What a weekend! What a city!
The excitement has not yet worn off and will linger for quite some time. We are of course talking about the acceleration weekend in Barcelona that One Planet Rating was chosen for by Booking.com’s sustainable travel initiative Booking Cares. Out of over 260 applicants we were among the 11 European startups selected for an intense weekend of business development in one of the most atmospheric cities Europe has to offer.
Represented by founders Richard Lindberg and Johan van As, this was an important milestone in the young but inspiring journey of One Planet Rating. Aside from the learning from the weekend itself, the access we got to Booking.com’s formidable expertise and network across their divisions is worth more than we can express. It was amazing to closely work with so many brilliant and accessible people from the travel industry, both from Booking.com and of course the other entrepreneurs present during the weekend, several of which we can see future collaborations with. The validation of our concept and social mission carries us forward as we prepare to scale up in 2018.
The Scaling Roadmap and Pitch we worked hard at with our brilliant mentor Monica, and during many hours with Booking.com’s subject experts were, more than anything, useful vehicles for self-examination. They ensured we took a step back, reconsider all our working assumptions, to ask ourselves tough questions and give others a chance to show us “tough love” where needed, though always in a supportive way.
Do we really know our space, audience and customer as well as we think? Have we really got data to support the hypotheses driving our business and revenue models? Is our Theory of Change well formulated? Do we have the right metrics in place, to measure progress and can these be easily measured as a by-product of our operation? Are we focused enough, or spread too thin? Do we have the resources we need, to execute the plans we have for 2018? And, not least, are we able to tell our story compellingly, under tight time constraints and in unexpected situations?
Through conversations around all this we gained a ton of new insights into the travel tech industry, different business/revenue models, technical challenges we have to face as we scale, effective use of social media for marketing, and so much more.
The input of the Booking.com experts, who volunteered their weekend for many hours of intense work with us were open, encouraging, and genuinely interested in what we were doing. And so likeable, humble and fun too.
We return home today feeling encouraged, full of new and hopefully better ideas, more equipped than ever to bring our vision to life and excited to buckle up and double down. And: grateful. To Booking.com, for hosting this great experience. To the One Planet Rating Team, for getting us there. Onwards and upwards!