How to reduce the pain of traveling.

Sam Patil is the founder and CEO of Well Traveled Club, a members-only platform designed to reduce the pain of planning for travel and replace it with enjoyment. It is described as a home for a new generation of travelers, foodies, and adventure seekers. Well Traveled Club offers community perks and more to its growing membership.

"Travel is more about people than it is about features. And so we wanted to build technology that fostered those connections rather than putting something out there that was completely driven by tech."

Sam PatilFounder and CEO, Well Traveled Club

Transcription

[00:00:00] Katie: Welcome to Building While Flying, a Sasha Group podcast where we interview business leaders about how they tackle challenges, stay resilient, and navigate ever changing skies. Welcome to Building While Flying. Today continuing in our theme of early stage businesses, we’re delving into the travel space.

Welcome Sam Patil the founder and CEO of Well Traveled Club, a members-only platform designed to reduce the pain of planning for travel and replace it with enjoyment described as a home for a new generation of travelers, foodies, and adventure seekers. Travel Club offers community perks and more to its growing membership.

Welcome to Building While. Flying. 

[00:00:42] Samantha: Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here. 

[00:00:44] Katie: Yeah, great to have you. And I, who doesn’t love discussing travel, especially on a rainy day in Brooklyn on my end. I know you wrote on the . 

[00:00:53] Samantha: I’m in LA so it’s not raining, but I still love talking about travel.

So I’m excited to chat.

[00:00:58] Katie: So before we dive in, let’s just hear a bit more about your background. So what is that history that led you to come to decide to start a members-only travel platform? 

[00:01:09] Samantha: Yeah. In the pandemic too. What a great question. . 

[00:01:12] Katie: It’s an interesting choice.

Yeah. As everyone ceases to move entirely. 

[00:01:17] Samantha: Yeah, exactly right? Yeah. Talk about an elephant in the room. The well-traveled story started in, 2019 or so when I came up with the idea. But I think my connection to travel and, you know what eventually turned into this company, started so much earlier than that.

 So I always like to share a couple things with people. The first is that I took my first international flight at six months old. Nice. I was exposed to traveling really young. I was very lucky. And then I’m actually not from the us, I’m British. I was born and raised there until,

[00:01:51] Katie: Wait.

I was 

born. We did not discuss this.

[00:01:53] Samantha: Did we not talk about this? Oh yeah. 

[00:01:56] Katie: Wow. Yeah. Okay, that’s gonna totally derail this conversation, but we’ll have to revisit it. 

[00:02:01] Samantha: And then the eventual question I usually get is but you sound like you’re from LA, which is true. And I think the reason for this is when you’re 11 and you show up to California, we move to Sacramento in Northern California and you’ve got like a Spice Girl’s backpack, a British accent.

You are definitely not cool. Kids think you’re a freak, you get made fun of. I would hate reading aloud in class, I would say a word funny and then it would just be eruptions of laughter and I was like, this is miserable. I’m gonna change my accent. And here we are today and I’d be so much cooler in the US if I had an accent now, which my . Sister still does, my parents still do.

My sister went back to England for college, so that’s probably a big part of it. 

[00:02:44] Katie: Yeah, I bet. Those formative years. It really matters what age you are. I came to the States only 12 years ago and I’m so baked, baked accent. Yep. It’s not going anywhere.

[00:02:55] Samantha: Yeah. Yeah. The best part of this is we had like a brief stint in New Jersey when I was two, which is actually where my sister was born.

And you can see on like home videos from the time my accent starts to do some really weird stuff. You’ve got this like British Jersey kind of accent coming through. And then I also went through a period where I was calling everybody darling when I was like three, which my mom was like, it was just so strange.

Like you’d just be like darling, you’re like this. Two, three year old kid and people were just like, that’s odd. So yeah it’s gone on a journey and I’ve ended up with an LA California accent. 

[00:03:28] Katie: That’s amazing. I feel like there’s a definite bit of absolutely fabulous going on there. Which thing?

