Some $7.5 million in that funding reportedly came from the Travel Channel, which takes a minority stake in Oyster. Founded in 2008, Oyster.com’s total funding to date now stands at $18.5 million.
Elie Seidman, Oyster.com co-founder and CEO, says the funding means that the company will expand its hotel coverage into Latin America, South America and Europe, and will benefit from the Travel Channel’s “promotion of Oyster’s expert brand” on TV and online.
Under the terms of the deal, Oyster will produce exclusive content for the Travel Channel, which is available in 96 million U.S. homes on cable and its HD simulcast is distributed to more than 35 million viewers.
Oyster and the Travel Channel noted in announcing the “strategic investment” that it “represents Travel Channel’s excursion into the expanding online travel transaction territory.”
In addition to professionally written hotel reviews, Oyster.com enables consumer to book hotels much like an online travel agency.
The Travel Channel website doesn’t currently handle hotel bookings, but will get that capability through the Oyster partnership.
Seidman argues that it is “critically important” for media companies such as Oyster to offer transactional capabilities for consumers.
Scripps Networks Interactive is manager and general partner of the Travel Channel.