019 – Michal Alter of Visit.org – Good Will Traveling

Social impact travel experiences…

Michal Alter, Co-Founder and CEO at visit.org (building the world’s leading platform for social impact travel experiences, allowing millions of users to discover, support, and interact with ‘do-good’ organizations both virtually and in-person – (profile)) joins Pavan Bahl, John Matson and Peter Crysdale in the MouthMedia Studios, powered by Sennheiser.

A heavy social mission, surviving the early years, and boots on the ground

Alter discusses local and authentic activities while traveling, and how they will benefit each local community via dollars spent, how she had privilege to travel for prolonged periods of time and had enough time to randomly meet and interact with local people, inspiring the company. And why a heavy social mission, how Alter then became a director for refugee affairs, then serving community of 100k refugees and immigrants. How Visit.org is in 76 countries, aiming for 2,000 experiences, and how they got a crazy cool URL. Existing as a for-profit social enterprise, how early success and recognition allowed the company to survive while cultivating users and experiences, having boots on the ground and vigorous online research and approach, and all providers are local non-profits and social ventures.

An exploding market, a big place in the industry, and looking ahead

Looking at today as an exciting time for tours and activities and how that market is exploding. OTAs growing their own suppliers for this, what makes Visit.org unique is that the ability to work effectively with suppliers who traditionally are very hard to work with, and building infrastructure for travel with a cause for rest of travel industry. Expanding into metropolitan areas, big partnerships with OTAs and hotels, Visit.org seeing itself as powering and building infrastructure in the industry. For many suppliers it is the first time to earn revenue that is sustainable, how 20-30% of travelers who visited organizations continued a relationship afterwards, consideration of 1.2 billion international travelers a year with the goal to have 1/3 of those have a half day Visit.org experience. The product can be added to a trip itinerary.

Egypt, the Israeli Air Force, and breaking the rules

Growing up desert Sanai in Egypt, a pristine place on earth, serving in Israeli air force as one of first female pilots cadets and a commander, what lessons have been taken away in building team and driving company, team-members sticking to shared mission, knowing when to be taking things lightly, trusting yourself to be a leader, taking advice from the best people out there, and not accepting rules but instead breaking them.

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