Laila Ram How we made £6m from Goan beach huts – MoneyWeek

DATE : 2020年2月22日 By :

Theirwebsite,i-escape,wasstartedwhentheyreturnedtoLondon。

Theirplanwastofindsuitablehotelsandagreeadealwherebyi-escapewouldreceivecommissionforeverysale。

“Wewantedtofocusondifferenthotelsandoffersomethingthatyoujustwouldn’tfindonanormaltravelagencywebsite。

”Lailaquitherjob(“luckilymyhusbandwasabletohelpwhilewegotthebusinessofftheground”),whileNikkihelpedoutatnightsandweekends。

“Wehadaround£100,000thatwewereabletoinvest。



Theyhiredaphotographer(“anoldfriend”)tovisitthehotelsandcountriestheywereplanningtofeature。

Aftermorethanayearsearchingfor“quirky”hotels,theirpartnersrangedfromacavehotelinGreecetoabeachhutinGoa。

Buttheylaunchedjustbefore9/11。

“Ithadabigeffectonthetouristindustryandmeantwewerestartinginthetoughestconditions。



Undeterred,thepairinvestedinonlineadvertising。

“Wehadamuchsmallerbudgetthanourbiggerrivals,sowedecidednottopayforexpensiveprintedadvertisements。

”Instead,theyspentonsponsoredinternetsearchresults。

“Therewassolittlecompetition。

Wewerepayingaslittleas2pperword,nowitisseveralhundredtimesasexpensive。

”Asthebusinessslowlygrew,Nikkiquitherjobandthepairconcentratedonaddingmorehotelsandcontentonthesite。

By2004theywerebreakingevenandthefirmwasstartingtorideaninternetwave。

“Overthelasttenyearstheinternettravelindustryhasgrownsomuch。

Wegotinearly,sowewerewellplaced。



Thepairstartedtakingonnewstaffandspendingmoreonadvertising。

“Aswebuiltuplinkswithmorehotels,wewereabletooffermoretocustomersandconvertmorevisitsintosales。

”Someofferedaroomforjust$10anight。

“Themostimportantthingwasthatourcustomersfelttheycouldalwaysfindahotelonoursite。

Thatwaytheywoulduseusagain。

”Theyhadmorethan1,000hotelsontheirbooksand18staffwhenthefinancialcrisishit。

Yetwhilevisitornumberstothesitedroppedatad,salesgrew。

“Thecrisismeantalotofhotelshadmorevacancies。

Thatwasgoodforusasvisitorsweremorelikelytogetaroom。



Thisyeari-escape’ssalesreached£6mandprofitspassed£1mwithmorethan1,500hotelsonthesite。

Othertravelagentsshouldwatchout:thepairnowplantoexpandintochild-friendlydestinations。

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