BeRightBack - Introducing Subscription-Based Travel

Subscription-based services are those services seeing a customer paying a regularly recurring amount in exchange for the use of a product or service.

A unique approach in the travel sector

Subscription-based services are those services seeing a customer paying a regularly recurring amount in exchange for the use of a product or service. When thinking about subscription-based services we normally associate streaming platforms like Netflix and Spotify, e-commerce services like Amazon, or on the B2B side, Saas (Software as a service) platforms like HubSpot.

A unique approach in the travel sector

Subscription-based services are those services seeing a customer paying a regularly recurring amount in exchange for the use of a product or service. When thinking about subscription-based services we normally associate streaming platforms like Netflix and Spotify, e-commerce services like Amazon, or on the B2B side, Saas (Software as a service) platforms like HubSpot.

A unique approach in the travel sector

Subscription-based services are those services seeing a customer paying a regularly recurring amount in exchange for the use of a product or service. When thinking about subscription-based services we normally associate streaming platforms like Netflix and Spotify, e-commerce services like Amazon, or on the B2B side, Saas (Software as a service) platforms like HubSpot.

Without even going too far, we can simply think about subscriptions plans we use in our everyday lives: from phone subscriptions to fitness club passes and magazines subscriptions plans, we are literally surrounded by subscription-based services.

Within the travel sector though, very few to none operators have based their entire business model around this type of service. Not until 2018, when the two British travel enthusiasts Greg Geny and Alex Tomlinson, decided to launch BeRighBack, the first-ever subscription-based travel company.

Based in the UK, the travel startup gained the reputation of being the 'Netflix of Travel' by introducing subscription-based travel packages at an affordable price, removing all hassles arising from booking, planning and adding a 'surprise factor' to each trip.

A unique subscription model developed around travel experiences

The subscription model offered by BeRightBack is based on a simple idea: relieving travellers from the hassles of planning and booking a trip, whilst giving them the opportunity to enjoy unique city breaks throughout the year, whenever they want, all for a reasonable price.

This rather unique idea came from the identification of two trends in the market:

  • Booking frustration: whilst organising a trip, many travellers are often getting frustrated by the planning required to sort out all the details of the trip, with multiple decisions to take into consideration before, during and after any booking.

  • Rising demand for adventure/experience-based travel: the current options offered by traditional booking platforms, travel agencies and tour operators, are often lacking the 'experience factor'. They limit their offer to endless lists of hotels, packages and deals, that are predictable and standardised.

BeRightBack developed the subscription model based on these new needs, developing a plan that is flexible, centred around the 'travel experience' and with a distinctive 'surprise factor'. But what does the subscription offers concretely?

Each subscriber pays a monthly fee of £49.99 that can be used to enjoy 3 trips per year consisting of 3 day/2 night city breaks, available in more than 60 of the most attractive European cities. An innovative concept for sure, but here comes the fun part: subscribers will not choose the specific city they will visit, but BeRightBack instead will do it for them, you based on the preferences they have indicated.

This approach introduces a new 'surprise factor', something that more and more travellers are seeking for and that sets BeRightBack apart from other travel companies.

The surprise element keeps you excited for your upcoming adventure and the fact you know you have another trip in the not too distant future means travelling home isn't too heartbreaking - Trustpilot review

But how does the booking process work concretely? It all happens through the platform, a process that BeRightBack says is needing only 180 seconds:

  1. To begin, the customer builds a BRB profile directly on the platform, starting by selecting who is he/she travelling with, whether alone, with a partner or with friends.
  2. Then, the customer is asked to select the type of 'gateway' he/she is more interested in: it could be culture, adventure or gastronomy.
  3. When this is done, all of the 60+ available destinations are displayed, and the customer can freely decide to filter out those that he/she doesn't want to visit, and the favourite airports from where to travel.

After setting the favourite dates for the trip there's nothing left to do for the customer other than relaxing fantasizing about the next city break.

BeRightBack in fact takes care of the booking of return flights and accommodation and, most importantly, decides the city where the customer will have the city break, all based on the indicated preferences. One month before departure, the destination is finally revealed to the customer.

This way of organising a trip truly revolutionises the whole way city breaks can be experienced. The way the process is structured relieves all hassles from the customer and at the same time boosts a sense of anticipation and excitement difficult to experience with traditional bookings.

A clever business model

As we have seen, subscription models are something the majority of people are familiar with. Almost anyone has some sort of subscription: whether it is for a phone or gym, we are all used to deal with subscription-based plans.

The business model developed by BeRightBack taps into this familiarity by developing a plan that not only resembles traditional subscription-based services in its form, but that adopts a price aligned with what people normally expect from such services. The £49.99/month fee represents a very clever choice: it is a price tag that doesn't put off most of the people, and that everyone can consider alongside with other subscriptions.

The business model is also effective for what concerns the ability of BeRightBack to negotiate rates with partner airlines and hotels during the booking process. By making booking few months ahead, the company is able to guarantee reservations to partner airlines, and this allows them to benefit from better rates. Also, by directly sourcing rooms from hotels the company can cut commissions, benefitting from favourable rates on room blocks.

Another big strength of the business model is the relatively small size of the offer. Having to deal with fewer accommodation providers in each destination allows BeRightBack to better control their offer and ensure higher quality. The company establishes a relationship of trust with partner hotels, which are carefully selected according to the highest standards, and this allows to not only arrange better deals but to ensure a higher quality for their customers.

