For a lot of modern travelers, the first thing you do after picking a destination is nab a vacation rental and start scheduling some activities. A former HomeAway executive has started a new company with an offering that lets travelers tack on walking tours, bike rentals and the like with a few quick clicks.
OnceThere, which launched its platform Wednesday, was founded by John Weimer, who managed HomeAway’s Asia-Pacific business unit until founded OnceThere in 2014. Co-founder and COO John Spencer, meanwhile, is a former sales executive with Vignette Software. He owns the boutique hunting outfit Posada del Colorado. The startup hasn’t shared specific funding amounts, but it says its investors include HomeAway Co-Founder Carl Shepherd and HomeAway’s former chief product officer, Tom Hale.
“Rather than creating a sexy traveler app, we created a platform like OpenTable but for travel experiences, where for example HomeAway customers may instantly book a tour or activity from its guest app or an Austin Visitors Center employee may easily book a food truck tour for a tourist standing in front of them,” Weimer said in a news release.
The company is working with HomeAway, the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Wild Dunes Resort in South Carolina. Those connections provide quick clicking to 200 travel experiences in Austin and Charleston. OnceThere draws money through commissions paid on each booking generated.
Along with support from former HomeAway executives, OnceThere lists Waldo Photos CEO Rodney Rice and Manuel Rosso, the VP of Commerce Platforms with Scripps Networks Interactive, as advisors. And OnceThere’s CTO is Declan Dunleavy, former senior director of engineering at HomeAway.