That’s brilliant. So Oh wow. So early traveler and also international like dna. Yes. And I guess it sounds like a little bit of a cultural chameleon, which is obviously sometimes goes hand in hand with the love of travel. Yeah. 

[00:03:50] Samantha: Yeah, I think so. I think it was just, it was, we talked a little bit about this before it was really important to my parents, or travel has always been important to my parents.

And so I think it was just something that they wanted to pass on to us me and my sister in terms of exposing us to different, countries, cultures, getting us uncomfortable and getting us used to discomfort. And also I think when you’re a kid, a lot of times your entire world ends right in front of your face.

And so I think they wanted to, just slap that right out of us. And so they would take us to all these different places and partially cuz they wanted to go and partially cause they’re like, this will be good for you too. And so I think that it just taught me so much about the world around me, but also I think myself as well and one of the things that I’ve found is we are all so much more alike than we are different. And I think when you spend time in other countries and connect with other people that are different to you or have different back stories, or speak different languages of different style, there’s always some point of connection that you end up finding with them.

And I think it just creates a lot of empathy for each other. And I think the world would be a better place. Everyone was able to travel more freely and connect more freely and all of that. So that’s kinda core to me, I think

[00:05:00] Katie: That’s wonderful. So there’s, that’s a definite, undercurrent of a purpose for you.

And then how does that connect to actually going about founding a members platform. 

[00:05:11] Samantha: Yeah. So I come from consumer subscription. I’ve worked at a few companies, so Dollar Shave Club being the most recent, and then previously Pandora and then I was at Snapchat in the middle. So there’s a few things about those different, I think a lot of things about working at those different companies really shaped how I thought about approaching.

Sort of this problem or the space I wanted to play in and then the brand I wanted to create. But during my time at those different companies, I spent most of my time helping them launch and grow their marketing operations overseas. . So I was traveling all the time like once a month internationally.

Often by myself. And so I think that’s where I first ran into this I don’t really feel like there are platforms or communities or tools out there that are designed for me as a young female traveler. And I just started, looking at this space and you realize the hospitality industry.

There are a lot of women in it, but they’re not really in leadership positions and they’re not running companies. They’re not, they have, they’re not founding companies, like the majority of founders in this space are men. So I felt we talked a little bit about this Bumble comparison of, it felt like a space that was really dominated by a lot of masculine energy, when in reality a lot of times it’s really women that are making all the purchasing decisions in this space and really controlling a lot of that spend. So I wanted to just approach this from a different perspective around what are important to women traveling. Like how can this be different? How could this look a bit different? And to me, I’d really seen the value of creating membership communities and building around that sort of sense of belonging.

That I feel is really central to travel as well. Feeling like you have a place that you belong. Yeah. So it I like really lent into that and that’s how we thought. The origin of the brand and like why I wanted to create it and all of that. Yeah. 

[00:07:01] Katie: And you described the platform as a home, which obviously is deliberate for that reason.

And just for the benefit of those listing, will you just do a quick recap of the core pillars of what the membership offers? 

[00:07:13] Samantha: Yeah. So as part of your membership, you get access to our content platform and our community. So you can think of it like the nuts and bolts. There’s one similarity that we would have to, like a yelper trip advisor.

Mm-hmm. . There’s user generated content and people can leave reviews and upload photos and share. I’ll say the similarities pretty much stopped there. Everything on our platform is really recommended. It’s if it’s on there, it means that someone from our team thinks it should be there, or another member has recommended it as somewhere that they think someone else should go.

And the idea is to help you have a more personalized discovery experience that you’re finding people and content that helps you get inspired for a future trip and then actually helping you connect with people on the platform. You can message other members, you can ask them questions. We have some local experts in different countries that are really excited to share their experiences with you.

And then when it comes time to book your trip, we can actually help you book those accommodations. And you have some pretty great member perks when you do book with us. And at one of our partner hotels. Primarily booking hotels right now. 

