Real Business hears from digital brand Evaneos about how it embraced a worldwide opportunity from day one in being born global. These days, many businesses are “born global” – opening a shop online can mean exporting from the get-go. We caught up with a travel agency that has taken the plunge into global exports to find out how it’s done. Evaneos is a holiday booking platform that enables travellers to book “tailor-made holidays at local prices” by connecting holidaymakers directly with local travel agents. The business was created when co-founder Yvan Wibaux contacted the alumni of his business school, HEC, searching for a partner for a new venture in the travel industry – at which point he met Eric La Bonnardière. The business launched in 2009, and today it has 150 employees working on eight different markets and has served over 160,000 travellers. Evaneos is the very definition of being born global, as it offers holiday destinations around the world. While initially it started serving the French market, within a few short years the business expanded to offer services in Germany and Spain. Eight years later, Evaneos moved into Sweden, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK. We caught up with La Bonnardière to find out how the business dove headfirst into exports. Do you have an online shop? The Evaneos website is the cornerstone of our business. It connects travellers around the world with travel agents based in the destination where they want to go on vacation. The website gives them a platform to find an agent, connect with them, and then design a tailor-made trip with a local’s expertise. In the coming years, will Europe be on the export agenda for your business? Yes, and it is already the case. We have launched Evaneos in all the biggest European markets, and we still have a lot of room to grow in each. In France, we have a good brand awareness and an image as pioneers. We want to do achieve that same perception everywhere else. What countries might you look to target with exports next, and why? Next, we will be moving into the American market, creating localised sites to cater to Americans and Canadians. After the success we’ve enjoyed in Europe, we believe that our offer will be unique and exciting on the American market. How do you mitigate the risk of currency fluctuations? We created a partnership with a British fintech which helps us to hedge the currencies on behalf of our local agents. Thanks to that, travellers and agents have good visibility of the final price and margin. Have you ever encountered any language barriers that have been challenging? How have you overcome this? As an international company with eight active markets, our offices are truly global with Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Spanish, English, and of course, French, being spoken regularly. For the last two to three years, we have been making the transition to a company where English is the primary language spoken. To facilitate that, we offer language classes in English and French to our employees to help them better navigate the office and their lives here in Paris. What are your plans for the next 12 months? In the next 12 months, we are looking carefully at launching in the US market. After successfully moving into seven new European markets outside of France, we’re excited for the opportunity to take on this new challenge. We will do that step by step.
This article is part of a wider campaign called the Scale-up Hub, a section of Real Business that provides essential advice and inspiration on taking your business to the next level. It’s produced in association with webexpenses and webonboarding, a fast-growing global organisation that provides cloud-based software services that automate expenses management and streamline the employee onboarding process.
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