BookOutdoors launches following $4m seed funding round

US: Travel tech startup BookOutdoors has officially launched in 12 US states off the back of raising $4 million in a seed funding round towards the end of last year.

The round was led by GreatPoint Ventures, with participation from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed fund, R-Squared Ventures, and former C-level executives from the travel and hospitality industries, including Aman Bhutani, a former president of Expedia, and Brendan Bank, the former CTO of Booking.com.

Founded in late 2021 with a mission to enable people to plan and book outdoor travel in an easier way, BookOutdoors has gone live in 12 states across the United States with an extensive selection of campgrounds, RV parks, cabins and glamping resorts. The startup aims to use its funding to rapidly expand across the rest of the country and Canada, as well as to add more properties.

Andrew Perlman, managing partner at GreatPoint Ventures, said: “We’re excited to support BookOutdoors in their mission to make it easier for people to experience and enjoy the outdoors. We believe there is a large and untapped opportunity to vastly improve the outdoor travel planning experience.

“The BookOutdoors team has positioned themselves to lead the market,” he added.

In 2021, camping accounted for 40 per cent of all leisure trips taken, with more than half of travellers [53 per cent] including camping in some or all of their travel, according to the 2022 KOA North American Camping Report. However, BookOutdoors believes it is well placed to provide a single destination for outdoor travel accommodation searches and address the fragmentation of camping inventory in the industry.

BookOutdoors co-founder and CEO, Brian Nolan, said: “Talk to anyone who’s tried to plan and book a camping trip lately, and you’ll learn the experience is still pretty dreadful. Today’s guests actively crave a more comprehensive booking experience with modern features and benefits they’ve come to expect in the digital age.

“We’re taking best practices from industries we know very well, like e-commerce and traditional hospitality, and applying it to outdoor travel, which is very fragmented and has traditionally been behind on technology,” he added.

Describing itself as the “anti-metaverse”, BookOutdoors offers a range of benefits with every eligible reservation, including weather protection, travel insurance, personal assistance by a concierge team, and a discounts and awards loyalty programme in order to make it easier for travellers to organise outdoor stays. In addition, the platform does not require booking fees or memberships for reservations, and offers optional Cancel For Any Reason coverage to provide maximum flexibility for travellers and peace of mind for property managers.

BookOutdoors has also partnered with reservation systems NewBook and ResNexus to offer platform integrations for rapid onboarding and data syncing.