[00:08:14] Katie: Awesome. That’s so interesting cause one of the things you said right at the beginning about what it is that travel means to you.

You talked about perspective and empathy and I feel like that coming in at it through the angle of connecting a community and discovery, but not only from fellow travelers but also to the people at the other end. Like the at the destination is so much about creating that connection and empathy with people in other places.

Like Yeah, those at the other end that sometimes get forgotten or treated like just the destination and no more.

[00:08:45] Samantha: Yeah, exactly. There’s a lot of talk about, empowering discovery through algorithms. And I do think there’s a piece of personalization there that is important and is a layer that you can add on.

But I tend to think that travel is more about people than it is about features. And so we wanted to build technology that actually like, fostered those connections rather than just, putting something out there that was completely driven by tech. Cuz I think about if I have, an algorithm or a website or three different websites tell me to go to restaurant A.

All I really need is for two friends to tell me to go to restaurant B, or two people I trust to tell me to go to restaurant C and I’m not going to restaurant. 

A

[00:09:21] Katie: It trumps all of that convenient first thing on the Google search immediately. Yeah. It’s so interesting that point about it, it being more about people than features.

 I’m interested to hear your perspective. Cause I think this takes us straight into a conversation about the space because so much of the current industry is really kind of optimized around convenience and the kind of like algorithmic efficiency of getting you good deals and what you are talking about is humanity, but it’s a tough space. When you think about the cutthroat nature of some of the big dogs out there, talk a bit more about this differentiator that will help set Well Traveled Club apart from some of those players. 

[00:10:09] Samantha: Yeah, I think you know, my biggest frustration with this space, is it’s become so transactional in terms of everything is really focused around the transaction of booking a trip.

This is how companies build out their monetization strategy. There’s not a lot of thought around like the customer service side of it. I think anyone that’s. booked a hotel on like hotels.com or like Expedia can probably attest to that. , we all have our own horror stories, and I just think that things have gotten outta whack and we need like a level-set here.

And I think so much about travel and discovery is about building trust. And I think that has really been eroded by the majority of brands, I think we talked about this. If I bring up, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Expedia, you’re probably not thinking ah, yes, the trusted brands of our time, so I think it’s really time for a level-set And so that’s why we are approaching it from this. I think trust our core brand promise, and then you start to get into a secondary one that builds off of that is quality, right? But I think that this idea. that It doesn’t have to be this race to the bottom. There’s more to travel than just getting a good deal.

Yeah. There’s the experience that you’re gonna have from that. And so for our travelers, most of them are in this gray area where they have, graduated from this budget traveler, who’s really focused on price, but they’re not a luxury traveler. And what tends to happen is in this industry, both of those groups of people get a lot of attention.

They have a lot of resources, but all the folks that are in this middle area, Are a little bit like homeless, so we wanted to create a home for them to say Hey, you might be okay paying a little bit more for comfort or convenience or for a better experience. If this boutique property that has, this like great experience and lovely breakfast and like all these fun, like interesting things is maybe 50 bucks a night more than like a Best Western,

most of our travelers are prioritizing the experience and price is oftentimes a secondary consideration. Yeah. 

[00:12:06] Katie: So I have, I like, As always with these fabulous conversations, I have three directions I wanna go in. But one thing you said that I just wanna just quickly hop back to is you mentioned things that got outta whack and it’s time for a kind of reset.

And then earlier on you also mentioned the elephant in the room of starting in the pandemic. Is there an element of having started at this like weird world breaking moment, especially when it comes to travel? that almost primed that opportunity. Do you see it like that at all? 

[00:12:39] Samantha: Yeah, I think so. It definitely affected how we thought about and approached the product.

 And even just the content that we were creating. And I think the biggest thing about it is you know, at the time when we were launching companies like Booking.com, their revenue had just gone to $0, right? it was all tied up in booking. Whereas for us, we never, we didn’t even launch with a booking option.

