Elsewhere is the world’s most ethical travel booking platform?
âWe casually call ourselves ‘Airbnb multi-day trips’, which means we connect travelers with destination travel experts to plan and book their tailor-made trip. We are a values-driven company and organizing positive impact travel is part of our DNA. “
âIt’s very simple: travelers select their destination, fill out a short request form and are automatically put in touch with an expert on site. Once paired, they discuss in real time with their expert and work out their itinerary together.
âEach trip is highly personalized, so a few round trips with the local expert are necessary until the trip is polished to perfection. Everything happens on the platform, so it’s easily accessible and streamlined in one place.
What are your origins?
âMy co-founder and I have both worked in the travel industry for over a decade. My background lies in travel operations and business development, while my co-founder, Craig, has spent the majority of his career in the field as a travel guide.
âIt was the perfect match, because where he intimately understood how travel to destination worked, I had the business and operations experience to market, sell and release travel.
âThanks to our experiences with some of the biggest names in travel, we had a formidable network of suppliers around the world that we were able to recruit for Elsewhere.
âAs for me, I am originally from California, but now I divide my time between San Francisco and Paris. I started traveling at a young age, with my first international solo trip at age 13 and couchsurfed all over the world until my late teens and early twenties. I didn’t start my career in the travel industry, but naturally found my niche there and haven’t looked back since.
What is unique about the company?
âTo show what is unique about the business, it’s important to understand how the travel industry works. When you book your trip with a travel agency, that agency books with another company located in the host destination.
âElsewhere cuts off the middleman and connects travelers directly with these agencies at destination. These agencies are the heroes behind companies like National Geographic, Audley, Black Tomato and Intrepid.
âRather than operating behind these names from London or New York, Elsewhere cuts out the middleman and allows these destination experts to create trips directly with travelers. Not only is this more efficient, it also creates a more extraordinary experience for the traveler, allowing them to see their destination through a local lens.
âRather than booking a trip to Argentina with Gary in New York, you book with Lucas in Buenos Aires, and he shares his perspective and local knowledge in a way that allows travelers to see and experience under the surface of a destination. It is surprisingly a great differentiator in the business.
Tell us about the sustainability angle …
âMost people talk about the environmental aspect when discussing sustainable travel, but there is so much more that can be done to be a truly good business. Yes, we offset carbon emissions with every trip and support reforestation and ocean plastic removal projects. But where we see our greatest impact is through social and economic change.
âOne in ten people in the world work in tourism and, on average, they do not meet the basic requirements of a fair wage and safe working conditions. At Elsewhere, we thoroughly check our entire supply chain to ensure proper wages and safe working conditions. We prioritize women and other under-represented members of society and ensure access to equal opportunity and career advancement.
âWe are also focusing on economic reinvestment in local communities. 80 percent of low-income countries focus on tourism as a way to improve their economic situation, but on average, as little as 10 to 30 percent of the money spent on vacations is reinvested in these local economies.
“At Elsewhere, we prioritize the local at every turn and ensure that your tourism dollars are reinvested in the communities, allowing them to access long-term local income.”
What is the profile of your users?
âWe built our site to turn the overly traditional travel industry upside down. Our approach is modern, digital, and streamlined, and feels more like a tech company than a travel site, so we have a strong appeal to Millennial consumers.
âAnd because we are a values-driven company whose mission is to provide more ethical and responsible travel, we also have a strong following with the conscious consumer. “
Who are your competitors?
âThe travel industry is a crowded space, but we see DIY as our biggest competitor. Our target customers are the savvy international Internet traveler. They understand that with enough time, they can organize a trip almost anywhere in the world.
âThey also understand that it takes a tremendous amount of time (an average of 40 hours of research to plan an international trip), and even after that time spent researching, most don’t know if they’ve made the right decisions.
“Our customers are people who come from the DIY world, but who value quality and expert knowledge and are therefore happy to have a noise-cutting option with local knowledge and expert advice.”
How has the pandemic shaped the business, if at all?
âElsewhere is a product of the Covid. We launched in April 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic. It seemed like a crazy idea, but for us it was a chance to shape the future of travel.
âMy co-founder and I had this amazing network of destination agencies that were suddenly out of work, and we both realized that now is the perfect time to start something new and build a modern brand with a sustainable goal. built in its foundations.
âWe wanted to create a platform that would give travelers access to difficult journeys, while radically improving the way travelers and destinations experience tourism. It has now been four months since launch and we have been overwhelmed by the response.
âWith zero paid marketing to date, we’ve sold more than enough trips to cover our operating costs, our social media has exploded and we’ve had a lot of press interest. It’s clear that despite the times we live in (or maybe because of it), people are looking for a modern, fresh face in an overly traditional space, and it seems to many that we’ve been the answer to that.
Can you describe your preferred experience available for booking on the site?
âI tend to prefer adventure, so it’s a hard sell between a horseback safari in the Okavango Delta or a trek in the Altai Mountains in Mongolia.â
What is your long term plan / goal for the site?
âWe have the ambition to grow, while keeping our heart. Our goal is to embed better travel – more ethical, more sustainable and responsible travel, and to deliver amazing trips to amazing destinations.