Germany / US: Munich-based holiday rental search engine Holidu is extending its growth into the United States with the appointment of former Booking.com regional director for North America, Stephen Thresh, as its new managing director for North America.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic hitting the travel industry especially hard, Holidu has emerged from it by achieving significant growth over the last 12 months, including generating a seven-figure operating profit.
Founded in 2014 by brothers Johannes and Michael Siebers with the mission to make finding and booking of vacation rentals as easy as possible, Holidu is now one of the fastest-growing travel tech companies in the world, with more than 25 million users visiting the company’s website each month.
The company plans to continue this success with its strategy to expand its reach in the US market.
Thresh will lead Holidu’s expansion into the United States and brings over 20 years of relevant travel experience, most notably from working with Booking.com. His time there included being responsible for the company’s successful entry into the Australian market in 2008, and growing the brand from the ground up to attain the number one market position within five years.
Thresh said: “I am very excited to be heading up Holidu’s expansion into the US market. Holidu has helped its European partners grow tremendously over the last years and I look forward to also serve US-based agencies with incremental demand for their rentals.”
He added that the decision to expand into the USA was based upon the idea of it being time to take advantage, as the best opportunities can come out of adversity.
Holidu’s strategy is not only to compare vacation rental offers from large providers but to also bring in local property managers to provide travellers with the largest selection at the best prices.
The company’s image recognition technology automatically detects duplicate listings and offers up the lowest priced rental. The strategy has proven successful in Europe with more than 1,500 property managers using the platform, and Holidu plans to duplicate this successful strategy as it expands further into the US market.
Holidu co-founder and CEO, Johannes Siebers, said: “We are thrilled to have Stephen on board, his wealth of experience and aligned vision with Holidu make him the perfect candidate to take on this challenge of growing the business in the US, not as a separate entity but as an expansion of the EU business to maintain our core Holidu culture and values.”
The appointment of Thresh comes eight months after the firm received more than €4 million in investment from Kees Koolen, the former CEO of Booking.com. The funding injection was part of a €5 million extension to the €40 million Series C round that the company had secured the previous year.