Ep. 251 — The Power of Flexibility & Values: Jen Fein on Sustainable Growth in the Travel-Tech Industry

In today’s episode, we have a special guest joining us – Jen Fein, the CEO and head of product at YouLi (https://go.youli.io/). We’ll be discussing the fascinating journey of YouLi, a platform that generates personalised travel itineraries, and how it has been transforming the travel industry.

Get ready for an insightful conversation as we explore the importance of email marketing, the rise of unique group travel experiences, and the challenges and rewards of being a female founder in the tech and travel space. So grab your headphones and get ready to be inspired by Jen’s entrepreneurial journey on this episode of Tourpreneur.

Key Facts and Insights from the Episode

  • Increase in conversions and high demand for student travel
  • Top three conversion channels: email marketing, organic search, and affiliates
  • Paid search not recommended for specialised experiential group travel
  • Effectiveness of email newsletters in building relationships and trust with customers
  • Customer preferences for unique experiences and smaller brands
  • Jen Fein’s background and journey in the travel industry
  • Positive experience at the Women in Travel Summit and potential future partnerships
  • Importance of networking and crowd size at conferences
  • YouLi’s mission to provide personalised travel itineraries through templates and customisation
  • YouLi’s provision of personalised portals and schedules for TourpreneurConnect attendees
  • Importance of repeat customers and their impact on content creation and customer value
  • Challenges and risks in the travel tech industry, including funding issues
  • YouLi’s focus on niche experiences and its categorisation as B2B SaaS
  • YouLi’s growth model and emphasis on loyal customers aligned with values
  • Importance of understanding the business problem and goals before automation implementation
  • Rise in demand for unique group travel experiences with a merger of events and travel
  • Value of group travel in dividing costs among participants
  • Market differences for event tours compared to traditional tour operators
  • Competitor analysis, including events and potential activities
  • Importance of intimacy in large group travel experiences

04:19 Exception in corporate world leads to Japan; friends don’t read details, different information needs.

07:11 Technology allows for personalized and dynamic content.

10:01 Partnerships, retreat training, memberships, Transformational Travel Council.

17:30 4-day music festival tour in Colombia. Unique experiences.

19:27 Event planning skill merges with technology trends.

23:57 Conversions up 30% in last 90 days.

27:19 Paid search may not lead to bookings.

29:32 Intimacy and trust in travel experiences.

33:22 Not travel tech, focused on unique experiences.

36:40 Build company that cares, survives, and grows.

42:18 Let go of unnecessary technology, automate business.

44:59 Quick digital transformation for partnered clients. Gradual migration.

47:09 Original founder became tech guy, found co-founders.

51:36 Empathy, flexibility, and values guided our decisions.

53:29 Intentional, patient, sustainable business growth is success.