The Travel Channel chipped in $7.5 million of the funding, taking with them a minority stake in the hotel-booking website. In total, Oyster has gathered $18.5 million in funding. Oyster will now produce exclusive content for the Travel Channel, reaching a potential 96 million viewers. This “strategic investment” by the Travel Channel marks its first step into the travel transaction industry.
Oyster is famous for is reality photos of hotel accommodations, showing travelers the types of rooms and amenities they will actually experience, rather than the ones they see in travel brochures, hotel websites, and travel agency sites. Oyster even has a “Photo Fakeout” page that reveals the many of the tricks hotels will use to make rooms and pools look bigger, views look sunnier, and beaches look more serene.
According to its website, 4 million people use Oyster.com to book hotels. Its investigators take undoctored photos of hotels at its destinations, receiving over 50 million views on the website. An alliance with the Travel Channel guarantees Oyster an advertising market, while also giving the Travel Channel a stake in online hotel booking.