Julian Weselek, co-founder and co-CEO
Julian Weselek is the co-founder and co-CEO of Tourlane, which
allows travelers to plan and book personalized, multi-day tours online.
In a series of interviews with executives participating in the online event in September, PhocusWire finds out what they have learned from the COVID-19 crisis.
Knowing what you know now, if you could go back to the start of
the crisis, what would you do differently?
Almost everything changed instantly
with Covid-19, and looking back I would have braced myself for the long
haul. We anticipated that this crisis would trigger a long-term shift for
travel and would be a marathon for our business.
However, since then every day
brings news of developments that, as recently as February, would have felt
unimaginable. I probably would have been even better prepared at that time for
what it really means to work from home for so long and to be separated from our
The past few months have exposed the fact that the biggest things
can always change, at any day. Oh, and I would have also invested in Purell,
Zoom and Amazon.
What have you learned from this time
about the way you’ll manage and communicate with your team moving forward?
One thing we learned pretty quickly
was that we need to reset expectations for how work gets done and adapt our
management style to this new context. We felt it is important to set clear
expectations but at the same time let go of when and how tasks are accomplished
so that everyone was able to work on his own terms as long as the job gets
In terms of communication, we tried to stay in regular touch with the
team and update them transparently as much as possible even if there was no
update. We want everyone in the company to know that we are super confident and
bullish about the future and that their work matters to us now more than ever.
What do you miss the most about travel?
thrill of exploring something new. My co-founder Julian and I are avid travelers, and
our desire for
discovering new countries and cultures, breaking out of our comfort zone, was
what made us found Tourlane in the first place.
To me, travel
isn’t just about visiting different places - for me it's a way to explore life on
this planet and to understand how other people live and what matters to them.
One thing I’ve learned traveling around the world is that people are
essentially the same. Whether you are German, Australian, Vietnamese or Uzbek,
people want the same thing: to be happy, be safe and enjoy life.
What have been the surprise benefits
to not traveling?
My wife and I recently had our second
child. So it was nice to be able to be at home a lot and spend time with the
family. However, we personally long to travel again and to bring the beauty of
our world to our children.
What lasting changes will there be to
you personally from this time?
I have learned a tremendous amount of
valuable lessons over the past couple of weeks. Most importantly these times
showed again that the only constant in business is change. The best companies
adapt to those changes, reinvent themselves when change requires it and find a
way to grow in good times and bad.
What’s been your one guilty pleasure during lockdown?
Way too much food delivery.