It was really around the content of the community. And so I think because of everything going on with the pandemic and, I think at the time, travel got really emotionally charged on social media. There was a lot of like travel shaming and kinda like dependent emotions around it, and you just, you never really knew what was going on with someone though, right?

Like maybe I had to cancel my wedding and my honeymoon and I just wanted to go for staycation with my husband, or like maybe I couldn’t see, my grandma and I was just looking to, go and get outta my house for . night. So it just, there was so many complicated emotions about it and I felt like there were people that still felt like they needed to get out of their house cause they were going crazy.

And so I think for us, we became this hopeful, more like happy corner of the internet for people where they could come. Daydream about a future trip or find somewhere that they felt like comfortable or safe going. We had a lot of people like go to like Under Canvas, which is this like fun glamping company I’ve heard.

So yeah, it’s super cool. So I think a lot of that definitely influenced how we saw ourselves creating value for that customer at that point in time. And allowed us to really create a lot of trust with them right off the bat.

[00:14:10] Katie: That’s so interesting. I love that. We’ve had a couple of other early startup stories that began in a different part of an offering from where, like a traditional, like if you were going after investors, they’d be like, you need the money make hand and first.

And it’s so interesting that as a result, we talked bit a bit about this the other day that going in through the content and also through this kind of closed community. At a time when like the wild west of social platforms is like not always the friendliest place to exactly your point about like travel shaming.

It seems like it was a really great moment and an opportunity to build something that then you could layer value on top of. It’s great. Yeah. What have you learned about your audience that surprised you the most? It sounds like you’ve got a really clear sense of, it’s almost like this middle, right?

They’re not the bargain hunter, but they’re not yet the luxe. Maybe they never will be the luxe, traveler. Yeah. It’s possible, yeah. Is there, now that you’ve obviously spent some time growing and curating this group of people what surprised you about what you’re learning or how they’re interacting with the platform and each.

[00:15:13] Samantha: I think one of the things that surprised me the most is how much people wanna share their favorite places, or contribute content because I, I get this question a lot of . like, Oh, it’s user-generated content. You probably have a cold start problem. I was kinda like, not really.

Almost 60% of our members have contributed content in some way, and that’s very high. And there’s this like rule of social media, right? It’s like the 99 1 rule 90% lurkers, like 90% of people contribute. And then you have these 1% of power users. And so our contribution rate is so much higher.

And I really wanted to dig into that. But also what we noticed is, so whenever someone joins the club, we ask them in their application, why do you wanna join? And even at that stage, before they’ve even joined the community, It’s a lot of yeah, I’m looking for inspiration. I wanna connect with others, but also I’ve traveled so much and I would love to share my favorite places with other people that would be excited to receive that information.

So I think of it like, like you and I, we have a relationship now. We’ve met a few times we’ve talked and if you were like, I’m coming to La Sam, I would love to know where you think I should go. I would be so excited to tell you. But if somebody like random on Twitter is like, where should I go in la?

I’m like, I’m not gonna put the effort into doing that. I dunno. You, I dunno anything about you. So I think because it’s built around membership and community, it creates again, that sense of belonging, that sense of comradery, that like really gets people excited to share their favorite places because they know it’s gonna be well received.

They know that people are here to find that content. And then it creates this like flywheel of I’m gonna give something because I know I’m gonna get something out. Or I’m gonna reply to this member who DMed me a question because I had a question the other day and someone responded to me.

So I think just the appetite for that did surprise me. Cause I was like, is anybody gonna contribute anything? Are we gonna have to do all of it? But in the right environment where you like embrace that vulnerability and also make it like fun and exciting for them to share. We’ve seen that just like work really well.

[00:17:10] Katie: It makes so much sense. It’s also interesting, it’s totally peaking my kind of growing hypothesis around there’s like a flywheel of consumer behavior, right? Yeah. And like the way that the social platforms have evolved and how people’s behaviors on them have evolved. Like the early days of Facebook where people coalesced around an interest and had these like really like earnest conversations with each other that weren’t interrupted by ads.

