Tripping.com Expands in Europe to Add Vacation Rental Bookings

  • Search engine seeks $500 million gross bookings in 2016
  • CEO Jen O'Neal: Tripping `not far' from profitability

Tripping.com is expanding in Europe as the search engine for vacation rentals seeks to take advantage of an increase in tourism and triple the value of bookings flowing through its site to about $500 million this year.

San Francisco-based Tripping is starting in Germany this week and is considering entering countries including France, U.K., Spain and the Nordics within the next 12 months, said Chief Executive Officer Jen O’Neal.

“We have a clear path to profitability and we’re not far away from it,” O’Neal said in an interview in Berlin. The company plans to integrate more listings, open an office in Germany and hire local marketing officials to boost its brand in Europe’s biggest economy, she said.

An expansion to Europe means taking on rivals such as HomeToGo, which is also betting on consumer demand for aggregated vacation search results. Tripping, which employs about 25 and helped generate $100 million in gross bookings in the first quarter, offers users access to 8 million property listings at partner sites such as Booking.com, HomeAway and VRBO, two million of which are instantly bookable. The company’s backers include Qunar.com Inc. co-founder Fritz Demopoulos, former Expedia Inc. CEO Erik Blachford and Recruit Holdings Co.

Tourism is a growing sector. The number of overnight visitors who traveled to international destinations rose by about 50 million last year, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Germans spent $92 billion on tourism in 2014, the third-most of any nation after China and the U.S., the UNWTO said.

Tripping, which raised $16 million led by Steadfast Venture Capital last year, is "thinking about" another financing round if the right investor comes along, O’Neal said. "But we don’t need” to raise cash, she said.

The company makes money by receiving referral fees when a potential traveler visits a booking site through its service, and by collecting a part of the booking fee when a user reserves a trip.

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