Friday, February 23, 2024

Layla acquires AI itinerary bot Roam Around, enhancing trip planning experience

startup Layla has made waves in the industry with its recent acquisition of AI-powered itinerary building bot Roam Around, marking a significant move to boost its trip planning capabilities.

Backed by a consortium of investors including firstminute Capital, M13, and notable figures such as Booking.com co-founder Andy Phillips and Skyscanner co-founder Barry Smith, Layla's acquisition of Roam Around signifies a strategic alignment to strengthen its position in the competitive travel tech landscape.

Roam Around, founded by Shie Gabbai, a former Google employee with experience developing Waze, quickly gained traction since its inception last year. With substantial investments totalling US$1 million from backers like FLYR.com and renowned investor Jason Calacanis, Roam Around amassed an impressive portfolio of 10 million itineraries and attracted half a million monthly visitors to its platform.

The acquisition includes integrating Roam Around's talented team of five members into Layla's operations. Layla, which entered the market publicly last year, introduced an innovative AI-powered bot to simplify user trip planning. Co-founded by Jeremy Jauncey, known for his work with the travel agency Beautiful Destinations, Layla leverages a diverse content library from travel creators to offer users unique insights and visual experiences when exploring potential destinations.

According to Saad Saeed, co-founder of Layla, acquiring Roam Around complements Layla's existing strengths, particularly in itinerary building and partnerships with leading travel platforms such as TripAdvisor, Kayak, Viator, and GetYourGuide. Saeed emphasized the synergies between the two companies, stating, “Roam Around has experienced remarkable growth in the travel AI sector, particularly with its itinerary product, garnering significant customer traction. Our strengths and focus areas complement each other well.”

The integration process has already commenced, with Layla incorporating Roam Around's product into its platform to enhance the quality of itinerary data available to users. Simultaneously, Layla's bot will be integrated into Roam Around's site, offering users a seamless experience across both platforms. Saeed revealed plans to gradually phase out the Roam Around brand and fully integrate its services with Layla.

Layla acquires AI itinerary bot Roam Around, enhancing trip planning experience - 2

Rising trend in travel tech integration

Layla's acquisition of Roam Around underscores the growing trend of integration and innovation within the travel tech sector. like Layla are leveraging AI capabilities to streamline users' trip planning processes while also incorporating influencer-driven content to provide personalized recommendations.

Similarly, established players like Kayak and Expedia have introduced GPT Plugins to enhance their services, while Matador Network's GuideGeek tool offers real-time flight details alongside influencer videos. Layla's approach aligns with Matador's strategy, aiming to embed influencer content within search results to enrich user experience.

MapMyIndia has backed startup Kogo, focusing on AI-based solutions to enhance localized travel experiences in India. As competition in the travel tech space intensifies, the integration of AI-driven tools and influencer content is poised to become a cornerstone of industry innovation, catering to the evolving needs of modern travellers.

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Gabriela Gavrailova
Gabriela Gavrailova
Gabriela is a freelance news editor at Tech Edition, where she writes about technology and often does listicles and product reviews. Based in Austria, Gabriela is a person with many and diverse hobbies. If you don't find her reading a book at home or baking something, she will probably be out hiking or taking some classes to learn a new skill.

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