We recently announced our investment in WeTrip (here), building on our previous investments in the adventure travel space. Sam Clifton, Associate at InMotion Ventures, explores why we invested in WeTrip.
The anguish was fresh in my memory. Plans for a holiday with a group of friends had just fallen through, on account of too many people, too many preferences and not enough time. I thought, there must be a better way…
We first met WeTrip at a Founders Factory event, where the founder, Yotam Idan, was pitching their solution to the pains of booking a group holiday. Their first product is WeSki, a group booking tool aimed at winter sports travellers. The way it works is simple. A lead booker picks the flights, accommodation, transfers and ski pass, before sharing the itinerary with friends, who can customise their trip. As the friend, you can choose to add an extended ski pass, more luggage, equipment hire and lessons, before paying your share of the bill.
Such a simple solution, with a clean interface and clear purpose.
As you might expect, European ski destinations are the most popular in the world, with around 10 million people visiting every year. With average trip spend in the region of £1000 per person, and approximately 30% of trips made with a group, the market is worth around £3 billion annually. To date, it has been served by package tour operators, who add a significant markup to their trips, have little flexibility in their packages, and often push travellers towards pre-bought inventory that may not really be what the traveller wants.
WeTrip puts the power back in the hands of the traveller, with flexibility on all elements of the trip, whilst still maintaining the simplicity of the booking process.
We’ve said ‘simple’ a number of times, and for the traveller it really is, but that said there’s nothing simple about what’s under the hood. In fact, WeTrip has built one of the best examples of dynamic packaging we’ve seen in travel to date. Their inventory is broad, covering all the major French resorts, and comes from numerous sources, several of which have only existed offline before now. They have flexibility on dates and duration that you’d never find in a traditional package, and on price they’ve negotiated rates often much cheaper than the OTAs. Then when it comes to payment, they make it easy for each traveller to transact what they owe, with upfront and deposit options ensuring every customer is catered for.
Away from the backend, the customer acquisition dynamics are just as interesting. With a lead booker referring their friends, WeSki only need to acquire this individual in order to sell a trip to a whole group. By focusing on groups and skiing, they’re able to target travellers effectively in an industry where customer acquisition is so competitive, but they’ve also implicitly built a sharing component to the company. When you add your friends to your trip, you’re bringing new users to the platform, users that may return to the platform to book future trips, and invite new friends, and on and on. Potentially a hugely powerful acquisition tool for WeTrip going forward.
So what’s next?
The inventory, technology and experience WeTrip has built is not limited to ski trips. There are so many opportunities to apply their product to the many group trips people take every year, whether it be the £50 billion bicycle tourism market, the £30 billion music tourism market, or really any part of the estimated £1 trillion global adventure tourism market. We look forward to seeing how they build their brands around these different experiences in the future.
Saving the best until last – the team is awesome.
When we met Yotam, we could feel his enthusiasm for outdoor sports, but also his understanding of a generation of customers that increasingly want travel experiences not package holidays. Backend developer by background, Yotam is complimented well by David, who brings operational finance and past entrepreneurial experience, and Ben, who brings over 5 years of experience of operations in the package tour industry.
WeTrip has also been able to build a fantastic group of investors and advisors, from Uri Levine, founder of Waze, and his experience scaling and exiting a huge software business in transportation, to Founders Factory and their wealth of experience in travel. They also count Moshe Rafiah as a board member. Moshe was the founder of TravelFusion, a company acquired by Ctrip for over £100 million, and has decades of experience in the supply side of the travel industry.
We believe that WeTrip are already delivering a quality customer experience, with innovation in technology and simplicity in design, and have the potential to first grow their WeSki product into a leading brand within ski, but also take the company into many more verticals, creating the go-to company for adventure travel packages.