Turning the love of adventure into a business

Adventure is a big business and entrepreneurs are well-known for loving a daredevil lifestyle. That’s something Raymond Klompsma, CEO of srprs.me knows a thing or two about.

Founded in Amsterdam in 2014, srprs.me is a travel agency with a twist. Customers pick the type of holiday that they want – city break or backpacking trip – the dates they want to travel and set the budget, and srprs.me picks the destination and books flights and accommodation. Customers are told the weather forecast for where they’re going and are given a time to be at the airport – when they are finally told where they’re off to. We caught up with Raymond to find out more about the story behind the adventure...

What is the story behind srprs.me? Why did you launch the site?

Early 2014, one of my co-founders, Stefan, got fed up. He had some time to spare and just wanted to visit a place in Europe, but not spend a lot of time planning it. So he asked a colleague to book him a trip and not tell him where to go until he was at the airport.

Because he planned nothing, he didn’t have any expectations. He was so much more open to really experiencing the destination. By putting spontaneity over rationality and heart over head.

So we created srprs.me to bring the fun back to travel and inspire people to embrace the unknown. We want to set people’s hearts racing and help them do away with the researching, reasoning and rationalising that can drain the magic from seeing the world. Ultimately, people will go wherever they’re meant to go and we’ll help them get there.

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Do you think of business as an adventure?

Absolutely. We set out to bring more spontaneity into travel. Which is an adventure by itself. We then wanted to prove that running a business is traveller-first, not revenue-first. We wanted to prove that by focusing obsessively on happy customers, we could make a decent profit. Another adventure. And finally, the day-to-day adventure of seeing a young company grow and moving into new countries, might be the biggest adventure. We have a very young team, we’re sending people on surprise holidays all over the world, so that is just one big bowl of adventure.

How is adventure part of your internal culture at srprs.me?

It is hard to bring adventure and surprise to travellers when you’re working from a desk. So, we have a culture team that is responsible for srprs.traditions like our annual srprs.trip (yes, of course it is a surprise for the team) but also to surprise team members every once in a while. The team once surprised me by secretly arranging a visit to the airport control tower for me, a childhood dream. 

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Obviously, we don’t have cubicles either – we have a large open space where people and teams are mixed and we have meeting rooms with travel themes. One meeting room and our lunch tables are covered in the postcards we get on a daily basis from our travellers.

And finally, it is in the way we work every day. Our creative monthly presentation where the whole company can pitch in, the way we bring a lot of our travellers and other inspiring people into our offices to bring new ideas. And we always do brainstorms & problem solving sessions standing up

Why is adventure important to your customers?

We seem to have hit a nerve with travellers. It was pure coincidence at first, but over time and by talking a lot with our travellers, I think the picture became clear.

Everybody is trying to plan their complete holiday through Google. By looking at countless reviews and (comparison)websites. But by having so many choices, it consumes a lot of time and people start doubting their previous decisions. Also, people are over-planning their holidays.

We believe it is important for people to get out of their comfort zone once in a while, to un-plan, to be spontaneous and open to new experiences – that is where the magic happens. 

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What has been the most adventurous part of your business journey so far?

We ourselves were surprised how much surprise holidays resonated with so many people. We had over 55,000 travellers so far and are now active in The Netherlands, Belgium and the UK. The most adventurous thing now is how we can maintain our traveller satisfaction (we have a Net Promoter Score of over 60) while we grow and venture into new countries. It is about finding the right people for our team and maintaining our remarkable culture but also in understanding the quirks of every new country we launch in.

But when I see how many people are still over-Googling and over-planning their holidays, I guess our adventure is just getting started.

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