5 lessons I learned from working with Batuta.com travel startup
About four years ago I jumped in a crazy adventure of working in a Palestinian travel startup, to launch Batuta.com, out of my wanderlust and passion for travel. Much changed since then, the wanderlust is still there and Batuta.com has become the most recognized travel and accommodation booking Arab brand.
Out of strong believe that as Ibn Batuta best stated it: “travelling leaves you speechless then turns you into a storyteller”, Kamil Silbak and Amir Ounallah, Batuta founders, decided that travel and booking a hotel should be made easy and fun for the Arab traveller and should be tailored to the Arab needs in their own language.
Through my work in Batuta I learned very important things that Batuta implements and I think every startup (no matter what it does) should take into consideration:
Lesson # 1: Growth is Nothing without a Product
It goes without saying that no matter how your marketing plan is elaborate and perfect nothing can succeed without a quality product experience that creates loyal and happy customers. (Batuta invests in the best software and developments to provide a quality, fast and easy booking experience).
Lesson #2: Rainbows and Clouds
These two go hand in hand, it is important to have an inspirational UI/UX product, a fun working place and a great team, yet no less important is to deal with all the “unsexy” technical problems of your industry, among other the back end complexity, all the raw data must be always addressed, all the small details, legalities, contracts, and organizations.
Lesson #3: Know thy Customer
It’s important to evaluate company performance, and it’s essential to precisely pick metrics that give you the most comprehensive view you can get of how your business is doing.
Yet there are analytics and there are insights! don’t just track analytics, metrics and numbers, they wont be worth much if you cannot apply the numbers to identify a pattern and find opportunities. Only real insights can generate growth. Keep in mind the customer’s journey.
Lesson #4: Don’t skimp on visuals
People retain over 80 percent of what they experience visually, while they tend to only retain 10 percent of what they hear and 20 percent of what they read. The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than the time it takes for the brain to decode text.
Your content can generate up to 94% more views if you add compelling visual elements, icons and graphics.
Lesson #5: Educate, Inspire and Entertain your audience
Your content must be remarkable to be noticed through out all the content clutter on the web, always apply the rules of content marketing and A/B testing. Consuming habits have changed, and potential customers are more informed and expect more from the website to make a purchase decision (especially millennial audiences), so do not talk about your brand all the time or try to sell people who are still in early stages, Instead try to spark interesting dialogues and discussions with your content. Doing so will pay off with attention and engagement.
Bonus! Lesson #6: Hire Wisely, Growth is a Teamwork
Hire people for their character and guide them towards expertise.
Hiring the right people is the start, and then when you have a good team, you need to quickly get comfortable with delegating.
The best companies are growth organizations at their core. It’s in their DNA. Sales and marketing aren’t firewalled from the product. From the top to the bottom everyone makes growth the imperative. There is no lone growth hacker — everyone knows they have a role to play in driving growth. Whether it’s the design team resizing an image, or engineering optimizing the code base for search optimization, everyone makes growth a priority.