Dormoa raises £285k in first funding round

Italy: Vacation rental listing channel Dormoa has raised £285,000 in a funding round after pivoting due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The startup’s first-ever funding round began in January 2020 when it raised £250,000 in investment, including reaching 35 per cent of its target within just 30 days. However, the round was disrupted in February when Italy first went into lockdown and the tourism industry shut down, leading the company to bounce back by announcing the opening of the Italian domestic market.

With an ultimate aim to open in every European city by 2022, Dormoa is seeking to become the first holiday rentals site for Italian travellers, offering its users a range of select vacation rental accommodation that is tailored to the specific needs of the market.

Dormoa founder and director, Silvia Montini, said: “We have been pivoting super fast, working non-stop trying to analyse all the market changes and make our business model more adequate for them.”

The Italian travel market accounts for more than 71.8 million trips per year with a recorded growth of 19.5 per cent since 2017. In terms of reservations through online travel agencies [OTAs], the Italian market is in the early stages of changing from a conventional to a more contemporary approach towards booking holidays.

According to Dormoa, the majority of OTAs in the market, such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor and Expedia, are utilising the same advertisements, offers and strategies across all the countries they operate in. At the same time, the startup believes it does not take into account the “fundamental” need to differentiate among particular countries in order to meet specific market demands.

Instead, Dormoa is trying to differentiate itself by offering an online booking platform that is completely tailored to the needs of the Italian market in terms of marketing strategy, services and technology.

The startup’s journey began in 2019, when it launched its first pilot test, offering Italians holiday apartments in London. Over the first 12 months, Dormoa saw a surge in popularity, reaching over 120,000 sales across just 200 listings, and gaining more than 40,000 followers on social media.

Dormoa was founded by Silvia Montini, who was also a founder and director of Charmstay.com, a holiday rental management company with over 5000 tourists per year operating in London, Spain and Italy.

In the meantime, Dormoa has launched two projects which it has been working towards since June:

  • Over 2000 selected holiday apartments in Italy, now reaching over 5,000 properties.
  • The first Italian tourist app, launching a project called #viaggiareitaliano, in partnership with hundreds of Italian bloggers. The app now contains more than 3000 itineraries and over 1000 experiences that Italians can enjoy in their own country and in London.