“That's my lesson for taking a vacation: Vacation will kill you." — Elon Musk (commenting on the time he almost died from malaria while on holiday).
Be careful out there :-) and I hope you enjoy this newsletter.
This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Pinktada. And they are extending all Travel Tech Essentialist subscribers a 25% discount on all hotel bookings!
Pinktada is a primary and secondary marketplace for hotel rooms, replacing the existing hotel reservation model with a token-based marketplace. By partnering with Pinktada, hotels can increase the sales of non-refundable reservations. Pinktada is offering Travel Tech Essentialists readers a 25% discount on all bookings made by July 31st, 2022, and for any date up until June 2023 by using the promo code TTE25. More hotels in Mexico, the Bahamas and San Francisco will be joining soon. Please visit www.pinktada.com
1. Announcing Travel Tech Essentialist Talent Collective
I’m excited to announce the Travel Tech Essentialist Talent Collective, a reverse-job board where top companies apply to you. The world’s best companies across the travel sector are actively looking for talent.
If you’re open to hearing about new opportunities, apply to my Talent Collective and get introduced on your terms to top companies screened by me. It’s invite-only, curated by me, completely free, with no obligations. You can join publicly or anonymously, hide yourself from specific companies, and leave anytime.
Companies will apply and subscribe to get bimonthly “drops” of members interested in looking around. I’m going to carefully curate both sides of the marketplace with the goal of making Travel Tech Essentialist Talent Collective the highest signal-to-noise hiring resource for travel professionals.
If you’re a company looking to hire, you can apply as well, but for now I am focusing on the talent-side.
2. How should founders think about marketing
David Sacks wrote in September 2020 a great piece on how founders should think about marketing. His 13 point marketing playbook includes:
Articulate the problem better than anyone else: nobody cares about your features. At least not yet. People need to first understand the problem you’re solving. Then they need to understand your solution. Only then will they be interested in your features.
Attack the status quo: your startup has an opponent, but it’s not your competitors; it’s some version of the status quo. You need to name this enemy.
Release news in lightning strikes, not dribs and drabs: to get the world’s attention, you need to up-level and combine news about products, customers, milestones, and partnerships. Remind people about the larger problem that you’re solving; keep providing context, and time lightning strikes for maximum impact.
3. The six secrets of profitable airlines
A McKinsey report focuses on what airlines can learn from a small group of carriers that have managed to consistently generate strong results. This group includes airlines from multiple regions and with a range of sizes and business models. The report highlights six characteristics that these airlines have in common. One of these “secrets” is that high-performing airlines give customers more choice through ancillaries. Ancillaries are still an undertapped channel of value for many airlines. McKinsey’s analysis reveals a positive relationship between ancillary sales performance and ROIC (return on invested capital). Read + McKinsey
4. Investments in travel startups from 2020 to 2022
The Travel Tech Essentialist Startup & Investor Dataset contains 958 travel startups from 76 countries and 343 cities that have received a total funding of $44 billion from 2116 VCs and angels in the last 5 years.
Filtering the data from January 2020 to june 2022, there were 484 travel startups that have raised rounds from 1416 investors. Of these 484 startups, 151 (31%) are from the US, 57 (12%) from England, 26 from Germany, 25 from India and 24 from Spain.
Here are the most active Venture Capital firms and Angel investors in the 2020 - Jun 2022 period:
5. Apple and PayPal land in the Buy Now Pay Later battlefield
The pandemic accentuated consumers’ interest in flexible payment options such as Buy Now Pay Later. The State of Loyalty: 2022 Credit Card Rewards report from travel loyalty solutions firm iSeatz points that having a BNPL option at checkout increases conversion rates by 20% to 30% and lifts average ticket sales 30% to 50% (seems a bit too optimistic to me). According to Amadeus, 68% of global travelers say BNPL would encourage them to spend more than usual on summer travel, while 49% say they would be more likely to buy ancillary services if buy-now-pay-later was offered. This article by Phocuswire gives a brief overview of the BNPL competitive landscape that includes fintech brands such as Affirm, Uplift and Fly Now Pay Later, and new heavyweights entrants Apple and PayPal.
6. A work of art that was once an airport terminal and now a hotel
TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport is the only airline terminal—past or present—to be universally acknowledged as a masterwork. With the bankruptcy of Trans World Airlines two decades ago, the Flight Center fell vacant and narrowly escaped demolition. It reopened to the public in 2019 as the TWA Hotel. This is an interesting read on how Saarinen, the Finnish-American architect (best known for the Gateway Arch in St. Louis), approached the TWA Flight Center project. Read + WSJ.
7. Stock market performance for travel companies, Jan - Jun 2022
Here is the stock performance of several travel tech publicly traded companies. I also included some indices for reference. Trip.com is the only company that has seen its stock price increase in 2022. On the other end are eDreams (-51%) and Expedia (-48%). This also impacts startups, as public company valuations and multiples do have a trickle down impact on venture and growth investors.
8. Mental errors and how to combat them
Cognitive biases and logical fallacies are systematic errors in thinking and reasoning that negatively impact decision-making quality, logic, and outcomes. Fighting back these errors requires knowing what they are and how they affects us. This post covers Loss Aversion, the Spotlight Effect, Heaven’s Reward Fallacy, Confirmation Bias, and Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. Read + The Curiosity Chronicle.
9. Hard times may point to more M&A activity among unicorns
IPOs have dried up, the boom in SPACs has fizzled out and venture capitalists are holding back their investments. That raises the question of how will founders of startups valued at $1 billion or more going to fund their businesses and cash out. In the past decade, less than 20% of tech unicorns exited via M&A. That number is likely to go up. Read + Reuters.
Czech-based global OTA Kiwi.com announced a capital investment of €100 million. The investment was in the form of a private placement of convertible bonds.
Berlin-based Omio closed an $80 million Series E round and reported that revenues rebounded to more than double pre-pandemic levels.
Kolors, a Mexico City-based startup, says its platform that connects intercity bus riders with bus drivers is like “if Uber and Southwest Airlines had a baby.”. The baby just raised $20 million from some big-name investors. Kolors estimates the intercity busing industry is worth over $100 billion, with a $20 billion potential in Latin America alone. Read +.
London-based online tour operator Journee landed £1.75 million in seed funding for its mystery trip service.
Israeli travel booking platform Holisto will go public via a SPAC at $405 million valuation. Read +.
Travel Tech Essentialist job board
There are currently 73 exciting jobs posted in the Travel Essentialist job board. This job board can be a great resource whether you’re hiring or looking to be hired. Here are just a few of the amazing jobs seen on the board:
Kiwi.com, Head of Product Marketing (Barcelona)
IDeaS, Technical Architect, Emerging Solutions (Remote)
Sensible Weather, Senior Product Manager, Conversion (Remote + 9 cities)
Trainline, Data Scientist (London)
Browse more open roles (or add your own open roles) at Travel Tech Essentialist Job Board
Thanks for reading!
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Have a great week,
‘Attack the status quo’. So true — love it!