No matter how good your idea is, you will get lots of “no’s”

SpareFare marketplace for non-refundable flights holidays and hotel rooms

Please introduce yourself and your startup SpareFare to our readers!

I am the CEO of SpareFare connects people who have bought flights, holiday packages or hotel rooms but can no longer use them, with people seeking discounted travel options. By transferring their booked non-refundable reservations to SpareFare buyers, sellers are able to partially or fully recover the money they paid for the trips, while buyers get a true discount of up to 50-60% by not paying the current price of the bookings. We offer fraud protection to both buyers and sellers and dramatically reduce the risk of transferring flights, hotel rooms and holidays to strangers by acting as an intermediary.

How did you get the idea to create SpareFare?

I started my career as a corporate solicitor in the City of London, working for a busy American law firm. I had to cancel a few holidays due to work commitments and could not find anyone to sell my flights and hotel reservations to. None of my friends wanted the tickets and there wasn’t a scam-free marketplace I could sell them on. I saw the need for a trustworthy service which gives people the chance to resell their travel reservations. So I created SpareFare with two other co-founders.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?

Our biggest challenge is educating the market, especially for flights. We are still working on overcoming that one. Many people are still unaware that they can resell their hotel rooms, holidays and flights if they are not able to use them. Or that they can buy someone else’s booking at a significant discount. Many airlines also allow passengers to change the dates and the departure and arrival destinations for flights. Travelers have to pay a fee to make the change, but if the flight is expensive enough it is worth doing.

Who is your target audience?

On the sell side, it is anyone with a flight or a hotel reservation that can’t be used! And on the buy site, young people who are flexible and want to travel the world without breaking the bank.

What is the USP of your startup?

We do a few things very differently and our experience so far has shown that we have made the right choices for the platform.

Perhaps the main differentiator is that the site is scam-free. Not all airlines allow ticket transfers, and all flights listed on the website are with airlines which allow transfers. So buyers know that if they want a flight, it can be transferred in their name. We offer fraud protection for buyers and sellers. We hold the money for the bookings with us until the travel date, to deter fraudulent sellers. And we have done a lot of research on the airlines’ ticket transfer rules & fees, so can help our users in a very practical way during the ticket transfer process.

The site also incorporates a bidding system to help secure fair ticket pricing. This ensures that both buyers and sellers get the best deal based on the current market price of the booking at the time of the sale. 

Can you describe a typical workday of you?

My days are never the same. I go to a lot of meetings and conferences, so talking to people and travelling is a big part of my week. Part of our team is outscored, so I also spend a lot of time on the phone talking with them. The rest of my time is spent in our office in London, which is in the lovely Greenwich area. Even though it is centrally located, there is a park next to us with a small farm. The farm animals are very therapeutic on a stressful day!  

Where do you see yourself and your startup SpareFare in five years?

Millions of people lose money on their unused travel bookings every year because they are not aware of any safe and hassle-free ways to resell their reservations. SpareFare will create a new type of shared economy in travel. In 5 years, I want everyone to be aware that they can resell their travel reservations to other people, and for SpareFare to be the go-to site for everyone looking for a cheap holiday, flight or a hotel room. I want to enable millions of people every year to travel cheaply and see more of our amazing world. I want to help everyone who is not able to travel recoup at least some of the money they spent on their holidays, making travel more affordable for everyone.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?

1.         No matter how good your idea is, you will get lots of “no’s”

I believe SpareFare is a brilliant idea. So many of our clients agree as well. There is a genuine need for such a service in the market and it creates win-win situations for both sellers and buyers. Naturally, I thought that everyone else will love it, too! Reality check – I receive rejections on a daily basis. I just don’t take it personally and remind myself that’s just part of the game.

2.         It always takes longer than you think

There are always going to be unseen factors that you just can’t control. Don’t feel like you have somehow failed, just keep going. Also, it always costs more than what you had planned originally.

3.         Remember to enjoy life

When your company is in its infancy, you have to be prepared to dedicate all of your time and energy to it. Your startup is your life. A startup is nothing like an established company, so you need to be prepared to give up time with your family, friends, and others, as this is a 24×7 job. But you have to enjoy it! Otherwise, what’s the point?

More information you will find here

Thank you Galena Stavreva for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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