TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based EpicThrills, a online flash sales business dedicated to adventure tours and activities.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
EpicThrills is an online community that grants exclusive access to EPIC adventure trips at members-only prices.
Whether it's heli-skiing virgin powder in Alaska, rafting class V rivers in Patagonia, or surfing in Costa Rica, we partner with elite adventure outfitters and guides around the world to offer exclusive packages and discounts on extreme adventure trips and activities.
The company is located in New York and is the brainchild of entrepreneur and adventurer Allen Burt.
Prior to launching EpicThrills, Allen launched a literacy non-profit company from SE Asia, raising money to deliver and build mini libraries for rural village schools in the country of Laos. He has a background in strategic and analytical economic consulting.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
Currently, we are choosing to keep the specifics regarding our financial support and funding under wraps for privacy and strategic purposes.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Finding authentic adventure travel outfitters that cater to real adventurers and explorers is extremely difficult. We make the processing significantly easier by scouring the globe and hand selecting only the best trips run by elite outfitters.
We prioritize quality or quantity.
In addition to hand-selecting the best, we’ve created a trip purchasing platform that puts travel inspiration at its core making it more fun to book authentic and extreme adventure travel experiences.
And just to top it off, we negotiate a fantastic members-only discount for every trip!
Describe the business, core products and services?
EpicThrills partners with elite adventure outfitters and guides to offer our members exclusive packages and discounts on extreme adventure trips around the world.
Each week we drop one incredible "bucket list" adventure in your email inbox.
Our mission is to inspire and empower our members to live a life of epic experiences and adventures. We pair our trip offerings with stunning photography and content from real travel writers.
Our goal is to make browsing and purchasing trips on EpicThrills as enjoyable as flipping through the pages of National Geographic.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
EpicThrills is not for everyone. We cater to a unique and elite set of travellers that aren’t happy simply sticking to well worn trails.
Our sales are geared toward athletic and/or adventuresome travellers looking for an experience like no other. We don’t mess around with the fluffy stuff. Our members are looking for EPIC adventure experiences and that’s what we deliver.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Absolutely. We have very close ties to the adventure travel community and have been discussing the business model and offerings with our potential customers for some time.
We’ve been pre-registering interested members since last year when we started working on the business.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
At launch, our revenue is entirely based on commissions from actual trip sales. We do not charge listing or advertising fees, as we believe in directly aligning our interests with those of our customers and our suppliers.
The adventure travel market is a massive opportunity and we are constantly brainstorming new ways to add value beyond trip sales commissions. We believe custom sponsored content and partnerships with larger adventure and lifestyle brands are a potential next step.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Our unrelenting focus on indentifying the greatest extreme adventure trips and outfitters on the planet. By taking a highly focused and niche approach to the active/adventure travel market, we can amplify our resources and dominate this one vertical before moving on to others.
- Pretty typical for any startup: reaching our target member base and growing to scale with a limited marketing budget.
- This market is exploding with active travel bookings set to outpace leisure travel bookings this year. The opportunities are endless.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- Barriers to entry are low from a technical standpoint, meaning emphasis must be placed on suppler and customer relationships.
No one disagreed with the potential of EpicThrills. With the success of the private-sales business model in the luxury hotel market, it is a natural jump to understand how powerful it can be in other travel verticals, specifically adventure travel.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
Member engagement is our biggest metric for success. We want to make visiting EpicThrills and receiving our emails as much fun as reading your favourite travel magazine.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.