GetYourGuide, a world-leading tour booking platform, has so far sold over 20 million tickets through its platform, raised €155 million (including USD 75 million last November), employs 450 people – and has no plans of slowing down.
GetYourGuide co-founder and CEO Johannes Reck shared his experience starting and growing the company with EU-Startups.
What are some of the challenges you face now as a successful scale-up?
Of course, finding and developing the right talent to maintain the energy and company culture that drove that rapid growth in the first place is at the core of each step of the process, but we’re also facing the pressure of heightened expectations, now that the ‘cat is out of the bag’ that tours and activities are a huge business opportunity. Major players are definitely taking note.
Luckily for GetYourGuide, our specialization and years of experience in the space are a huge advantage. We’ve gotten a head start on the competition, and we welcome the attention.
Can you tell us a bit about the company’s journey?
When we first launched GetYourGuide, we had conceived of it as a peer-to-peer platform for students in the same vein as Facebook, and we soon learned a tough lesson that no one wanted to book tours from students.
But this failure gave us an important insight: that travellers did have an interest in finding things to do online, and that professional tour providers wanted to reach them. We pivoted to focus on the latter in 2009 and relaunched our site, and that’s when things started moving quickly.
One of the unique things about the USD 150 billion+ tours & activities industry segment is that it was, and still is, largely unclaimed by online players, so it’s been a constant race since then to achieve significant market share. We’re racing faster than ever.
Where do you see the company in the next 3-4 years?
Our next great frontier is to develop ourselves as a brand. We want to be more than a successful European startup; we want to be a ubiquitous travel brand that is known and beloved by travellers around the world. And that will come from more than big marketing budgets.
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