The Best Update Ever from Hitlist (#20)

A few weeks ago at the PhoCusWright conference (= annual gathering of travel industry bigwigs), Lorraine Sileo asked a panel of travel CEOs whether they prioritize growth or retaining users. A friend pointed out: ‘Um – is this one of those size versus staying power debates?’

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Obviously everyone wants growth AND retention, but if you had to have one or the other, which is more important?

At Hitlist, we’re making progress on the growth front. Our base line of new user registrations/day for November was double what it was in October. This is important because most of our growth spurts in the past have come from things we couldn’t control, namely App Store features and press. Having our base line of organic installs growing at this rate means that the product is becoming more viral.

At the same time, our bookings have only increased around 20%. So our bookings/user is down, but we’re up in absolute number of bookings. Time to figure out how we can have our cake and eat it too, and for that we could use some help.


We’ve had 672 people apply to work at Hitlist (!), but haven’t found the marketing/product person we’re looking for. Our ideal candidate would be

  • someone who’s built a venture backed startup before (based on the stage and team size, it’s been suggested that an EIR might be a good fit – any ideas?)
  • is more interested in equity than salary (we will pay a salary, but we’d rather someone whose primary motivation is building the company value)

If you have ideas – a candidate or how to find the right fit – please email me directly.

LAST MONTH’s FOCUS: strategy. In the process of talking to dozens of users, industry insiders, and investors, one thing became apparent: not everyone understands what Hitlist plans to do.

So here’s a clarification: Hitlist is a personalized travel agent that we hope will become the default place you go to research and book travel on mobile. A bit more on what we think that means here. Make sense? Time will tell!

  • Dave Baggett, co-founder of ITA Software (sold to Google for $700m) has joined as an advisor to Hitlist. ITA tackled many of the gnarliest problems in this industry and we’re extremely grateful to have his guidance as we do the same.
  • we’re on Product Hunt today and trending well – if you like what we’re doing an upvote is always appreciated.
  • v3.3 of the app is live with support – book all your hotels through Hitlist and I will buy you and your firstborn candy for life
  • Paul Adams, VP of Product @ Intercom, wrote an article about the priorities of good product design that was briefly the top trending post on Medium. He highlights an app our iOS developer, Tomislav Filipcic, built in 2010, as a shining example of user-centric design. May everything we build have just as much staying power.
  • Pro tip: if you’re interested in travel trends, you can watch all the keynote addresses from Phocuswright online: program, link to videos


I’d love to send you a small gift! Please leave your address here.

Because 2016 is the year the majority of travelers will start booking on mobile and we can be a leader there. And because travel is the best way to spend your money.

Robert Redford agrees.



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