Written by Ben on March 6th 2019
Time to get some fresh air in Saint Malo
I’m writing this short note in the TGV, the French high-speed train, on my way to Saint Malo, a historical medieval coastal town in the West of France, not too far from Mont Saint Michel actually!
I made the decision to escape from Paris a few hours ago. 2019 has been incredible so far, but also extremely tiring. And the inner alarm bell started ringing. Before the body fails for good, it is important to listen to signals that tell very clearly that something is not right and sustainable.
For the first time in my life, I did it like in the movies. I showed up at Gare Montparnasse, looked up at the board with the next departures, and just chose on the spot. Saint Malo was on the list, only a couple of hours away, by the sea, away from cars, pollution, and stressful Paris. Don’t get me wrong, I love Paris. But leaving Paris also feels amazing haha!
This train ride is the opportunity to take a mini step back and look at what has been going on the past few weeks since the start of the year.
2019 has been an incredible year so far for INSIDR
We closed a few days ago a new round of fundraising with incredible investors. Nothing public yet so we will keep it quiet for now, but we are really really thrilled to welcome on board a new panel of very strong investors. We will have the fuel the continue our journey, with more and better content and guides, new traveller services, improved technology, enhanced customer digital journey, as well as upgraded B2B partner relations and development. The whole INSIDR team has done an incredible job in the past few weeks and months to make this new step materialise. It’s really amazing to realise how strong a team can be if the spirit is there.
I have never felt so much dynamism, motivation, and drive in the whole team.
New content and guide creation is going extremely well. The whole team took a sprint approach in early January to publish as soon as we could our brand new series of downloadable guides. Results have really been incredible, with thousands and thousands of downloads since the start just a few weeks ago. Traveller feedback has been amazing as well, with a multitude of thankful emails to complement the quality of the work and the usefulness of the content. And this is just the start. The pipeline of new content and guides is looking stronger than ever, with 20+ people contributing tirelessly on this new piece of value for travellers. From content research and creation, to graphic design, technology, multi-lingual localisation, marketing and customer management, partner relationship management. And on the technology side we had a wonderful meeting with our innovative partner Wemap, with whom we will continue to collaborate to enhance the features, including some cool new feature coming out soon with augmented reality.
Traveller market development is looking very promising as well, with recent new contracts signed with some of the biggest travel companies in the world based out of Asia. This effort will help us to demultiply our traveller outreach beyond our organic communication channels. We are also actively pursing new strong partnerships with small and medium travel companies that share our values.
From a tech perspective, the team has been developing in the background some very very strong features that should dramatically improve the digital customer journey on Insidr.co. The website that we released in summer 2018 as a big upgrade to our initial website Insidr.paris needed a complete revamp, and we are getting close to a new big release, which will involve overall design, navigation, SEO optimisation, clearer call to action, and upgraded product & services pages.
On the traveller services side, we are marching at full speed towards new highs in 2019. I am thrilled that markets that we started developing actively only a few months ago are now delivering impressive results, such as Japan, Korea, or Thailand. We continue as well to cherish our core base of American and Chinese speaking travellers. We will soon release some pretty big surprises on traveller services side, with new distribution partnership, new features, and brand new innovative services. We will probably deploy things progressively, starting first with the English speaking and Chinese speaking traveller bases, and then expanding to other segments soon after.
On partner side, we are extremely proud to continue collaborating with our long term partners such as Galeries Lafayette, which has been supporting INSIDR for a very long time now. And new partnerships are currently being prepared with new quality partners that share our values and want to improve the experience of individual travellers. We will spread the news as they come on that side as well.
In 2019, we will continue to work hard to take INSIDR to new highs, closer and closer everyday to our vision, and aligned with our mission of helping travellers enjoy a better travel experience in Europe.
I’m closing this note tired as ever, but with an absolute level of motivation. We embrace the challenge. We cherish our travellers and partners. And we develop ourselves as a strong honest team.
Saint Malo highlights!
48 hours later, here are a few highlights of a wonderful memorable trip to Saint Malo!
The views of the coast of Saint Malo are simply breathtaking.
Saint Malo is a perfect town for walks along the walls, by the sea, and into the core of the fortified town
Food was divine from start to finish
And I got to finally see the making of the homemade Bordier butter