It’s come back through a couple of places. One, like the pure interest graph or the interest graph of TikTok, where like , it really is truly about what is for you. Yeah. But then the other flip side is these more dedicated groups we’ve all been trained now.

We can make content all day long and everyone’s a maker and people are, making TikTok, but quite often into the ether, to, to an audience of no one. Yeah. But in a space where your contribution is welcomed and in some cases acted upon. It’s like extra validating for people who actually have got past the idea of cure lurking and want to put their stuff out there.

[00:18:11] Samantha: Totally. I, yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head and the, this whole marriage between interest grasps and social grasps, I think is, So interesting. And like how, obviously Facebook started with the social graph and TikTok started with the interest graph. And now they’re like both meeting in the middle. It needs a little bit of both. , right? If I’m someone that’s, traveling, I, I really wanna I have friends who you. Are great at recommending restaurants, but I would never want like a recipe recommendation for them cause they don’t cook.

So in the same way that we sort of organize those things in our real life, it’s the same with travel. I like travel with my dog, right? So I love recommendations from other people that have traveled with their dog. If I’m looking to travel with my dog, not necessarily like somebody that hasn’t had that experience.

Right, right, right. The mutual sort of like connection. And I think that contributes to this ongoing contribution and engagement and all of that. 

[00:18:59] Katie: Yeah, it’s great. I was having conversation with someone earlier on today about the travel space and one of them was around, Airbnb has seen this like insane spike of engagement and success with Its Yeah.

Local experiences. You’ve mentioned at the moment it’s more hotels, but you’re you are thinking about that down the line. Yeah. Are you seeing that same level of interest on the kind of experience side or what’s your view on that side? The opportunity? 

[00:19:24] Samantha: Yeah. I think so.

I think also I’ve seen, we’ve seen a lot of interest in people wanting to connect with each other. Mm-hmm. Like within the membership community. So one of the things we have on the roadmap for next year is building out like a really. Membership directory that you can maybe like opt into and filter by like location and interest and things like that.

Because there’s so oftentimes where, you know, even me and my husband were on a trip last September, we went to Spain and you know, like having a drink at the bar, I’d be like, man, it’d be super cool if they were like, Another cool couple that we could hang out with, but like, how do you find that, how do you filter for that?

So if you’re part of at least like a membership community, it’s almost like this security blanket of like, well, this person’s like probably not a serial killer. Like they, we probably have something in common, ,

[00:20:04] Katie: at least I know, like I can track them down. 

[00:20:06] Samantha: Yeah, there’s some vetting, right? So we’re like, it’d be so cool if we could know if other members were here.

And we have had that a few times where people will connect locally on the ground you know, my sister for example my sister lives in New Zealand and she had been, she like called me one day cuz she’s oh my gosh, there’s this girl on the platform who’s like saving all of the spots. I recommended to her wishlist for her trip.

I wanna reach out to her and I wanna talk to her about it. And I was like, yeah, you should do that. And my sister’s like, Hey, like I see you’re saving all these places. Like I live in New Zealand. If you wanna grab a coffee when you’re in town, we’d love to meet you. And they have this kinda back and forth.

I love it. Stuff like that is, is super, super cool. So we do see a big appetite for that. And I’ll say one thing interesting on the Airbnbs is cause I ask people about this a lot. Do you do both? Most of our members will say, yeah, I book both. What’s interesting is women traveling alone will not stay in an Airbnb.

Perfect. I would say almost 95% of them are like, that’s, I don’t feel safe. I don’t like that someone else has keys to this house. I’ve heard things about, like cameras in these places. I wanna be in a hotel where there’s a guy at the front desk and I know that I’m like in my room and there’s cameras and I’m safe.

So I think because we have so many women on the platform and like I’d say of trips booked, like most of the time it’s two people. And then the second highest like grouping is solo travel and it’s mostly women. 