Ensuring quality through flexibility and worry-free travel experiences

For BeRightBack ensuring a worry-free and flexible travel experience for its customers is the number one priority. A critical success factor for any subscription model consists in guaranteeing high standards in terms of reliability, consistency, and reversibility of the plan. For this reason, BeRIghtBac has formulated the 'BRB Promise'.

With the promise, the company wants to reassure and guarantee to its customers that their trips meet high-quality standards, are flexible and refundable.

To ensure quality, BeRightBack selects only 3*+ hotels with at least a 3.5 rating on TripAdvisor. All hotels are handpicked and selected in central and well-connected locations near to the main attractions.

As it happens for the accommodation, every new destination is hand-picked from BeRightBack according to the customers' preferences. The promise is to send customers to a new exciting destination every time, reflecting their needs and preferences, with every guest having complete control on which destination to exclude from the travel list.

On top of the quality of the accommodation, the company ensures a full money-back guarantee on unused trips: should the customers not have committed all their credit to the trips, they will have the possibility to get a full refund anytime. Also, all bookings are ATOL protected, meaning that customers are entitled to a refund in case the company fails, with all travel expenses covered. The flexibility of the plan is also guaranteed in case the customer wants to bring additional friends, as further people can join and pay separately.

The possibility for the customer to get refunds anytime and add extra people to the travel plan is not only a great way to provide flexibility, but most importantly helps to foster a sense of worry-free travel: in this way, the traveller can forget about the possible hurdles related to the organisation of the trip and can focus on enjoying the holiday to the fullest.

Introducing 'Mini-Adventures' - a new way of experiencing travel

The model introduced by BeRightBack introduces a completely new way of thinking, defining and experiencing travel. For many, travelling implies careful planning in advance. According to this vision, travelling is mostly 'plan-based', instead of experience-based.

BeRightBack instead, developed a completely new approach by putting the experience at the core of their offer. As opposed to many tour operators, the company believes that travel should be experience-based instead of plan-based. This comes from the recognition that the things that travellers really value are memories, and not plans.

To develop an experience-based offer, BeRightBack has been focusing on the new motivation factors observed in the audience. Especially, the company identified in the need for adventure and discovery the main motivators on which to build the offer.

These factors are perfectly summed up in the concept of 'Mini Adventures' developed by the company to define this new way of experiencing travel: travelling is an exciting way to enrich your life with mini-adventures, made of short gateways awaiting for you.

Imagine a life full of mini adventures. Enjoy the feeling of always having a short getaway in your calendar. Without spending hours organising and planning. - BRB website

The 'surprise factor' coming from discovering the final destination just one month before travelling represents the pinnacle of the experiential offer, creating a sense of anticipation and excitement.

Aligned with the experience-based travel approach, BRB is also putting local experiences at the core of the offer: with every trip, customers receive a city guide sent directly to their homes, including local tips and hints, how to get around and how to blend in with the locals.

Providing great experience-based travel though, wouldn't be possible without taking into consideration each traveller's specific preferences. By asking travellers questions about their travel attitude and behaviour during the profile creation process, the company is able to make the travel experience more personal and customised around their preferences and needs.

A community-based marketing approach

The marketing strategy developed by BRB represents a pretty unique approach in the landscape of tour operators. Substantially, it differentiates itself from the rest by relying heavily on the community of followers, happy customers and fans the business has created over the years. The idea is simple: let the customers be the first promoters of the business.

By promoting a dynamic and experience-based type of travel, the company has always focused its attention on the market segment that best embodies these attitudes and values: Millennials.

Millennials in fact represent the new generation of travellers who make city breaks and experiential travel a priority. They also have a strong attitude to travel frequently and discover new places. Also, being the group which is most exposed to subscription models like Netflix and Spotify, they can easily relate to the model proposed by BRB.

The marketing strategy developed by BRB is (almost) entirely based on social media channels and communities. In particular, the company is focusing its efforts on working with micro-influencers and with satisfied customers, the true 'fans' of BRB.

As opposed to macro-influencers, micro-influencers are those ones that have a smaller number of followers but are generally more responsive to their community. On the other side, their communities are usually made of more genuine followers who are really interested in what that have to say.

An excellent tool to foster engagement on social media is also represented by the postcard unveiling the surprise destination that BRB is sending to its customers. In fact, many subscribers found it spontaneous to share their excitement about their next trip posting a picture of themselves with the postcard. This is an excellent example of how an apparently simple object can become an incredibly powerful marketing tool that fosters sharing and creates brand awareness.

The approach used by BRB is definitely tapping into the new trend represented by 'Gamification': by leveraging on the fun and social aspect of travel, the company is building a whole experience around travelling that is going beyond the trip itself, but which is instead more about the experience and the excitement.

Reflecting BRB's strong belief in their community of subscribers, the company is also giving a lot of emphasis to online reviews from its many happy customers. In particular, the company is actively sharing customers reviews from Trustpilot, one of the world's most trusted customer review platforms. This approach allows the company to build trust among the audience and reinforce its image of a reliable and customer-friendly platform.

By turning customers into ambassadors of the brand, BRB is able to reach the maximum results with the minimum effort, an approach that shows how building a strong community of followers is not only a matter of image but a strategic tool to increase trust and improve conversion.

Key Takeaways

Published on:
April 2020
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