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With Covid-19 receding in key destinations, including much of Europe and North America, many holidaymakers will have the chance to jet-off around the world, restriction free.
The excitement is almost palpable, with leisure operators reporting a surge in bookings over the past few weeks.
For many, the beach will offer a haven, a chance to relax after two years locked inside, while city breaks, culinary tours or adventure trips will tempt others.
For music fans, however, it will be festivals that are front of mind.
During the summer of 2020 it looked as though many smaller shows would not survive the pandemic, with concerns over social distancing, insurance and a lack of performing talent all taking a toll on the sector.
Now, in 2022, the tide has turned, and the market is poised for an explosion of events over the coming months.
Artists are being booked, stages curated and logistics finalised.
But, during the past two years, consumers have also become accustomed to having their desires met immediately; motorbikes bring food to the door, delivery apps save those trips to shops and taxis appear at the push of a button.
Why should booking experiences be any different?
That is where Easol, an all-in-one platform built to power experience businesses, comes in, with the London-based company seeking to bring the same frictionless capability to the travel and events space.
“The biggest challenge experience businesses face today is that traditional e-commerce, marketplaces and booking tools were made for selling things, not experiences,” explains Ben Simpson, who started Easol alongside his wife and Co-Founder Lisa.
“On top of this, creators have until now, needed to stitch together multiple third-party tools for key aspects of their business such as website building, hosting, taking payments and managing bookings.
“Easol provides an all-in-one platform for all of these elements that experience creators need to run and grow their business so that they are in complete control of their brand, data and their customers as well as being able to drive more direct sales and revenue.”
The software allows event organisers to market and sell bookings, offering them everything they might need, from a website builder to reservation and booking tools and payment plug-ins.
The company recently secured $25 million in funding from Tiger Global as it seeks to become a one-stop shop for the market.
“Easol is a commerce platform built for experience creators, we call this ‘experience commerce’ and our approach means that the technology, ownership and possibilities are in their hands,” continues Simpson.
“We are now powering experience creators globally – from wellness retreats, festivals, sports, tour operators, conferences and more – to launch and grow their business seamlessly and on their terms.”
The technology has been designed to allow experience creators to offer consumers a wide selection of core and ancillary services to meet their needs, as well as a range of sophisticated payment options.
This means that it is easier for creators to upsell premium options and spread costs out to make them more affordable for consumers.
The Co-Founders initially cut their teeth running a company called Rough Hill, one of the largest events businesses in the UK selling over two million tickets annually, before founding the snow sports and music festival, Rise.
“Lisa and I started Easol in 2017 as a result of the pure frustration of setting up our own festivals and attempting to knit together all the services that you need to bring together to sell an experience like that effectively,” adds Simpson.
“It was clear to us there was a different way to do things, so we set our sights on building Easol to fill a clear gap in the market.
“When we were building Rise, we were selling so many items from tickets, lift passes, airport transfers across different countries with varying types of accommodations, packages and snowboarding lessons.
“It became incredibly complicated, and we ended up running the event across several different platforms: the front-end website, payment platform, ticket platform, one for accommodation and one for transport.
“In addition, we were paying enormous fees to all these third-party platforms, where they would often hold onto our money until after the event, which caused more problems when paying suppliers.”
Not that all has been plain sailing, as Simpson adds: “As with all other travel and event-based businesses, the last 20 months have been incredibly tough, but our focus has been on supporting our community of experience creators to retain their customers, launching new features to help to manage postponements, provide flexible payment options, editing bookings seamlessly and communicating transparently and effectively with their customers to retain them.
“We have gone from nearly having to put the whole staff on furlough, through to now looking at quadrupling the size of our team of 25 by the end of 2022 to meet the demand we are seeing.”
Easol works with clients ranging from large multinationals to independent creators building businesses from their passions.
Some of our current customers include Wanderlust, Mapo Tapo, Untravelled Paths and Envision Festival.
The company is forecasting $200 million in bookings in 2022 and is well-placed to take advantage as the world rediscovers its joie de vivre.
Easol is the first of its kind all-in-one ‘experience commerce’ platform built to support experience businesses globally, across all sectors including festivals, wellness retreats, food and drink, sports and adventure trips.
With Easol, experience businesses have complete control to drive more direct sales, retain more revenue, own their data and run their business on their terms.
Find out more on the official website.
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