Former ABC MD Michelle Guthrie to chair travel tech software group TRAVLR

Former ABC MD Michelle Guthrie to chair travel tech software group TRAVLR

After raising $6.7 million and striking a deal with BBC Global News to launch a travel marketplace, Melbourne-based TRAVLR has announced two high-profile appointments to its board as Michelle Guthrie and Matt Berriman join the fast-growing travel technology software company

With more than 30 years’ experience in the media, entertainment and technology industries, Guthrie is the former managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and has executive roles at companies including Providence Equity Partners and Star TV in Hong Kong, and currently holds non-executive directorships at sports tech Catapult Group International (ASX: CAT) and BNK Bank (ASX: BBC).

Advisor and investor Matt Berriman is currently the executive chairman of investment advisory Straight 6 Group and chairman of sleep innovation company of Glow Dreaming.

The news coincides with TRAVLR and ViacomCBS officially launching the MTV Travel and Nickelodeon Travel platforms, offering experiences and promotions for the youth and family markets ahead of the summer holiday period and beyond. This adds to existing platforms with the BBC, Network 10 and Stuff.co.nz.

"It is with great enthusiasm that I join the team at TRAVLR where I can draw on my experience to support the achievement of TRAVLR’s vision to change the way people discover, book and experience travel in Australia and around the world," Guthrie says.

"Media companies are always looking for ways to engage with their potential and existing audiences by continually diversifying their offering in an ever-changing competitive environment. 

"Never before have I seen such a unique and progressive opportunity to bring brand content to life and drive new revenue streams for the media industry."

Berriman describes TRAVLR as a "revolutionary platform" with endless reach opportunities and unique technological capabilities. 

"Our growth trajectory is testament to the growing demand for media brands to create tailored experiences which speak directly to travel-hungry audiences," he says.

"TRAVLR is on the fast-track to become a leader in travel technology and I look forward to supporting its innovation to achieve long-term global success

With travel resuming in Australia over the next few months, TRAVLR CEO and co-founder Simon te Hennepe said that it was the optimal time to drive the TRAVLR business forward ahead of what he anticipates to be a busy 2022 travel season.

"We are extremely fortunate to welcome industry leaders Michelle Guthrie and Matt Berriman to the TRAVLR business, who will be instrumental in driving TRAVLR’s current and future growth," te Hennepe says.

"Our extended partnership with global leader ViacomCBS is testament to our commitment in supporting iconic media brands to deepen their engagement with audiences looking for the ultimate travel experience, curated especially for them, in Australia and around the world."

For Berriman, his appointment at TRAVLR comes on the same day that he is named the new chair of Mental Health Australia.

He joins the organisation with lived experience, including advising Beyond Blue through its 2020 strategic reset after announcing a bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2018.

“COVID-19 has created an inflection point and the mental health of Australians is the new, and somewhat hidden, pandemic,” Berriman said.

“More than ever, our nation needs a multi-faceted focus on mental health led by a united sector that engages stakeholders who are committed to creating the best mental health system in the world. 

“A light has been shone on a myriad of mental health challenges in recent times, but we’ve also had a line-in-the-sand moment to reflect, review and now re-think how the sector can reform."

Berriman is also the co-founder of advertising startup Unlockd, a venture that was undone after Google claimed its app breached some policies on its Google Play and Admob platforms. Despite successfully suing the multinational in the UK and Australia to obtain temporary injunctions, the company entered voluntary administration in 2018.

Unlockd has this year filed for damages against Google in the United States.

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