So, what does Snaptrip do?
We provide exclusive discounts on last-minute self-catered holidays in the UK, sometimes up to 60%. We’re proud to say that since 2014 we have helped more than 100,000 people find a last minute rental and saved them a combined total of almost £1 million in accommodation costs.
What’s behind the business idea?
The inspiration came from the supplier side, in that there were no aggregation platforms whose focus was on selling unsold or ‘distressed’ inventory, so we thought it would appeal to them if we built one!
We also realised that there were plenty of last minute sites for hotels such as: Last Minute, Travel Zoo, Secret Escapes and Late Rooms but nothing like that for the holiday rental sector. With lots of unsold inventory in the sector, we decided to create a platform for providers of these properties to create compelling last-minute discounts to get them sold. We knew as long as there were was a consumer market for these sort of late deals, property rentals as opposed to hotels, then we would be onto something different and exciting.
Was it hard becoming a business owner?
Becoming a business owner takes a bit of guts to go for it but it isn’t a hard thing to do! What’s hard is proving your idea solves a real problem, getting funding for it, getting traction, proving it can scale, getting more funding etc etc. Having lots of employees, investors and responsibility doesn’t come on Day 1 so that part is not immediately ‘hard’, you have a lot of time to personally learn and progress as the business progresses. It’s not difficult as such, you just need to be humble to the fact you’re unlikely to be the perfect CEO at the start. Investors don’t expect you to be either, what they want (in my experience) is a Founder who has the ability to grow and expand the initial skills set that he or she brings to the table.
How did you recruit your employees?
At the start our first few employees were close contacts or the recommendations of close contacts. What we’ve found now is that the startup world is an exciting and talented place to learn or hone your craft so going to the good job posting boards has served us well for the hires we have done since the early days.
Was there a breakthrough moment?
93% of startups fail in their first 3 years, so to be one of the 7% that has not only gone on longer than that but is still achieving fantastic levels of growth and increased efficiency is something very rare and sometimes I wish we had time to take stock and reflect on that! As a single moment, probably getting that final signature on the investment round documents in December 2015….that felt amazing! That and winning “The Next Big Thing in Travel” at the World Travel Market in London!
How is the company doing?
Very well, growing at a great rate while improving the unit economics year on year. It’s easy to grow sales if you just keep investing in marketing, but proving you can make more from each booking while each booking costs you less to do (through better conversion levels and more efficient management of marketing spend) is hard.
Do you have any regrets?
No, none yet. Every major strategic junction Snaptrip has come to we have taken so much advice on that I wouldn’t change how we have navigated them. Every hire, even if they have moved on, has added value and helped us learn, and every investor has been great to work with.
What makes you stand out from your competitors?
We don’t really have any direct competitors doing exactly what we do so we standout in the marketplace as being unique. Other cottage companies offer a much smaller range of properties which are often limited to a specific region. We offer a massive range of cottages all on one easy to use website.
What is your definition of a positive customer experience?
One that makes them want to book again and to recommend us to their friends.
You’re currently reaching out for investors, what do you plan to do when you have raised this funding?
There are still lots of opportunities for us to scale and this funding will allow us to achieve that, and more. There are other more interesting strategic routes we could take as well, which I can’t talk about!
If you could help a business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?
You might think you have the greatest idea in the world but if you don’t take the time to properly validate it, then chances are it won’t succeed. You need to have the intelligence and conviction to find out whether the solution you’ve decided upon is actually the best to fix the problem you’ve initially seen. Take into consideration: is it a genuine problem for others, how many people are affected by the problem and is your solution actually better than anything else out there already?
Finally, Matt what is your favourite biscuit?!
Chocolate chip cookie!