The Best Update Ever from Hitlist (#15)

Last month’s focus was fundraising. The most valuable part of this process is, well, the money, but also the feedback from people who have been around the block a few more times than we. Some things we learned:
  • In one investor’s opinion, I’m not autistic enough to be investable #siliconvalleyinsults
  • our conversion metrics are better than several leaders of companies in this industry have ever seen: on average 20% of the people we refer to partners exit to the final booking page
This month’s focus: GROWTH. This is easiest to measure if we focus on one specific metric, so we’ll choose the one that makes us money: exits from our partners. In April, that was 4,233. Some things we could use help with:
  • Accommodations: we’re deciding who to partner with to start offering room booking in Hitlist. To the travelers on this list: what apps do you use to book hotels? To the travel industry people on this list: who have you found easiest to work with? Who offers the best commission structure?
  • Airline/travel rewards providers: We’ve been talking to some airlines about offering points as an incentive for signups (Dropbox/Uber model: get a friend to sign up, and you both get X points to help you get free travel). It’s a great opportunity to get new users in a prime demographic on your loyalty program. As with anything like this, having other offers on the table helps speed up these discussions.  Anyone negotiated partnerships like this before, or know someone I should talk to?
  • Some great press in Business Insider, Inc., Tnooz, and TechCrunch
  • Spoke on the mobile innovation and Artificial Intelligence panels at NY Travel Fest – thanks Roni Weiss, Susan Black, Mike Coletta, and Larry Smith for the invitations/facilitation.
  • Speaking of AI, we attempted to use Amazon’s new Machine Learning algorithm to build a recommendation hack for TechCrunch Disrupt’s hackathon, resulting in Elsewhere. I also star as Token Woman in the video coverage.
  • Shipped v2.8 (introducing curated lists and filtering by things like Beach, Islands, Caribbean, Middle East). Julia and Roberto are ‘hilarious, genius, and on point.‘ We knew that, now you do too.
  • Begun work on Hitlist 3.0, a major redesign to facilitate user/partner generated content. Messing with something that’s working is always scary, but as any traveler knows, venturing into the unknown usually brings great reward. Sneak peek here.
  • someone wrote offering to let me buy for a ‘fair price’. Good idea/bad idea?
  • Some of you have known us long enough to remember the days of TripCommon, the startup Timo, Luka and I worked on before pivoting to Hitlist. We built some awesome stuff but ultimately shelved the idea. This month our friends over at Teleport released Flock, which is pretty much what we dreamed TripCommon would be. We’re happy the idea has truly come to life and, by implication, that we were not crazy.
Why are we doing this? 
Travelers are more likely to trust others and negotiate rather than resort to conflict, according to this paper by researchers from INSEAD, Kellogg, and Columbia. We aim to get everyone traveling more, and truly, honestly, believe that this will help solve some of the world’s worst problems.


It’s finally spring in New York. Celebrate!

dancing line man


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