We talked to Simon Robain of Tictactrip on how they promote intermodality and travel while respecting the environment.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Simon Robain: Thankfully, everything is going well for my family and me. For this second confinement in France, I chose to go to the mountains to enjoy the fresh air. It is a great way to enjoy my working days!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Tictactrip?
Simon Robain: I started Tictactrip directly after my studies. I went to an engineering school and then a business school—both of them in France. When I graduated, I had an idea to create a startup in the transportation field with my co-founder Hugo Bazin. The democratization of the bus with the Macron law in France in 2015 paved the way for us. Our goal was to make the best of what existed in travel agencies and transportation comparators and make it our starting point! That’s how we co-founded Tictactrip and launched our intermodal transportation comparator. My engineering school background allowed me to create, with the help of a programmer, the combination algorithm that makes Tictactrip’s superb added value in the field of responsible and intelligent transportation.
How does Tictactrip innovate?
Simon Robain: As I have already explained, Tictactrip is an intermodal transport comparator. Our technology allows us to create new routes by combining the offers of some existing buses and trains. Our combinations of transport types can also provide new recommendations with a much lower price and/or travel time than competing offers.
Another dimension of our innovation with Tictactrip is that we offer more responsible and environmentally friendly travel.
Offering more complete public transportation trips helps improve green and sustainable mobility. We offer an API widget to all our partners, whether they are event organizers, tourist offices, or ski resorts!
For example, we have famous partners: Le Printemps de Bourges, the Lolapalooza, the ski resort of Méribel, the ski resort of Val Thorens, and many others!
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Simon Robain: Covid-19 is hurting our business. In fact, the field of tourism is really and severely affected by the Covid-19 crisis. People do not move because of blockage in several European countries. Transport sales reached near zero.
Fortunately, this summer 2020 was excellent because people wanted to go back to the mountains, to the seaside resort, after the first lockdown. So we sold a lot of tickets. So we hope that this winter will be good. But, for the moment, the ski season is starting worse than we had expected.
We have decided to cope with the Covid-19 crisis with numerous buses and train annulations requests coming with the crisis; it was very time-consuming for our human-tall-team to manage all the consumers’ requests.
So we hired a Customer Care, Mathilde, who is in charge of helping all of our customers, as best she can. And our customers love her. Our Trustpilot rating is growing fast, thanks to our satisfied customers.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Simon Robain: Yes, with my co-founder, we have had a lot of tough decisions to make. The most difficult are always the ones that involve humans.
Hire fast and fire faster was a piece of great advice from one of our mentors.
Another one super useful is “When you have a doubt, there is no doubt.” Meaning when you hesitate about hiring someone, don’t do it.
We learned that transparency is a super valuable strength.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Simon Robain: Boxing and then working on the subject that I’m stressed about: facing the issue ASAP.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Simon Robain: Our principal competitors are transport tickets, comparators like Oui. sncf, Omio, TheTrainline, Kombo. Travel Agencies who also sell transports tickets are our competitors.
Finally, our real competitors are personal vehicles, and just making 1% of personal vehicle usage change for Tictactrip would be a remarkable victory.
None of our competitors offer these smart combinations of transports. So, for the moment, we are serene. We are developing our intermodal service and taking advantage of the opportunity to gain importance and notoriety among the general public.
Your final thoughts?
Simon Robain: Looking to help people move around? Join us: https://www.welcometothejungle.com/fr/companies/tictactrip
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