Briefing Business

With Travel Spending Set To Roar Back, TripActions Snaps Up Europe’s Comtravo

Illustration of computer monitor with traveler and airplane.

TripActions, the provider of integrated travel, corporate card and expense management tools, has been no slouch on the fundraising front. Since 2020, the Palo Alto, California-based company has raised over $550 million in growth funding and $500 million in debt financing.

Now, the 7-year-old company is demonstrating it can spend big too. Today, TripActions announced it is acquiring Comtravo, a travel management company focused on Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia.

TripActions said the purchase brings its total investment in Europe and the U.K. during the past year to over $400 million. In May, the company acquired London-based travel and events service Reed & Mackay, and it currently maintains offices in at least eight cities in Europe and the U.K..

The spending spree comes as business travel is showing signs of picking up amid the loosening of some pandemic-induced restrictions. 

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Global business travel spending is expected to surge this year with full recovery expected in 2024, according to a forecast from the Global Business Travel Association. After declining over 50 percent in 2020, global expenditures are estimated to have rebounded 14 percent in 2021 to $754 billion. By 2024, the space is forecast to have made a full recovery, ending the year at $1.48 trillion.

The pandemic also dragged down funding to travel-focused startups. In 2020, investment in  venture-backed travel and tourism startups fell to a five-year low, a year defined by the COVID-19 pandemic and the stay-at-home mandates that came with it.

But activity has been on the rise there as well. In 2021, investors put around $9 billion globally into seed, venture and growth-stage investments in travel-focused sectors, per Crunchbase data. That’s more than double 2020 levels.

So far in 2022, the largest round for a travel-focused company went to Barcelona-based TravelPerk. The company, which is also a provider of travel and expense management services for business customers, raised $115 million in Series D financing.

Meanwhile, even with travel spending projected to return to pre-pandemic levels, operators in the space are looking at a changed landscape. Live conferences are now increasingly hybrid events, with many attending virtually rather than in person. The ubiquity of video meetings diminishes some demand for face-to-face interaction. 

Yet at the same time, the rise of distributed workforces has led to rising demand for travel services to plan team outings. These days, a simple commute will often no longer suffice to bring everyone together.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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