INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Destinfo is a New Travel Guide Made for the Next Generation of Travelers
We talked to Gordon James Campbell on how Destinfo helps people find free travel information for any destination, and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Gordon James Campbell: Thanks for asking. We are all doing fine and adapting to the new times, taking up new hobbies, and following the health and security guidelines. I am lucky to be based on the island of Mauritius, which is practically COVID-free!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Destinfo?
Gordon James Campbell: My professional career began when I was 13 years old when I created my first website. Back then, I was very passionate about videogames and loved sharing this hobby with other people online. But there weren’t any big communities in Spain (where I grew up), which was a shame and a great opportunity. So I ended building the largest Spanish gaming community by the age of 15. One year later, I made my first online business selling custom-made t-shirts. When I was 17 years old, I became the youngest employee in Spain’s top OTA as their front-end developer since User Experience has always been an obsession. At 18, I discovered Facebook and tried to convince my friends to sign up, but they didn’t because it wasn’t available in Spanish! So once again, I seized the opportunity and created the first Social Network in Spain. After selling that project, I became the Head of Social Media for Zara Worldwide. I eventually began my start-up in my twenties by launching a Social Shopping Network. After selling that, I traveled the world and moved to Mauritius, where I became the Digital Marketing Specialist for Pepsi, where I managed and developed the online platforms for all of their brands. After three years, I decided to focus on my biggest passion – travel – with my most ambitious project yet: Destinfo.
How does Destinfo innovate?
Gordon James Campbell: Destinfo is the one-stop platform to find free travel information for any destination. By accessing Destinfo, this revolutionary website and application allow travelers to find useful information for any destination in the world quickly. It all starts with the search engine: by simply entering the name of a town, city, region, or country, users can quickly access a specific page for that destination full of valuable information for anybody who is planning to visit or has already visited. Therefore, Destinfo challenges the conventional way travelers plan their next trip by offering free travel information for any destination globally, so they can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying their traveling experience.
Destinfo offers free travel information for any destination in the world, including:
– Travel guide (get in, eat, sleep, shop )
– Popular and top travel lists of places to visit
– Weather forecast and average climate
– Handy language phrasebooks
– Currency Converter and other useful tools
– Interactive country flag and learning games
Members can sign up and enjoy:
– Free access to all the content on-the-go
– Destination Bookmarking (planned/visited)
– Creating their travel bucket list
– Creating their travel map
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Gordon James Campbell: Coincidently, we started working on Destinfo before the Covid-19 pandemic had broken out. When it did, we saw it as an opportunity. To resist change is pointless. Travel and tourism will not go away; it will just change. Therefore, it’s better to be part of the change. Destinfo can retrieve last-minute and up-to-date tourist information from anywhere in the world. So if international travel slows down for a certain period and domestic travel becomes more important, Destinfo still proves itself useful.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Gordon James Campbell: The most difficult decision that we made was to delay the launch of our Marketing campaigns. We were all ready to go when COVID-19 hit the world. But this has allowed us to learn from our initial users and work on new features that he hadn’t planned to develop initially. The biggest lesson is to be ready for the unexpected and pivot quickly if necessary.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Gordon James Campbell: Competitors for Destinfo are the traditional Guide Books that have replicated their business model online. Destinfo is different because it is always up-to-date and, therefore, kept alive and relevant for travelers. While many printed tourist guides will become obsolete, having that information online ensures that travelers will always be informed appropriately. Some features were added specifically for the lock-down period, like the ability to plan and create an interactive travel bucket list from Destinfo.com. When lock-down restrictions start lifting, Destinfo will be ready to help travelers on-the-go with the Destinfo mobile app.
Your final thoughts?
Gordon James Campbell: If the lock-down has proven anything for the digital sector, businesses (of all shapes and sizes) can no longer afford to ignore digital. For example, many companies consider allowing employees to continue working remotely as they embrace digital solutions that they never would just a few months ago. It’s not just an economic shift; society is finally accepting digital as a natural way to operate. Therefore, consumer behavior has also changed. It’s no surprise to see the value of E-commerce businesses skyrocket. Businesses should stop seeing digital as “the thing young people do” or a simple after-thought and fully integrate it into their top-level strategic and operational planning. Strategic partnerships should be something that companies look into if they want to embrace digital fully. The faster businesses can adapt to the new digital landscape, the quicker they will recover.
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