You may remember Packlate from the very first Switch Philly. The company works with private property managers to create a database of discounted last-minute travel destinations for flexible consumers. Turns out, however, that the inventory of thousands of private vacation homes is more valuable than CEO and Founder Steve Barsh anticipated.
“We have real-time rates and available and the ability to instantly confirm a reservation. This [private housing] inventory doesn’t exist globally,” says Barsh.
Early last year, Packlate was approached by a travel wholesale company that provide listings to travel sites like American Airlines, Expedia and others. These companies act as middlemen between travel agents/booking sites and hotels. Previously, they could only provide hotels as listings, but they now use Packlate’s database of private property owners to also provide the small cabin in Aspen along with the room at the Maryott.
“Packlate gets very little traffic compared to an Airbnb, but if you go to the American Airlines travel site…you’ll start seeing homes all over the place,” says Barsh. “That’s our inventory and we’re the only way to get it there.”
Packlate has been slowly transitioning away from direct bookings to its new focus for about a year. A task that had its small staff jetting all over the world to work with remote development teams while attempting to add to its database of properties.
“We though it would take us about three months, turns out it was more like a year,” he says. “It was hard, like birthing a baby sideways”
The hard work has paid off as the company has increased revenue by a factor of ten (from $600,000 to $6 million) and is hiring developers to continue its expansion.
“The pivot is going after this huge market our revenue has been doubling each of the last four months,” says Barsh who also added that the company will seek a small Series A round early next year.
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