Hey guys! StartupRadius interviewed Fly Nimbus, a company that successfully entered the pretty saturated travel market with quite a unique service – “escape” tours, which basically is blind-travelling to a destination that is disclosed to a traveller just 2 days prior to a flight. With a ruined life-work balance, that’s definitely a saviour for busy entrepreneurs, managers and all the other hard-workers.

Learn how Fly Nimbus team entered the competitive travel market and received more than 150 bookings in the first month after the launch by utilizing social media marketing, SEO and inbound channels. Fasten your belts and enjoy the read!

Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is Fly Nimbus?

At Nimbus we plan surprise trips to Secret Destinations around the US, Canada, and Mexico where people don’t know where they are traveling until 2 days before departing.

So they will not know if they have to bring a coat or a swimsuit until 2 days before they depart, since the destination could be Austin, Vancouver, Miami, Cancun, Chicago… or 40 possibilities more.

Our goal is not only to sell surprise trips but to provide experiences that the customer has never lived before by offering quality accommodations, amazing destinations, and good customer service.

Why are you building this? Was there a particular source of inspiration or a money-making idea?

The idea came from Europe, where it is a really trendy way to travel and where people are more familiar with this concept. We wanted to bring this new way of traveling to the States, where it’s totally unknown, but with an improved experience adapted to American needs and wants.

We’re a team of travel enthusiasts and adventurers that want to change the rules of the travel industry and create a new era where people travel more often at a more affordable price.

Time for bragging! How big you are – traffic, users, anything else?

Nowadays we have 4 Hubs (LA, SD, SF, and NY) where people can fly from, and 40 different destinations in more than 20 states.

At the moment we receive a daily traffic of around 600 new users to our website, mainly from a direct source or social networks, with a bounce rate of 34% which is more than acceptable and a good number of returning visitors.

During our first month of activity, we have received around 160 bookings, which can translate to 480 travelers.

Fly Nimbus metrics and achievements

Who are your main competitors, and how good/bad they are?

We can tell that we have some small competitors which sell the same concept (secret destination trips) but we have created a totally different and unique product. Not only we provide with amazing hotels and apartments to our customers, all of them located near downtown and with guaranteed quality, but also we offer the cheapest prices possible, starting from $250/pers. (round-trip flights and 2 nights accommodation included).

Furthermore, our User Experience is totally different. We provide our customers with 15 destinations they could end up going (depending on their departing airport and numbers of days), and we let them remove up to 4 destinations they don’t like. So in the end, destination still remains a mystery but we guarantee that they’re going to love it.

Who uses Fly Nimbus? What is your perfect audience?

Nimbus is made for people that want to escape from monotonous life and break their routine. People who want to enjoy life as much as possible and discover new things to do and visit secret places.

That’s why we don’t have a specific target since our main customers are families, couples, groups of friends… Anyone who wants to live different experiences and is not afraid of the unknown.

Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?

We’re focusing on creating a strong brand relationship as well as providing good service to our clients so they can refer to their friends and family, as well as giving us good reviews. We believe that there’s no better way to spread the word than word-of-mouth and positive feedback.

What were some of the biggest challenges while building the product early on and how did you solve them?

Our first big challenge was to create a unique and excellent user experience so everyone, from a kid to a grandfather, could understand what we are selling and how does it work.

Another challenge was to reach our customer. We had a good product, all paperwork done, but we weren’t reaching our clients, so we had to develop and strategy to get to our clients in the most efficient way.

If you could give a marketing advice to other companies, what could it be based on your experience?

At marketing, you don’t always see your effort reflected in the results immediately. It’s a mix of hard work, creativity, and luck. So sometimes you have to be patient to see that things are going the way you expected, although it can generate some kind of nervousness. But don’t worry, if you are doing things right, giving all to the company and you trust in what you are doing, you will have big chances on getting the results you are looking/waiting for.

Which marketing channels you prefer and why?

At Nimbus, we have designed a marketing strategy which is based on three pillars: Social Networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin…), SEO/SEM and Media (from online magazines to radios, newspapers…).

We have trusted in this marketing channels because there are very efficient, cheap and productive. You can attract a lot of potential customers, depending on how well you do the campaigns, to your product/website at a relatively cheap price.

Fly Nimbus travel, escape tour pricing

Why did you choose the current monetization method?

We wanted to create a unique value, which was selling trips to secret destinations, but also to make our trips as affordable as possible. That’s why we decided to sell great quality at a really low price, gaining small margins but with the objective of having a large number of bookings.

What are the top 5-10 products/services you use in your company (marketing, development, business) and why do you like them?

  • QuickBooks help us control the accounting and financial aspects of the company. It is very useful and efficient. Thanks to QuickBooks we save a lot of time.  
  • Stripe is the main payment platform we use. The main point is that you can integrate Stripe with Quickbooks very easily.
  • Google Drive is the cloud we use for sharing all documents and information through all the Nimbus team. It is very easy to use, it works perfectly and it’s cheap.
  • Slack: for communicating within the team.
  • We use MailChimp for our newsletter campaigns.
  • Google Analytics is the main tool we use for tracking every visit we have.