. The company has since 2016 consolidated the relevence of its positioning in the group tourism sector and its growth objectives. Our new backing will allow them to accelerate their growth and propose new services to meet the needs of the market” says Renaud Guillerm, Managing partner of Side Capital.
Following its initial funding round of 1,2 million euros in 2016, Groupcorner continued to grow exponentially within the group tourism market in Europe which represents 154 billion euros (business and leisure segments for 2017). The company covers all main destinations in Europe, introducing new markets and destinations throughout Europe over the past months (United Kingdom and Spain). To illustrate the rapid growth, just three months after launch, the new service for Spain had already reached over 1,000 client requests.
Strengthened by this success, the start up based in Southern Burgundy with headquarters in the Cluny Abbey will be hiring more employees to meet the needs of clients making thousands of group requests on the website each month. The continued growth has bolstered the start up’s strategy in proposing a wide range of destinations and properties in order to meet the different needs of all kinds of groups. Recent successes in new destinations has proved this strategy can be duplicated in many European countries.
An Ambitious Strategy
The launch of Groupcorner Pro and the new round of funding will allow the startup to accomplish their goals for expansion. Their ambitions are strengthened by a series of actions already intiated:
- Payment solutions for accommodation properties: a new service that eases the customer/hotel relationship. Management of client payments, often a headache for the properties, is solved by Groupcorner thanks to an innovative payment system using virtual IBAN account numbers. Simplification and tracking are the main benefits which this new automated payment solution brings in order to provide financial security to the hotels.
- White Label Partnerships proposed by Groupcorner to leader platforms of individual tourism, offering the opportunity to integrate the start up’s expertise to expand their range and increase revenue by proposing group services.
- Continued international development with the opening in the coming months of new destinations: the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.
- Hiring: the team will be reinforced by hiring another 10 employees before the end of the year to bolster the sales team dedicated to travel agencies for the launch of Groupcorner Pro, as well as the sales management, marketing and IT (developers) and the operational teams (management of new countries).
- Expansion of the “Transportation” offer, established last January.
“I am especially proud of what we have accomplished up until now : the development of a unique platform for accommodation all across Europe to satisfy an ever more diverse and numerous clientele. Our latest success with the launch of the United Kingdom and Spain confirms our expansion strategy in Europe. Thanks to the trust from ISAI and our legacy investors such as SIDE Capital, we will be able to accelerate our growth and increase our marketing efforts while enriching the services we propose on our platform” says Antoine de Corson, founder and CEO of Groupcorner.