In this article, I am telling you all about the story of Retrip and how it all started. At 22 years old, I decided to make my way in the entrepreneurial world.
Back to my home town
The year 2020 started very roughly for me. I was living the best life in Barcelona, eating tapas every day and working in a five-star hotel, when suddenly, the world collapsed. In less than 24 hours, I had to abandon my apartment and drive to Brussels to live with my parents. I was back in Belgium depressed, with barely anything to wear and hoping that this “little crisis” would only last for a few weeks… Little did I know that this would last for years.
Going back to my home town was hard. I had to readjust to a new lifestyle, and find a new reason to wake up every morning. My internship was on pause, and I had to wait for it to start again so I could graduate. Of course, I soon realized that this would take longer than a few days, and that I would need to think of a “mid-term” occupation. To be honest, it took me weeks to motivate myself into doing anything.
During that time, I was mostly reminiscing on old memories and on how much I loved being in Barcelona, discovering its hidden gems and local restaurants. In fact, it reminded me that I loved traveling and discovering new places in general. Barcelona wasn’t the first city I have lived in. At only 23, I have lived in five different countries: the US, South-Africa, Indonesia, The Netherlands, and now Spain. For some reasons, Barcelona was the trigger: this city, combined with the pandemic and its many negative consequences, made me come with a new business idea.
Barcelona, source of inspiration
But why? Barcelona is a very vibrant city with an exciting culture, and many — oh so many — restaurants to eat at. People who know me would agree to say that I am not a fan of touristic restaurants or touristic attractions in general. Knowing this, you might wonder how I was able to make my way through Barcelona. It is not easy, and if you don’t pay attention, you can quickly end up in an expensive and average restaurant with poor service. But not me… No, I am not a lazy traveller. I would do my research, read google reviews, and most importantly, ask for recommendations from locals.
My own behavior made me think. It made me think about the fact that so many people are trapped into touristic places. Was it because they are too lazy? Or is it simply because they don’t have any standards or tastes? The more I thought, the more I realized that there was an opportunity to make things better. And this is when, in the middle of a pandemic, when all borders were closed and economies were shut down, I decided to create Retrip, an online platform that connects travelers to locals in an efficient, authentic, and original way.
The pandemic did not scare me. Yes, we were all stuck at home. But like myself, everybody was dreaming about traveling and discovering new places again. By being prohibited to travel, people were understanding how important traveling really was, and how valuable interacting with another culture was. It was just a matter of time for countries to open up again, and Retrip will be there to make sure traveling takes a new meaning.
From an opportunity to an idea
The idea of Retrip is to allows tourists to instantly book a city tour or a food tour with a local at the push of a button. Our platform allows independent tour guides to create profiles and routes and get matched with travelers who require a city tour guide. The tourist, also called a Traveler, can use the app to find a guide, also called a Buddy, and book one of the Buddy’s featured tours. For the Traveler, it is a fast and easy way to meet locals and discover the city most authentically. For the Buddy, it is an interactive and fun way to make extra income and share their city most creatively.
What’s so special about it? Unlike other platforms, the main focus is to build a strong sense of community. I believe that the guide can enhance the experience more than the tour alone. When you go to a restaurant, do you also believe that the service you receive will break or make your experience, no matter how the food tastes? If the answer is yes, you are our best customer! This is precisely what Retrip is trying to achieve, but for city tours. By focusing on the people, the quality of the tours will follow.
Want to know more about Retrip? Watch the video I made, back at my parent’s house in 2020.
From a dream to a reality
The idea was there, the rest would follow. I grabbed my computer, opened a blank document and started typing: my first ever business plan was in the making. Very soon after, I worked with a company to draw a first prototype, and brought two friends along the journey: Survive and Peter. At this time, Retrip wasn’t a dream anymore. It was a team, a tangible project.
Want to know more about the story of Retrip and our crazy team? Take a look here!