043 – Greg Buzulencia of ViaHero – Experiencing Travel with the Local Hero

ViaHero

Connecting travelers with local trip planners for custom itineraries to Iceland, Cuba, and Japan…

ViaHeroGreg Buzulencia, Co-Founder/CEO of ViaHero (a marketplace for travelers to hire locals to plan their personalized trip), joins John Matson, Bess Chapman of JetBlue Technology Ventures, and Pavan Bahl (President, MouthMedia Network) in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • Bess Chapman [Episode 003] of JetBlue Technology Ventures (a venture capital spinoff of JetBlue Airways, keeping a pulse on tech innovation and driving deal flow through New York) joins the podcast as a hostViaHero
  • ViaHero works with locals telling people what they should be doing on a trip
  • How, being a marketplace, ratings and reviews keeps people in check, whereas travel agents are beholden to commissions
  • Cuba, Japan, and Colombia as countries in which Via Hero has presence
  • Average user wants local knowledge, people who have tours or Travel Agent plan, they are there for service but want to be independent
  • Algorithm matches with people who have same Interest and are in that area
  • SEO and user acquisition in various geographies
  • Changing needs and expectations of travelers, but there is still a feeling of needing info to help figure it all outViaHero
  • Hanging out with hosts, immersing in local culture, but it is a digital relationship with a “hero”
  • Offline maps with local recommendations and locations
  • Consistent trends in data being collected, database of their recommendations to more easily crate the guide books
  • The economics of the relationships with the  local “heroes”
  • A cross-country trip as a child that made an impression on travel, and the passion of never paying for water

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