Cabana: Luxury on the Road
August 3, 2021 | Ashley Brindamour
Vacations are great, but staying in a hotel room with a parking lot view isn’t very exciting. While RVs and campers offer a more personal experience, they often come with logistical issues, including limited parking options and high fuel costs.
Founded at the intersection of transportation and hospitality, Alumni Ventures portfolio company Cabana offers mobile lodging via a fleet of customized luxury vans. The company’s unique vehicle design provides the amenities of an upscale hotel room with the flexibility of a van, allowing travelers to lodge anywhere the road takes them.
An Exclusive Travel Experience
Cabana’s approach is convenient, contact-free, and reliable. In addition to an average daily rate charge, the company’s monetization strategy includes several proposed value-add services, such as:
- Concierge services to help customers pre-plan trips and have the best experience
- “Basecamp” components where customers can pit stop on their road trips to fuel up, replenish their supplies, and relax
- Membership opportunities
Unlike competitors, Cabana takes the itinerant “van-life” and hotel room and merges the two into a consistent, mobile vacation experience that can attract loyal travelers. Cabana’s vans provide customers with an upscale mobile van hotel room equipped with a shower, sink, bed, and toilet.
What We Liked About Cabana
Customer-Validated Value Proposition: Cabana has already demonstrated early success and product market fit through a net promoter score of 66 (vs. hotel average of 44) and a remarkable rate of 92% of customers planning to book again. In addition, they boast higher occupancy rates in comparison to incumbent lodging options, as well as rising repeat revenue.
Management Team Experience: The management team combines experience from Lime, Booking.com, and Hyatt. Additionally, Cabana’s advisory board and early investors include the Chief Legal Officer of Nuro, David Estrada, who has raised over $1.5 billion in venture capital funding for prior companies in the autonomous-delivery vehicle technology sector.
Significant Market Potential: The company targets a large total addressable market of ~$390 billion, including the $230 billion U.S. hotel and transportation market. Additionally, by making travel more accessible, Cabana uniquely captures a segment characterized by unused consumer vacation days totaling ~$160 billion.
How We Are Involved
Castor Ventures (Alumni Ventures’ fund for the MIT community) and sibling fund Towerview Ventures (for the Duke community) deployed capital in Cabana’s $10 million Series A led by Craft Ventures and Goldcrest Capital with participation by LAUNCH (Jason Calacanis). The company is also part of Alumni Ventures’ Post-COVID Fund.