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