Vacayou, an online platform for wellness and active travel experiences, has raised $3.3 million in combined angel and seed rounds led by investor and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, Relevance Ventures, and additional angel investors. The new funding will accelerate the growth of Vacayou’s wellness-travel platform by streamlining the onboarding process for new hospitality partners and scaling marketing to travelers.
“Wellness tourism is one of the fastest growing trends in the travel industry and is projected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2027,” says Vacayou founder and CEO Muirelle Montecalvo. “While countless brands use the term ‘wellness’ in their marketing, Vacayou breaks through the hype and hand-selects only the best wellness and active experiences around the world. Then we educate consumers—many of whom are first-time wellness travelers—on the types of retreats, spas, tours, and resorts available.”
The company’s beta version recently launched and features more than 100 exclusive travel packages. Because everyone’s wellness journey looks different, Vacayou offers a variety of experiences, such as a bike tour of California wine country, an awareness retreat in Yucatan, Mexico, a spa getaway in Costa Rica, and a mental wellbeing retreat in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Canyon Ranch, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, Hilton Head Health, Kamalaya Koh Samui, Miraval, Six Senses, and The Ranch at Malibu are just some of the properties partnering with Vacayou.
“Vacayou is launching at a time when hospitality brands are operating with reduced marketing budgets and staff,” says Thomas Klein, Vacayou advisor and former President/COO of Canyon Ranch. “Vacayou serves as a much-needed extension of a brand’s marketing team by attracting high-yielding guests. Unlike other travel sites that focus on the transaction, Vacayou focuses on the experience. Services and amenities are just as perishable as rooms, and Vacayou’s platform increases revenue per guest by packaging spa treatments, fitness classes, tours, and other experiences into the booking.”
By selecting packages featuring only the best and most authentic wellness experiences, Vacayou seeks to eliminate “well washing,” which is common in the industry. One highlight of the platform is a dedicated travel concierge team that is available to help travelers find and book the perfect getaway.
“We’re about to see a boom in travel, and Vacayou is perfectly positioned to serve the growing population of travelers interested in health and wellness,” says Vinik. “We’re excited to be part of the team serving this important segment.”