In today’s announcement, travel start-up Layla, backed by high-profile organizations such as firstminute Capital, and M13 and high-profile figures such as Booking.com co-founder Andy Phillips, Skyscanner’s Barry Smith and celebrity Paris Hilton, has completed its acquisition of the planner trips based on AI Roam Around.
Just last year, Roam Around was launched by tech geek Shi Gabbai, who used to be part of the Google team behind Waze. The startup has raised $1 million in investment from a roster of backers, including FLYR.com and angel investor Jason Calakanis. Following the acquisition, Roam Around’s five-person team will merge with Layla’s team. Since its inception, Roam Around has created a significant number of 10 million travel itineraries that attract approximately half a million visitors to its website each month.
Debuting last year, Layla introduced an inventive AI bot designed to streamline the travel planning process for users, leveraging resources from platforms like Booking.com and Skyscanner. Renowned travel industry leader Jeremy Jaunsey of Beautiful Destinations co-founded this ground-breaking venture. As such, Layla has an extensive collection of travel content at its disposal, providing potential travelers with compelling visuals and video clips tailored to their search for the perfect vacation destination.
Layla co-founder Saad Saeed commented on the synergy between the two companies, expressing confidence that Roam Around’s expertise in developing detailed travel itineraries and its alliances with platforms such as TripAdvisor, Kayak, Viotr, and GetYourGuide will complement Layla’s offering.
“In the travel technology space, Roam Around has become one of the fastest-growing AI organizations, making waves with its routing solutions and quickly winning over consumers. With our successes in leveraging social platforms, the merger represented a perfect combination of mutual strengths,” he said during an interview with TechCrunch.
“Layla has already begun to seamlessly integrate Roam Around offers into our service, thus providing users with excellent route information. At the same time, the Roam Around site now also has an intuitive Layla bot,” Saeed added, hinting at plans to phase out the Roam Around brand and fully integrate it into the Layla experience.
With GPT plugins taking first steps on platforms like Kayak and Expedia, and the Matador Network launching its GuideGeek tool for instant flight data, the technology landscape of the travel industry is rapidly evolving. Matador, for example, is trying to emulate Layla’s strategy of including content created by influencers in user search results. In parallel, Indian geo-tech concern MapMyIndia is launching a startup called Kogo, which aims to create an AI-driven tool designed to improve the travel experience with an emphasis on localization.