The co-founder of start-up travel firm Flash Pack told an industry audience this week how an £800 flight and a viral picture did more to establish the brand than a website and spending on PPC.
Radha Vyas set up Flash Pack when she found that nothing really catered for adventurous thirtysomethings who wanted adventure but a little more comfort.
She told the Elman Wall Directors Summit this week how the firm was established with £15,000 to build the website and invest in PPC “which did nothing for us”.
Then her co-founder and husband, Lee Thompson, had the idea of taking a selfie on the Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks Rio in the run up to the 2014 Fifa World Cup.
He was able to gain access to the statue which was being refurbished and took an amazing selfie from the top which went viral.
“It went absolutely insane,” Vyas said. “It went all over the world and completely viral. We gave out the picture for free but said could we have a link back to our website.
“We got four million links within days and 100 million impressions and people started buying products from us, we got bookings overnight.”
Vyas said although Flash Pack, which has been enjoying 400% year-on-year growth since the picture went viral, was established to sell direct to consumer she would not rule out working with agents.
“We are always open to any distribution channel that will grow the business,” she said. “We have always had an aspiration for working with the trade.
“People today are busy and our audience of millennials and generation X are so busy no one as time to research for months on end so it just makes sense for people to move towards travel agents.”
Vyas added that social media had allowed Flash Pack to enter different markets so that today only 40% of what it sells it to UK consumers.
She said: “You need to know your audience, you need to know them really well and create remarkable content that addresses their pain points.
“We would not just write generic content. Try to find a niche to talk to you audience in a different way. Focus on a couple of different channels, do not try to do everything.”
Vyas urged the audience not to be scared of social saying Flash Pack learned in-house how to use it, although she added: “We timed it right. We were lucky, acquisition costs are going up.”
“Video is really important. It does not have to be really polished. We ask our customers to do their own video.
“Be really, really generous. Do not go in and sell, sell, sell. Eighty per cent of what you do should add value, 20% should be direct sell posts and that will work really well.”
Vyas said she would not consider producing a brochure as it would be almost immediately out of date by the time it is printed, but she said direct mail could work well for the company.