Itinari interview, platform and software in the experiential tourism trend

The tourism demand for experiences records a growing number of operators and suppliers. A new emerging business model, which adds value to the same experience, is the personalisation of the travel. This is the context where itinari was born, which offers to its customers the possibility to create a taylor-made travel, following their own preferences and choosing among several qualified and verified experiences.

Twissen interviewed Maddi Brugali, Brand and Community Manager at itinari.

Twissen: What does itinari do?

Brugali: At a B2C level, we want to provide the opportunity of creating an authentic and peronalised travel, where the experience begins from planning this travel through the creation of personalised maps and guides. We are aware of the fact that living an experience first-hand can’t be replaced by a picture, a video or a text. But we also understand that organising and planning before the travel is the key to make it successful.
On the other hand, to our Partners, we provide a software called Destination Page, which allows to promote online tourism destinations or thematic areas, with an attractive and simple interface and which offers the possibility to be shared on every kind of social network and communication channel.

Tw: Which is the target of itinari?

B: At a B2C level, we address users who are aged 16-35. We believe that this target has travel expectations such as exploring areas which are less known, travelling in an active way and using technologies, and itinari can provide a useful solution. Notwithstanding, we have found that also other targets are using our platform, for example young families or groups of adults who are interested in technology and in off-the-beaten-path travels.

Tw: How was the idea of itinari born?

B: The idea of creating an application which allows users to plan and organise a travel in an authentic and personal way was born during a travel around the world made by Nicolas (editor’s note: the founder) and his wife Sabrina. They have been in a lot of Countries, and the question they were always asking themselves was: what can we do here? itinari was born this way, from the need to have a complete manner to plan a travel, whatever the wishes or the budget of the travellers are.

Tw: Can you introduce your team? Which are the skills needed today to run a startup?

B: Our team is made up by Nicolas Casula, who is the founder. As itinari is a tech startup, the core of our business is programming our web app, which is managed by Antonie Dejonckheere, Olivier Colot and Jeremie Pagex in our office in Bruxelles. Maddi Brugali works in the branding and sales sector. Manon Vanschepdael is the manager of social medias and of the geographic expansion of our app. Roxanne Casula works with the activities in the different regions and Countries in which itinari is present.
We believe that having a varied team in a startup is important: only through this differentiation it is possible to cover all the fields of competence and take advantage of every of them. Moreover, the professional differences also become distinguished views and ideas, which, according to us, brings a fundamental richness to a company. Talking about the skills to run a successful startup, we believe that passion and dedication are among the fundamental ones. Passion, a focused mind and perseverance cannot miss.

Tw: Which is the business model of your company?

B: Our business model is based on a monthly or annual subscription (SaaS – Software as a Service), which allows to our B2B partners the creation and the access to the Destination Page.
itinari is a startup that operates both in the B2B and in the B2C segment. As we define ourselves as a tech startup, many of our efforts are focused on the development of an app which is easy to use and to understand by our users, and complete in a technical and practical way. Given our strategic position in Europe and, above all, in Brussells (near to several European institutions), we have many partners which chose us to promote destinations or thematic areas, both online and through a simple software.

Tw: Which are the advantages to your customers?

B: Among the advantages, itinari offers the possibility to plan a group travel. In other words, whoever takes part to the travel, is able to easily modify it from every device: every member of the group will receive the notifications regarding the changes of the travel. Another advantage is about the quality of the activities that we propose: every experience on itinari is analysed and selected by our team.
For our partners, there are a lot of advantages: with a simple subscription, they can create and modify all the Destination Pages that they like to. Moreover, they don’t have to worry about the maintenance of their page (we do it for them), they can promote their destinations and they can count on a simple and interactive interface.

Tw: How important is the social component to your activity?

B: The social medias’ role is the core of our activity, just like their utilisation by the users. itinari takes advantages by social networks by gaining visibility and building a community of travellers who care about sustainability.

One of the big potentials of itinari lies in the versality of the Destination Page, as it can be shared on every social media. This brings a lot of visibility and media coverage, which are very important for us and for our partners.

Tw: From your point of view, which are the organisations that are more likely to promote their activity through your solution?

B: Whoever wants to promote online a destination, a thematic area, an itinerary or a tourism product will find many advantages by using the Destination Page, which is made up pictures and texts chosen by the author, that can be uploaded in a few minutes by connecting to our platform. The page manager can choose the contents, which can be thematic (such as food and wine itineraries), geographic (the promotion of a specific area), a tourism package, and can include activities, means of transport, accommodation and more. The Destination Pages will be available on our website and on our social networks, but the interesting thing is that the pages can be managed in complete autonomy from the authors.

Tw: Did you receive any investment round?

B: itinari has already received an investment round, and is about to receive the second one from VC and private investors. Our aim for the next investment round is to create a solid and advanced product, which can prove the expansive potential of our business model and, consequently, to enhance our geographical scope and our visibility. We keep a close relation with our investors, which we regularly meet and we exchange ideas and suggestions about our app.