Tourists from passion
During the ITB in Berlin, Martin Klug, sponsor for my research trip to New Zealand, told me about the founding history of his travel company, which had almost failed.
For Klug and his companion Andrew Morten needed a sound database system to implement their idea of promoting small green tourism projects in New Zealand and Australia - and funding for it. And that was the problem!
The investors waved
"100.000 to 200.000 Euro per year we had calculated. But the potential investors simply said, Good luck guys' - and we were on our own. Even with the bank loan did not work: "When it comes to invest in a new idea, Holland is not better than Germany," recalls Klug.
So the two screwed down their claims, thought about what they need urgently, invested approximately 15.000 Euro from their savings into a database programming and started.
Customers expected something completely different
It's much harder, Klug says, to bridge the start time. "You can not expect a quick success - of course we still have MBA students," he grins ironically. The first year had to finance the two completely out of their own pocket, until the idea gradually established.
That was also because it was so difficult because potential customers have expected something completely different: "The Netherlands is a classic market for RVs - and we had set in the mind that just not to offer," said the travel entrepreneur the daring venture.
Bed and breakfasts, Maori and reforestation instead of CO2 slingshot
And he gives reasons for the unusual idea: "Because motorhomes are not just a huge CO2 slingshot, they also prevent you from getting to know the country and its people, because you're out and about all the time."
"At first, therefore, there were almost only requests for RV trips, because the potential customers just knew that. And we had to convince a lot of people that they have more exciting stories to tell when renting a car, staying in small cottages and bed and breakfasts, spending a day with Maori and planting trees in the jungle, "says the entrepreneur In the Te Urewera National Park on the New Zealand North Island also started its own reforestation project.
"We do it the way we want!"
In the meantime, reports Klug, the two were on the verge of giving up: "We thought nobody wanted what we offered. Out of frustration, we even started to sell camper vans in the meantime. "
But over time, a certain fatalism would have set in: "We wanted to do this either in our own way - or not at all. For how do I want to sell someone something that I'm not convinced of? "
Expansion that raises new questions
At some point, the customers had understood what the entrepreneurs were all about - and then it went, as Klug says. Today, TravelEssence has six employees and 2010 expanded Company also to Germany.
The growth, however, raises new questions: "Developing one's own ideas and bringing them forward is great. But of course you have to take care of things that you might not want to do - payroll accounting, for example ", philophopically clever.
The golden middle path to healthy growth
The fear of the treadmill is still to be noted. At the same time, however, he knows that a certain growth is necessary to make small, sustainable tourism projects that would otherwise be lost in mass tourism at all economically viable.
The famous search for the golden middle course just: "It's about a healthy growth, not a compulsive craving for more," Klug makes clear the differences.
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