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StudentUniverse logo.svg
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Travel search engine/fare, availability and rate aggregator
Founded2000 (2000)
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Espen Odegard and Fredrik Carl Størmer
Key peopleMike Cleary
(Global Managing Director)
IndustryTravel, internet

StudentUniverse is a travel booking site for students and youth. StudentUniverse offers discounted pricing and terms on flights, hotels and tours. Its Travel Services division handles client requests for groups and custom itineraries.[1] Its service went live in 2000,[2] and the company is based in Waltham, Massachusetts.[3] It has proprietary verification technology that allows it to verify student status.[3] In 2015 and 2016, WYSE named StudentUniverse "Best Youth Travel Agent"[4] in the Global Youth Travel Awards.

Website[edit] offers flights, hotel and hostel bookings, travel insurance, and tours. According to the terms and conditions, users have to be students at a degree-granting college to redeem offers. The primary focus of the website is B2C (Business to Consumer), however it also offers group travel services for groups of 10 or more people. Users can search for deals without logging in, however must create an account prior to purchasing. The business and website is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and 9.27/10 stars (based on 9,101 reviews) on ResellerRatings.[5] StudentUniverse also has a mobile app, Flights,[6] that allows students to book flights and hotels.

Business model[edit]

StudentUniverse focuses primarily on the student travel vertical, though some deals are available for anyone 18-26 and some do not require student StudentUniverse has four ticket type options: Student, Faculty, Youth, and Adult.[7] It sells exclusive airfare deals for verified members from its airline partners; such airfares are not guaranteed to be cheaper than the retail airfares (what is generally available in the market), but students can save up to 40% off published fares. The company does not charge for membership. It makes money from commissions, advertising sales and booking fees on some transactions.

By verifying their members' enrollment at an accredited, degree-granting college, the company is able to offer students and faculty discounted products and services. The company's value proposition is to offer student discounts,[8] and flexibility,[9] with an average discount over published rates, based on a sample survey, of 14%.

The company offers 24/7 customer service in English.


  • 1992: Espen Ødegård establishes a student travel agency called Prism Travel with offices in New York City.
  • 1999: is founded by Espen Odegard and Fredrik Carl Stormer and raises its first round of funding from private investors.
  • 2000: First online booking engine launched.
  • 2001: American Airlines becomes an airline partner and offer student airfares
  • 2004: StudentUniverse introduces its new marketing tag-line; "Students Fly Cheaper". Marketing campaigns were targeted at U.S. college students.
  • 2008: StudentUniverse introduces its new marketing tag-line; "Travel more.Spend less" and launches a redesigned website.
  • 2010: The firm announced a discount airfare service open to any traveler ages 18–25.[10]
  • 2011: StudentUniverse launches SUMM – a marketing agency that specializes in marketing to students.
  • 2011: The company launches a new website and a new tag-line; "Smart deals for students". The corporate blog also goes live in September.
  • 2011: The company announces Paul Tedeschi as its new General Manager of SUMM [11]
  • 2011: The company announces Mike Cleary as its new Chief Commercial Officer[12]
  • 2011: The website reflects that it will expand its offering to categories beyond travel – student deals.
  • 2012: Announces Atle Skalleberg as its new CEO on March 1, 2012[13]
  • 2012: StudentUniverse Media re-launches as SUMM Agency – a full service media and marketing agency that specializes in college marketing.
  • April: "Student Deals" is launched.[14]
  • 2012: August: Textbook service is launched. Allows students to compare textbook prices.
  • 2012: December: The company announces travel tours, StudentUniverse Tours
  • 2013: October: Company announces its revamped iOS application StudentUniverse Mobile App
  • 2013: October: Company announces its UK business and website StudentUniverse UK
  • 2013: November: StudentUniverse acquires the travel startup WeHostels
  • 2015 February: StudentUniverse launches group travel services in the UK[15]
  • 2015: April: StudentUniverse launches responsive website and new branding[16]
  • 2015: May: StudentUniverse launches Work Abroad Experiences [17]
  • 2015: December: StudentUniverse Acquired by Flight Centre Travel Group[18]
  • 2016: July: Atle Skalleberg Named Chief Digital Officer of Flight Centre Travel Group[19]
  • 2016: August: Paul Jacobs Appointed SVP, Marketing and Executive Team Member[20]
  • 2016: October: Mike Cleary Appointed Executive Vice President[21]


StudentUniverse has over 220 airline partners.

The company also works closely with ITA Software (Google) and utilizes their QPX technology.[22]


Key members of the StudentUniverse team[23] include:

  • Espen Odegard – founder
  • Sam Lanfranco – partner[24]
  • Mike Cleary – Global Managing Director [21]
  • Chad Mooney – Senior Vice President, Operations
  • Amy Lidstone – Senior Vice President, Business Intelligence and Strategy [20]




  1. ^ "StudentUniverse". Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  2. ^ Lipman, Lisa (December 15, 2000). "Students can fly for less online – maybe". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2009-02-21.
  3. ^ a b McCartney, Scott (October 14, 2008). "Flying to College on the Cheap". The Wall Street Journal.
  4. ^ "Best Youth Travel Agent". Global Youth Travel Awards 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  5. ^ "StudentUniverse Consumer Verified Ratings & Reviews". ResellerRatings. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  6. ^ "Flights by StudentUniverse on the App Store". App Store. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  7. ^ "Terms of Use StudentUniverse – Airfare Terms & Conditions".
  8. ^ "Site helps college students travel on limited budget, members can save $100 by booking overseas trips at Student Universe". San Jose Mercury News (CA). November 24, 2002. Retrieved 2009-02-21.
  9. ^ Gilden, James (April 3, 2005). "Students: Do your homework to get European summer deals". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-02-21.
  10. ^ " Celebrates 10th Anniversary and Airfare Discounts for Expanded Age Group". PR Newswire. January 25, 2010.
  11. ^ SUMM – College Marketing
  12. ^ Mike Cleary as Chief Commercial Officer
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ Press Release 4/9/12
  15. ^ "StudentUniverse Launches Group Travel Services in the UK". Business Wire. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  16. ^ "StudentUniverse Rolls Out a Mobile-First Multi-Million Dollar Makeover". Business Wire. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  17. ^ "StudentUniverse Introduces Work Abroad Experiences | Business Wire". Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  18. ^ "StudentUniverse Acquired By Flight Centre Travel Group | Business Wire". Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  19. ^ "Atle Skalleberg Named Chief Digital Officer of Flight Centre Travel Group | Corporate Blog". Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  20. ^ a b "Paul Jacobs Appointed SVP, Marketing + Executive Team Member | Corporate Blog". Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  21. ^ a b "Mike Cleary Appointed Executive Vice President | Corporate Blog". Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  22. ^ ITA/StudentUniverse Case Study
  23. ^ The StudentUniverse Team
  24. ^ [2]

External links[edit]