WLP26 Tripbod and Online Communities

In today's episode, Sally Davey, founder of Tripbod, shares her experience of building a business based on trust, her reasons for setting up this ethical tourism company and her own journey as entrepreneur.

00:30 Pilar talks a bit about how online communities have helped her build relationships and how many businesses are now relying on communities to sell their products. (For the script, see below.)

07:30 Sally describes what Tripbod is and how the company evolved.

12:25 The role of trust and building the Tripbod community. The Responsible Tourism Networking group.

21:00 How Tripbod has changed as a result of becoming part of TripAdvisor and how Sally's role has changed. Here is the article Sally wrote for Tnooz about her experience of selling Tripbod to Tripadvisor. www.tnooz.com/article/startup-biggest-travel-brands-planet/

24:05 Two new products: find out more about Neighborhoods and TripAdvisor Travel Guides - check out this Madrid travel guide: www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel_Guide-g187514-Madrid.html

29:18 How the travel industry is changing.

32:55 How Sally's own way of working has evolved.

35:00 Becoming a Tripbod.


"Travel is such an emotional product purchase."

In today’s episode I’m joined by Salley Davey, who is the founder of Tripbod, designed for travellers, providing you with “your friend at the other end”. And Tripbod became part of Tripadvisor last year and so, in addition to telling us how she set Tripbod up and telling us more about the business, Sally also shares how her role has changed since they became part of TripAdvisor.

And the reason why I wanted to talk to Sally about Tripbod is a community – you can call it a company, a product, now part of another business, but it really is a community and this is not just because Sally refers to this when she talks about Tripbod, but because the people involved in the success, are referred to her by Tripbods. That to me is the ultimate recognition factor, when the people contributing to a company’s success are actually referred to by the same name. Can you imagine people working for Apple, or if you want to get more specific, the people designing Apple’s products, being called Apples?

So, this was one of the main reasons why I wanted to talk to Sally about Tripbod, because the community aspect, and let’s be a bit specific here, the online community aspect is very important in this case. And the other interesting thing about this is of course that the online community is a platform for a real, face to face community to emerge, that the relationships made online through Tripbod then carry on to the offline world, and I think that is also reflecting a new way of using technology. We talk about this during the conversation, but I just wanted to add my bit of personal experience here. I was quite a late adopter of online communication tools, as in I never really used forums (although I landed a job moderating one, such is life…) and I signed up to Facebook quite late, when everyone else seemed to already be on it. And boy am I glad I did, because I would be missing out on so much if I hadn’t – and I’m not talking about the mountains of information and chatter that goes on, but I’m talking about the way that you can build relationships on these platforms with people who are close to you in thinking and not close to you in a physical location. As a specific example, a couple of years ago, I joined the Writers and Bloggers in Spain group on Facebook and I’ve become friends with quite a few of the members – I here I’m using friends without the capital F, in the true sense of the word. And what I’ve found is that because we are used to having quite decent conversations online, this has moved onto the offline world. And indeed, I actually met Sally through someone who was in that group.

Of course there is also MeetUp, which exists to do precisely that, to enable connections between people through the use of technology, through that platform.

And the same goes for Twitter, where I’ve connected with people online and then met them offline, and then stayed connected with them through Twitter.

But beyond social media, businesses are also using communities to sell – think of Amazon. The reviews really help to sell a product. And though initially, people and companies were trying to game the system, by buying reviews, or by writing bad reviews on the competition’s products, gradually this has changed and we now know that the best marketing we can do is create a great product. This is really scary when you’ve got stuff there that can get reviewed, but I think that all in all, it makes for a better marketplace.

Of course all this makes sense if you are like me and think that, mainly, humans are good people and worth trusting unless you have reason not to – and the reason might sometimes be your gut instinct. Of course, things happen that turn people rotten and human nature is very complex, but I think it’s quite uplifting that in some parts of the world, we’ve got used to trusting strangers. Once more, I’m talking specifically about these kind of businesses and online platforms that have grown and rely on people sharing their own opinions, I find it fascinating how trusting we can become.

Back to today’s episode then, Sally described what Tripbod is and why she set it up, she talks about two new products she’s involved with for TripAdvisor, and she also talks a bit about what it’s like to work in a distributed team.

And also, I thought I’d mention this now, Sally mentions that she’s always looking to expand the team and also, she’s always looking for Tripbods, so if you’re into ethical tourism, maybe you want to bear that in mind as you listen to this episode.