A booking platform for ski holidays is aiming to raise £1.5 million in crowdfunding next month – as it looks to expand into new countries.  

Norwich-based SkiYodl was launched in December 2019 by Oli Dannatt, who previously worked as in-house ski instructor at The Lodge, Richard Branson’s mountain retreat in Verbier, Switzerland.

“I spent four years teaching Richard, his family and his friends, which was a really fun time,” said Oli. 

He first had the idea for SkiYodl when returning to London with his wife Chloe in 2012.  

“We realised how much of a pain it was being on the consumer end of the ski market,” he said. “Technology hadn't really embraced this space at all – it was a case of having to phone up multiple agents and waiting a week to get answers back. The whole thing was just a nightmare.”   

Oli also saw an opportunity to connect customers with locals living in popular ski resorts, who could provide recommendations on places to eat, drink and ski.  

“When my mates came to visit me in Verbier, I’d naturally show them the best bars to watch live music or live sports, which pistes to ski in the afternoons, and which restaurants had the sunniest roof terraces,” said Oli.  

SkiYodl has a team of local ‘fixers’ in every resort, who can be contacted via WhatsApp for tips and advice. 

The Comet: One of SkiYodl's 'resort fixers' who provide tips and advice to travellersOne of SkiYodl's 'resort fixers' who provide tips and advice to travellers (Image: SkiYodl)

“It's tapping into that local knowledge without having somebody employed on the ground,” said Oli. “By bringing in real resort locals who have lived there for ages, our customers receive honest information that they can trust.”  

SkiYodl secured seed funding in early 2020, allowing it to launch the platform in Verbier, only for Covid to hit six weeks later. Oli said the company “managed to fudge its way through” and went on to raise £770,000 in crowdfunding through Crowdcube in January 2021 – from 450 investors. 

It was forced to pause again when Omicron hit Europe in late 2021, but after France reopened its borders in January 2022, the business took £500,000 in three months.  

“It proved to us that there's a real appetite for the product we are building,” said Oli, who is hoping to hit £1 million in sales by the end of this year. 

There are currently 3,500 properties listed on SkiYodl – many of which have never before been marketed in the UK. It is also able to charge less for accommodation that is listed elsewhere. 

“I'd say 80pc of our properties are 20-25pc cheaper than they are on Airbnb and booking.com,” said Oli. “We've got a very lean product that enables us to take good revenues without having to charge over the odds.” 

The Comet: SkiYodl lists a number of properties that have never before been marketed in the UKSkiYodl lists a number of properties that have never before been marketed in the UK (Image: SkiYodl)

In January, SkiYodl will launch another Crowdcube round with a target of £1.5 million – at a pre-money valuation of £6 million.  

The funding will be used to build out its “huge tech pipeline”, enabling it to expand in France, Switzerland and Austria. Oli also has ambitions to get into North America and Japan – as well as developing SunYodl, which is focused on the summer holiday market.

“The tourist boards are keen to drive more tourism in the mountains for the summer,” he said. “Bearing in mind we have all these properties on the platform, it is something I think we can deliver. 

“We're also having conversations about the Balearic and Greek islands,” he added. “Having 12 months’ revenue is very important for us.” 

For more information, visit www.skiyodl.com