Who else is in need of another summer holiday? Well, look no further and travel like a local with Evaneos! Let them do a little match making and connect you with travel agents based on your destination and travel preferences. It will certainly be your most worthwhile match of SS17.
We caught up with Eric La Bonnardière, Evaneos' CEO & Co-founder on what the business offers the travel industry that has not been done before, how your travel experiences can be transformed with inside knowledge from the experts and what it takes to successfully build a travel start-up.
1) Please, can you tell us about Evaneos and how it is providing a service that the travel industry is lacking?
Evaneos was created to allow travellers the freedom to create authentic, personalised trips directly with a local travel agent based in the destination. We combine the tailor-made model with something we believe the travel industry had been lacking for a long time before Evaneos; locally-made travel, with the human experience at its core. Of course, we understand that planning a trip with a local agent abroad can raise questions regarding security, and that’s where Evaneos steps in. With a team dedicated to sourcing and vetting the world’s best local agents, and guarantees like secure payment and ABTA-protection, we provide the framework of safety and reassurance that you would typically expect from UK-based tour operators, while giving people access to unparalleled local expertise.
2) What is Evaneos’ USP?
At Evaneos, we believe that exploring the world means being more than ‘just another tourist’. Our platform cuts out the intermediary and makes the process of planning a trip more exciting and engaging by putting travellers in touch with a travel professional who truly knows and understands the specific country they want to visit. Through technology and global expertise, we help travellers to create trips that would be difficult to plan otherwise, and they get to experience that special human touch that comes from direct contact with local experts. It transforms holiday-planning into an easy and unique experience that you can’t find anywhere else, and so far, that method has proven to be an attractive proposition for more than 160,000 travellers.
3) How did the idea come about and what were the next steps?
Yvan Wibaux, Evaneos’ co-founder, sent out a message to the alumni of the HEC business school we both attended looking for others who were interested in both travel and starting a disruptive new business. We knew immediately that our skill sets were complementary – with his background more focused on technology and products and mine more based in marketing and communication – and soon we started looking for ways a start-up model could make an impact on travel. We’ve been focused on expanding to new international markets most recently after our success in several EU countries, a total of eight as of today.
4) How do you choose the local travel agents that you work with?
Evaneos has a dedicated team for each market that works on sourcing. A major part of their role is finding new agents and vetting them with our selection criteria. We try to be as rigorous as possible to ensure seamless, incredible experiences for every Evaneos traveller. Because the criteria is so intensive, we usually only partner with 9% of all agents we contact.
5) What were you doing prior to launching Evaneos?
I was working as a consultant before getting in contact with Yvan. After that, we spent a year trying to better understand the travel industry and to get a true sense of the needs that were present in the market. We created one other travel company that really helped us to see how a personalised, human touch would make a big difference. That’s what put us in the right position to create Evaneos and help it grow to what it is today.
Images courtesy of: Evaneos
6) Have you always wanted to run your own company?
Yes, ever since I was a teenager. There are entrepreneurs in my family, and I always admired their energy and the way they could develop something completely from scratch. After starting my first job, I also realised rather quickly that I didn’t want to work for other people.
7) What is the greatest lesson you have learnt since the launch?
The only thing that matters is the people you decide to work with.
8) What is the best piece of work advice you have ever been given?
There are very few limits to achieving your dreams. Most often, it’s just a question of effort, energy and the amount of work that you put into it.
9) You must get to travel a lot! What are your favourite destinations to escape to?
I have a lot of favourites. I love destinations of all kinds. I don’t think I could ever get tired of travelling. Some of the places I loved the most that I visited recently were Russia, where I was really impressed by the immensity of the natural landscapes, Japan, the Greek islands, and even a small village just outside of my home city of Paris!
10) What can we expect to see next for Evaneos?
Like all models that have proven to be successful, we are in the process of expanding and growing. One of our big projects right now is preparing for launch in the US market. We have also been hard at work on a brand new design that will help to reinforce that special human touch that our local agents can bring to every holiday as well as a new, easier-to-use app.