[00:21:21] Katie: So that’s fascinating and intuitively makes so much sense. And I think about my own travel behavior.

I, I know, I think I also have whether or not this is the right. mental kind of perception that the value comes when you put more than one person in the Airbnb if it’s like a biggest business. Totally. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So interesting. Oh, that’s, so you’ve got a whole interesting year ahead and I’m curious to know, you launching the pandemic with the toughest time.

You’ve built a growing, or you’ve got so far like 1500 members and growing mm-hmm. ,, which like is a fantastic and engaged base. Yeah. Everyone’s raising their head above the parapet, looking to travel, but at the same time, the economy’s in a weird place. mixed. Mixed messages from the economy and pent up.

Travel being on kind of both sides of that, where do you see the opportunity? Like What are you excited about and like what do you think the challenges are gonna be going into 23? 

[00:22:18] Samantha: Yeah, it’s so interesting. I gotta say I think we’re talking about a, I’m gonna have a great fodder for like a book or like a very long panel discussion one day about like, it was sort of just like one thing after the other and I was like, okay, if we get through this thing, okay.

If we get through this thing. But nothing 

[00:22:32] Katie: like resilience as a leader. Yeah. 

[00:22:34] Samantha: Oh my God. Yeah. Talk about resilience. So there’s a couple things going on despite what’s happening with the economy, I think people are actively choosing to spend more.

Spending more on travel next. Experiences than they are on physical goods. Yeah. This was starting to happen pre pandemic. I think that really drove that home of you never know, maybe I won’t be able to let love to cancel this trip to Japan. I won’t be able to leave my house . For two years. Mm-hmm. , as long as people have that sort of like, Concept in the back of their mind. I think it’s gonna be something that they prioritize. And then this study came out recently essentially like validating that and saying people are expecting to spend more on travel over the holidays and into next year.

And they’re actually like more likely to cut spending on like groceries than they are, they’re travel spending. Wow. So like the only thing I think that was below travel in terms of cutting that spend is. Spotify and like music subscriptions and Oh, interesting. Like Netflix, but it was only like, just above.

And I think that’s probably likely, mostly due to the pandemic. Mm-hmm. And people feeling like they were really trapped for a couple years. And they like bought all this crap, they bought all this stuff, now they wanna go do stuff 

[00:23:38] Katie: now they’re weighed down by all their things. . 

[00:23:42] Samantha: . Yes. I had.

Someone reached out, they wanted to gift a membership to someone last week. And so things like gifting someone with a trip or we’ve heard from members like I’m not buying my mom this expensive gift. I’m actually gonna take her on a weekend trip to Sonoma or something like that. I think that there’s a lot of opportunity there.

And then the second thing is I saw, I think it was a Business Insider article and I can’t remember the stat now, but it was like some huge percentage of Gen Z are still living at home with their parents. And it’s created this like massive savings that they haven’t been pumping into rent and it’s creating this like luxury boom of them spending on like they’re spending this way more 

discretionary income.

[00:24:21] Katie: Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:24:22] Samantha: Which is something I hadn’t really thought about before, but I thought was really interesting and makes a lot of sense. 

[00:24:26] Katie: I also think that the fact that we can now. record and digitally own representations of our experience in such reliable way. Yeah.

I think people used to see travel as a thing that you do and it’s over and it’s so ephemeral. Mm-hmm. . But actually now it’s every one of those memories is now a completely locked away in your phone and you can revisit time. Yeah. Like the value of doing it is like a window into a permanent memory.

Totally. I think before was I mean, it was still the case, but just maybe not as explicitly Yeah. Attributable as a valuable thing forever. 

[00:25:03] Samantha: I think it’s become part of people’s identities. Yeah. Again, like young people can’t afford to buy houses and there’s like a lot going on.

