A start-up firm which delivers travel items directly to holiday destinations is hoping to make waves in the industry now it’s signed two major deals.
Youarrive, which recently struck deals with global distribution companies Sabre and Travelport, wants to capitalise on the growing trend of personalisation in the travel industry.
The business, which is hoping to attract more investors, delivers a range of 500,000 products – from plug adapters and baby accessories to luxury gifts. A quick browse of the homepage and you’ll find kayak oars, tablecloth clamps, backpacks and SD cards.
“In Alaska, you might need rain coats and hiking boots whereas in Hawaii you might want a bikini,” said founder and chief executive Seamus Brodie. “Instead of spending money on extra luggage allowance, order it to arrive with you.
“You can also use it to surprise your partner with a romantic gift, which you can have sent before or during the trip.”
Friends and family on the same trip can all log in to the online basket – if given the passwords – and add their own items.
In 2008, the idea was born. Brodie – a Briton living in Los Angeles – was planning a holiday to Florida and found it inconvenient to pack his then three-month-old son’s nappies, wipes and other necessary items.
“Nobody at that time would deliver to the hotel,” he said. “When you put it all together it takes up a lot of space. I had a suitcase full of stuff for the baby and it was very inconvenient.”
So Brodie – who has a retail background with shops that sell to cruise ships – thought he’d roll the idea out to travel agents.
“If I wanted to do this directly with hotels, I thought ‘why wouldn’t travel agents want to do this?’,” he said. “
The website is live, and more products are being added under sections such as luggage, personal care and electronics.
Youarrive’s unique selling point, Brodie explained, is not speed of delivery, but timing.
“Amazon’s whole business model is about delivering as quickly as possible,” he said. “But we’re not competing with Amazon. You might want your product to be delivered in a month. We make sure it gets delivered at the time you want, to the place you want.
“A lot of people travel to the US for shopping, for instance. How about doing that shopping before you arrive so you can enjoy the sights? Your shopping can be waiting for you at the hotel.”
Brodie says the idea – eight years in the making – has only just got the backing of the big firms because it needed the range of product and the infrastructure to roll out successfully on a large scale.
As it grows, Brodie anticipates the bulk of his customers will be Americans travelling elsewhere in the states or within Europe but he hopes British travellers will begin using the service more.
Travel agents, he says, are the key to spreading word about the service, and he added that they can make extra commissions on top of their bookings while creating a unique package to their customers.
The deals with Travelport and Sabre mean Youarrive’s service will be more readily available, with 425,000 travel agents able to access Sabre’s GDS while Travelport has a network of 400 airlines and 650,000 hotel properties.
The next step, Brodie says, is continuing to build the firm’s infrastructure so it can cope with the “millions” of customers it expects to receive off the back of its new partnerships.
And as the firm gathers more information on its customers, it can begin targeting products and offers it thinks they will be interested in, be those at destination cities, airports or in-flight.
Future plans also include delving into groceries, particularly for travellers staying in rented apartments.
“If you stay in a rental apartment there’s usually nothing in the fridge,” said Brodie. “But we can arrange for your shopping to be there when you arrive.”
The future also has some potentially big news for Youarrive, which employs 10 in-house staff and a further 10 tech staff on freelance deals.
Brodie added: “When people have heard about it they’ve been very positive. One of the largest retailers, online and offline, wants to become a part of this. I can’t say who at this stage but they want to expand internationally with us.
“The deal would help us offer much more product, and build quicker as it [the interested business] already has the infrastructure, products and suppliers.”