An interview with Sarah Fazendin: Co-Founder of Globa.li

How did you dream up Globa.li?

For 10 years my co-founder and I were working to market hotels to safari operators and increasingly noticed the way that business transactions took place was super inefficient. Not only were travellers not able to book online but also the amount of emails among travel agents and the whole process was massively inefficient. We wanted to make it more efficient.

Tell us more about your background:

In 2001 I was working for the Tourism Board of Kenya and I took my first trip to Africa. Like many people on their first trip to Africa, I fell in love and was committed for life. I’ve spent the last 13 years traveling Africa and while there I make time to listen to hotel owners and their concerns. Through those conversations over a glass of wine, I collected valuable insights from hotels looking to sell their amazing experiences. I realized there was a really special opportunity.

What makes Globa.li different?

When people think about where technology is going in the travel industry, the logical route is always having consumers book everything online. In emerging markets this is more complicated because travellers need a bit more help and support along the booking path.

We are creating B2B technology, which supports, strengthens and grows distribution partnerships, which is what makes Globa.li unique. We are the first company to go in and digitize hotel inventory, focusing on boutique hotels in exotic destinations, to enable distributors to more easily book these rooms.

Where did the name Globa.li come from?

(Laughing) We were trying to find a cool URL that wasn’t taken. We wanted our company to reflect the mind set of experiential travellers thinking globally. Our customer is not going to New York for spring break they are going to Bali. Our brand is truly global exploration and that is why we liked the name.

What is your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge is something we are challenging ourselves with- developing technology for the best user experience possible. We want to create tools, both the software itself as well as mobile applications, for hotels and help with the business challenges they face.

What stresses you out?

Travel is a super complicated industry. Nothing is linear and there are a lot of players and opportunities. My head hurts at the end of the day thinking about how can we streamline such a complicated industry, with lots of layers and cooks in the kitchen.

How can we make this as simple and intuitive as possible when the industry is anything but?

Which professionals do you admire?

As I mentioned, over the years I have had the opportunity to interact with countless small hotel owners across Africa. These small business owners are some of the people I admire most. These boutique hotel owners have dedicated their lives to a lifestyle and destination that is meaningful to them. These people have not only built something amazing, out of nothing, often in a remote and harsh part of the world. But they also are quietly working to support conservation, enable healthy and sustainable local communities and are certainly not in the business for fame or fortune. They are committed to a personal vision, and this is what drives them through the inevitable highs and lows of the travel industry.

Where is your favorite place you’ve ever been?

That’s a tough question. I would have to say Masai Mara in Kenya- it’s where I go for personal (non-work related) safaris. I’ve shared that experience with friends and family and hopefully next summer my kids. It’s a very cool and special place for me.

What is your favorite part of the day on safari?

Without a doubt, the evening Sundowner.

Where is the next place you want to travel?

There are so many places- for some reason beaches are on my mind. Lamu in Kenya and the Seychelles are definitely on my list.

Any last thoughts-

Hotels and travel agents/tour operators can register now for a Beta invite on our site here: http://globa.li.com

Fire up the Globa.li “Combinator”

Have you ever been contacted by one of your top clients wanting to book a customized exotic luxury trip for her family of five to East Africa during high season? And they want to leave in less than a month?

On the one hand, amazing! A $30,000 booking just fell in your lap! But you have to move fast and the idea of being able to pull this together in enough time for your clients seems pretty daunting.

So where do you start? You obviously have dates and places these people want to visit, but how will you ever find out what hotels have inventory during high season? Forget it, this may be an impossible feat.

The team at Globa.li isn’t a stranger to these issues. Co-founders Sarah and Maisa have worked for years watching tour operators, hotels and travel agents scramble and work long hours, puzzle-piecing complicated FIT itineraries together. They knew there had to be a better way.

Globa.li was created specifically for these types of trips. Thanks to the platform’s patented multi-hotel search process, booking agents have a much simpler and faster method to view availability, quote SPECIFIC hotels and book these special hotels online.

Globa.li allows agents to search for hotels with availability in multiple regions, cities, hotels…the works, all in a combined space. Additionally, it provides an easy marketplace for agents, operators and DMC’s to connect to hotels, all while maintaining valued distribution channels.

Now, instead of travel companies having to call or email hotels directly or checking a number of random URLs and websites, agents can view ALL hotel availability in one place. And since it’s Globa.li, it is the best of the best inventory.  We are currently testing the “Globa.li Combinator” in Africa and will be rolling out in Latin America very soon.

We are thrilled to share this groundbreaking technology and would love to hear from you.  Tell us what you think!

We welcome hotels and travel agents, tour operators, travel wholesalers to sign up for a FREE.

Globa.li’s Special Places: Delta Camp

Where: The world-famous Okavango Delta is the home of this Globa.li Special Place- Delta Camp is set on the Boro and Metsematsweu channels of the Okavango. What differentiates this place is their personalized safari experience and unique offerings. The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world where “dry land and wetland species cohabit, creating unique and startling associations of plants, amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles.” Big game is also found in the area, depending on water levels, such as elephant, leopard, cape buffalo, wildebeast, hippo and crocodile. We can thank the hippo for their engineering of the water-ways through the thick marsh and flood-plains.

What: Delta Camp offers twice-daily walking safaris and mokoro (handmade dugout canoes) excursions through the Moremi Game Reserve. Your comfortable chalet is en suite with hot and cold running water, a shower with a view, multiple areas in which to relax, mosquito netting and solar-powered electric lighting. You will not go hungry here. You can look forward to 4 meals a day – early breakfast before the morning drives, huge brunch, mid afternoon tea before the afternoon water excursions, and magnificent dinners flanked by cocktails and after-dinner drinks around the bonfire. And of course, we can’t forget the “sundowners” which is African cocktail hour held enroute during the afternoon excursions as the sun is setting on the Delta. Can you say spoiled?

Who: What makes your experience unique is the one-on-one approach of having your own private guide independent of other guests. You get to plan your day and don’t have to fit into a set schedule while at Delta Camp. These guides have a lifetime of experience living in the Okavango Delta and are well known for having eyes like a hawk or should we say African Eagle? Your guide will accompany you on all your excursions and introduce you to the dynamic ecosystems of the Okavango. Another offering that makes Delta Camp a Globa.li Special Place is the opportunity for a 2-8 night extended, fully serviced and catered camping expedition by dug-out into the further reaches of the Okavango. Imagine feeling like you are in the middle of nowhere but with plenty of pampering from guides and camp hands? If you would rather stay closer to the lodge, you can’t top the Delta Camp treehouse. Pun intended!