Luxtripper’s long-term vision of a hybrid travel company that digitises the luxury planning journey and supplements it with the chance to speak to an actual human seems to be paying off.
Running a travel business at the moment is an unenviable role beset by challenges. But some companies will emerge stronger, having battled through by staying true to their company strategy or ethos and ready to reap the rewards of when travel does pick up again.
Very few travel companies however will have managed to secure external funding to help drive their business plan in such dire times.
Much like Luxtripper’s founder Nena Chaletzos though, investors have seen the long-term promise of a hybrid company that digitises the luxury planning journey and supplements it with the chance to speak to an actual human too.
“I always wanted to combine the benefits of having that relationship with your traditional travel agent, of trust and rapport, but allowing customers to also efficiently search and use tech to give them a bit of digital control over the planning too – when I looked around, no-one was doing that, so I started Luxtripper,” Chaletzos says.
Around half the company’s clients will book purely using the site’s tools, but for the other 50%, there’s a voice at the end of the line for them. “We spend a lot of time looking at the customer journey through the site and working to make that search easier for people,” she explains. “We also feel like we’ve taken luxury product to a new demographic – a younger audience who appreciate a nimble online journey and expect a speedy return on itineraries and interaction with us, as that’s what they experience when buying anything else.”
Luxtripper’s client base is also subtly shifting though. Historically it was more based around younger digital-first career professionals, but as older consumers get more tech savvy, she sees them coming to use the site, while also appreciating being able to combine it with speaking to someone.
Generally speaking, Chaletzos agrees there is an uptick in people wanting to use a travel company generally. “The thought of organizing anything in this climate is so complex, so people appreciate someone being able to guide them through the new landscape.”
Chaletzos’ problem-solving approach and hybrid model of combining pain-free tech with high-touch service when needed for affluent travellers are what appealed to investors, as Luxtripper secured £1.2 million in its latest funding round, despite travel facing its most challenging time for decades.
The investment was raised from “high-net worth individuals and former travel executives”, and means that total investment in the business since its launch in 2015 has now topped £3.1 million.
Funds are no sticking plaster for any current struggles; the plan was always for investment to be used to continue Luxtripper’s strategic goal to “double the destination offering over the next three years, further develop its proprietary technology platform, and hire for roles across the business”.
“The challenge for any business has always been to stay relevant and right now, it’s to remain agile and adapt to all these changes. We have a long journey to go on, but I think people see how we fill a gap in the luxury travel space and support our vision to focus on the customer journey, and to invest in technology that simplifies that and allows us to create product our clients really want,” says Chaletzos.
She adds that five new people have already been hired in the concierge team this year, as well as a head of customer excellence, a new role in the business. “We’re hiring consistently and conservatively – there is a lot of talent out there at the moment.”