Selina Nabs Remote Year in Bet on Subscription Travel for Digital Nomads

Skift logo

Hotel startup Selina said Monday it had acquired the brand and customer base of Remote Year. The pandemic has knocked both businesses sideways. But the deal offers Selina a new path to a promising segment of demand for its hotels and hostels in 19 countries that already include co-working facilities.

The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the all-stock transaction. Remote Year, a Chicago-based program that lets employees work in a different global city every month, raised $5 million in funding last year and $17 million since its founding in 2015. The pandemic led Remote Year to pause its operations in mid-March, when it laid off about 50 people, or the majority of its staff.

Selina, a Panama-based company that provides travelers with co-working spaces, hostel-style lodging, and activities, raised about $60 million in extra funding earlier this year, sources told Skift. The startup declined to comment on the funding total but has previously disclosed raised $225 million in venture equity funding from investors such as Access Industries, Grupo Wiese, and Colony Latam Partners. It had also secured more than $300 million for a real estate investment fund.

“At Selina, we have always supported flexible remote work models and believe they result in an increase in productivity and a reduction in turnover for businesses,” said Selina co-founder and CEO Rafael Museri.

Selina will continue to keep Remote Year as a brand, which built up a pre-pandemic business for digital nomads whose jobs allow them to “work from anywhere.” Selina will refocus on longer-term stays and its remote work offering, Museri said.

A yoga session at Selina’s hotel property in Panajachel, Guatemala, near Lake. Source: Selina

In a related move, Selina rolled out in August a couple of subscriptions that make it simpler for remote workers to book extended stays at its properties.

One subscription, called Nomad Passport, lets travelers buy 30-, 60- or 90-night credits at discounted rates. Another, called Selina CoLive, lets digital nomads stay at any Selina property for a one-, three- or six-month stay. A corporate program lets companies buy passes for their workers. Each plan covers a seat in the co-working area at each property.

The move illustrates how many travel companies are trialing subscription services.

Remote year doesn’t yet have a timetable on when it will resume accepting customers. It had until now offered 1, 4, 6 and 12-month programs, in a dozen cities, including Mexico City, Medellin, Lima, Santiago, Split, Lisbon, Valencia, Cape Town, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Chiang Mai, and Kyoto. The program had cost between $2,000 and $3,000 a month plus an initial payment.

Earlier this month, it signed a deal with The University of California, Irvine Division of Continuing Education (DCE), to offer a certification program for specialized studies in leadership, where the university will provide a curriculum with remote coursework led by its instructors.

Note: Skift previously had one colleague do Remote Year, which enabled her to learn about multiple cultures.

Photo Credit: People on the Remote Year program talk with each other at a New Orleans co-working space in 2019. Selina has acquired Remote Year. Remote Year

Read More —> Source link