Travel Tech Essentialist #83: Discover
All curation grows until it requires search, and all search grows until it requires curation. — Benedict Evans
Every few months I ask you to give me a hand in reaching a wider audience. If you make it to the end of the newsletter, there are some freebies you might get in return for your help. Thank you so much for helping me build Travel Tech Essentialist.
This newsletter is sponsored by
Equeco is the performance marketing automation platform for travel.
Findhotel, Kiwi.com, Voyage Privé, VeryChic and 650+ hotels seamlessly integrated Equeco to their campaigns and achieved 2 to 3 digits growth whilst automation markedly reduced their operational costs.
Equeco leverages a sole product feed to advertise your inventory on Google Search, Display, Hotel Search, Maps, Facebook and other channels.
Find out more here.
1. The future of search is boutique
Sari Azout writes that in a world of infinite information, it’s no longer enough for horizontal search engines to organize the world’s information. It becomes increasingly important to organize the world’s trustworthy information. On the other hand, vertical search aggregators work when you know exactly what you want. But knowing what you want isn’t usually the starting point, which creates an opportunity to help the overwhelmed consumer with better discovery and curation along the funnel by building boutique search engines that index, curate, and organize things in new ways. Read + a16z.
2. Boutique search engines for travel content, startups and investors
The above dynamic led me to launch a couple of boutique searchable datasets last year:
Travel Startups & Investors interactive dataset. A dataset of 945 (and growing) travel startups and 2064 VCs and angels across 76 countries and 343 cities with total funding of $44 billion. The startups are categorized in 8 macro categories and 256 micro categories. The dataset is updated weekly.
Travel Research & Insights interactive dataset. A searchable and weekly updated platform that contains 1250 travel articles and reports, 400 categories and 980 companies to easily discover, search and find relevant content.
A review from a happy user: “I just subscribed to both the datasets & I feel it was the best $120 I ever spent. Just the 1st insight I came across on ancillary revenue would probably save me so much time in research as I am building my pitch for the next fund raise. Thank you so much for putting this together”.
3. Hopper’s journey and super-app ambitions
All travelers worry about something, but not about the same thing. And this is good for Hopper. Insightful interview with Fred Lalonde, CEO and founder of Hopper. He discusses:
How he got 1 million users in 1 day when he was building Hopper.
Why he decided to launch as a mobile-only product when less than 10% of digital travel was booked on mobile.
How Hopper was able to corner the millennials and Gen Z, which make up 75% of their customer base.
How they got 70% of Hopper’s revenue to come from Fintech, with at least one fintech add-on attached to 70% of travel transactions.
The changes in anxiety dynamics across different travel products (air, hotel, car).
To become an Asian-style travel super-app, either travel companies will add high-frequency purchases to their product, or a high-frequency apps (like Uber) will get into travel. It has to end with a couple of companies that offer a lot of things, travel being one of them.
How they are looking to the East for inspiration of where the future of travel is heading, and how social behaviour and engagement, directly traded for commerce (like lower prices) is foundational .
4. Framework for navigating down markets
According to a16z’s experience, when the market tanks, founders crave advice that goes beyond the platitudes and provides a tangible framework to quantify the change in valuations and what it means for charting their future course. This post offers the diagnostic framework that a16z uses when they sit down with founders:
Reevaluate your valuation
Understand your burn multiples
Build scenario plans
5. Life paradoxes
Sahil Bloom put together a handy list of 22 life paradoxes. A couple of them:
The Effort Paradox. You have to put in more effort to make something appear effortless. Effortless and elegance are the result of a large volume of consistent, effortful, gritty practice. Small things become big things. Simple is not simple.
The Persuasion Paradox. Have you noticed that argumentative people rarely persuade anyone of anything? Persuasive people don’t argue—they observe, listen, and ask questions. Argue less, persuade more. Persuasion is an art that requires a paintbrush, not a sledgehammer.
6. Contextualizing consumer sentiment in the ongoing pullback
Worth taking a look at the deck that Meera Clark (Redpoint Ventures) published focused on US consumer sentiment. Thanks to Jonathan Newar, founder and CEO of Captain Experiences for sending me the report and his conclusions as it relates to the travel sector:
Consumer spending is still hanging in there, led by high income households spending on travel.
Consumers with income over $75k have increased their appetite for domestic travel relative to pre-covid.
With their investment portfolio down, younger people might get their adrenaline fix through travel.
Travel remains a bright spot for growth.
Publicly traded travel company multiples are the highest among consumer sectors, with a EV / Revenue multiple of 7.8x (mean) and 7.6x (median).
7. We will always be caught by surprise
People are good at forecasting the future, except for the surprises, which tend to be all that matter. We can never see the most impactful events coming. Morgan Housel shares his theory about risk and the right amount of savings (they should feel excessive) required to offset it. Read + Morgan Housel.
8. Booking.com CTO on the shift from a build-first culture to adopting SaaS and IaaS
Before taking over as Booking.com CTO, Rob Francis was director of corporate infrastructure at Amazon – where he led a migration of Amazon’s infrastructure from legacy data centres to AWS. In this interview, Rob goes over how Booking is having to modernize its digital infrastructure, going from monolithic architecture to distributed services, from data centres to public cloud, from a build-first culture to adopting SaaS or IaaS, adopting new frameworks, new languages and new ways of doing things with Big Data and Machine Learning. Read + The Stack.
9. A bit of humor…
You might agree that Ryanair’s CM has been on a roll lately.
Members-only home-swapping startup Kindred closed a $7.75 million seed funding round to help owners and renters take advantage of work-from-anywhere flexibility. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners.
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