They’re not spending money on like cars and so they’re conserving their cash in these other ways and like delaying these big life. Hmm. Delaying having kids and instead, their identity and their sort of self-worth isn’t wrapped up in oh, I brought this house.

, this is, my, my proud moment. I took this awesome three week trip to whatever all over Europe or Asia and look at all this. 

[00:25:29] Katie: I did my prey love. 

[00:25:30] Samantha: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. 

[00:25:32] Katie: Yeah. So exciting. I guess with that as a macro view and really interesting insights there.

Yeah. What are you most excited about as you jump into 20. 

[00:25:42] Samantha: Oh, that’s such a good question. I know I’m most excited about we’re working to launch a lot of community features within the platform, so that membership directory I talked about, and I’m really excited to help members make more of these connections on the platform.

And also meet some members, like we wanna host some member. Nothing energizes me more than talking to the people that use our product. , I love it. So I’m really excited to just take the company into this next phase of growth. Candidly, I think we did things maybe a little bit differently to how a lot of Silicon Valley approaches building a startup, which is this like growth at all costs mentality.

Mm-hmm. ,, and I think I instead was like, I wanna make sure that we have built a really strong foundation for this house before we just start throwing bricks on top of it. So I feel like we’ve really done an amazing job of doing that. And so I’m just excited to take it to the next level and continue to expand and grow and build out the brand 

and community.

[00:26:37] Katie: We um, recently spoke with a new VC fund that is focusing on female founders of color. And one of the things they were talking about, was exactly what you just mentioned, which is the traditional way of looking at growth as evaluating a startup as growth at all costs. But then the example they use, which is actually the exact scenario that you have, is if it’s a community based brand, it takes time to mature a community.

Yep. And for that community to become a truly valuable asset that not only. Kind of scale the brand, but also drives such incredible insight and yeah, like huge flywheel of value that comes out of that. And I think what you just described is exactly that. So it’ll be Yeah, absolutely thrilling to see what comes next for, well travel club.

Yeah. Thank you. 

[00:27:26] Samantha: Thank you so much. 

[00:27:27] Katie: Thank you very much for joining us. It’s been really cool hearing about the origins despite starting in the like pandemic lockdown I loved how you described it as a hopeful corner of the internet, which now is really burgeoning into a community.

So congratulations and excited to see what comes next for you. Thanks, Samantha. 

[00:27:47] Samantha: Thank you so much, Katie. This was so much.

[00:27:58] Katie: Thanks for joining us for Building While Flying today. I hope you learned as much as we did. We’ll meet you right back here next time for another flight.

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This weekly podcast is brought to you by Sasha Group. We’re the consultancy meets agency arm of the VaynerX family of companies. We help ambitious companies build strong brands that flex with the times through strategy, branding media and marketing.

In ever-changing times, businesses and brands have to shift and adapt. And across all sectors, there is an air of experimentation. Business owners are trying new things out in the wild;  building the plane while flying.

Our pilots, Katie Hankinson, Mickey Cloud, Maribel Lara, and Joe Quattrone will be talking to a diverse range of business leaders and founders. They’ll explore how these guests tackle various challenges while staying resilient and committed to growth. Through these real-life examples of strategies put into practice, we hope to inspire you to experiment and develop your own strategies as we all navigate these uncertain times together.

Travel for the people.

Sam Patil is the founder and CEO of Well Traveled Club, a members-only platform designed to reduce the pain of planning for travel and replace it with enjoyment. It is described as a home for a new generation of travelers, foodies, and adventure seekers. Well Traveled Club offers community perks and more to its growing membership.

In her conversation with Katie Hankinson, Sam shares how she got into the travel space, especially during the pandemic. Throughout the episode, she explains why travel should be about people not features, the core pillars of the membership, and how it’s building a community.

In-flight topics:

  • Her background and starting in the pandemic 
  • Lack of women leaders in the travel space
  • Travel is about people, not features
  • Creating a home for middle-level travelers
  • People are spending more on experiences than physical goods
  • …and more!

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