Heli specializes in “out-of-the-box” adrenaline experiences

The global adventure booking platform and operator Heli started out as a way to make heli-skiing easier for a group of intrepid friends. Today, he connects millions of adrenaline junkies to gnarly experiences all over the world, with the goal of “making ambitious experiences accessible.” Globetender talks to the co-founder Andy Culp for more.

What is the story behind Heli?

We founded in Heli in 2017 to make heliskiing easier for our friends. Today, we are poised to define the multi-billion dollar adventure travel industry as a marketplace: We have sold approximately 1,500 trips since launch (over $ 5.3 million). of reservations) of which around 50% via loyal customers. – generally active professionals, aged 30 to 40 years.

Heli partners with approved operators, guides and lodges to offer fully planned trips with accommodation, food, activities, equipment and even a packing list, making it a seamless experience for consumers.

The experiences are private, outdoors and in remote locations, making many travelers feel a little more secure at this time. In fact, of all the trips booked in 2021, between 80% and 90% are either private, semi-private, full lodge stays, or situations where the group gets to know each other and reserves as a group.

More than just a booking site, Heli offers a two-sided digital platform that serves buyers and sellers of travel and adventure experiences on a global scale.

Market activity helps buyers discover and book the best experiences around the world: skiing and snowboarding, surfing, safaris, diving, cycling, mountain biking, kite surfing, fishing, yacht rental and trekking.

On the operations side, we provide the best SaaS management and reservation software that travel operators around the world power their businesses on.

These business units feed off each other; a strong operator base strengthens the market offering and manages the largest real-time inventory database in the category, while the market serves as an entry point and customer acquisition strategy for the operator’s SaaS platform.

I’m not sure there are many teams out there that can match our resilience and willingness to do whatever it takes to not only be successful in business, but to do it while pursuing what we love: adventure. Learn more about Andy’s story here.

Is Heli a platform for luxury travelers?

There is a wide range of prices with Heli. While our average purchase price is $ 4,000 per customer, adventures on the platform start at a few hundred dollars and go up from there based on experience.

What’s the most epic experience available on the site?

It is currently sold out, but this eight days Antarctic Superyacht Expedition Adventure hiking, helicopter tours, sea kayaking, ice climbing and more are at the top of the list.

For the first time ever, guests will be able to purchase a single cabin on a private superyacht in Antarctica. This approach introduces a level of luxury and flexibility that until now only a privileged few have experienced.HeliDespite the comfort of the yacht, the expedition spirit is undeniable. Three EYOS guides will encourage you to learn, see and do more. We bring our decades of expertise to create the most memorable expedition you can imagine.

We also have international elite athletes who organize trips from time to time. These include professional skier from Silvertip Heliskiing in British Columbia, Ian Macintosh, Jake Kelsick, a professional kite surfer in Turks and Caicos, and many professional kitesurfers in Brazil.

What sets Heli apart from its competitors?

Heli has two businesses. A Discovery Marketplace that helps customers find and take (buy) adventure travel without being redirected to another site and a booking software called Heli OS, which gives Adventure Operators / Hosts the ability to manage all their reservations in one place.

The experiences available on Heli are primarily multi-day adventure packages that include everything from accommodation and lessons to equipment. The Average Order Value (AOV) on Heli is over $ 5,000, and we offer premium experiences that may not be available in other markets.

On the site, it is stated that there is “absolutely no markup with Heli”. How it works?

The customer will receive the same price on Heli that he will go directly to the operator. Heli receives a commission from the operator rather than the customer, so we will never charge more than what you would pay live.

How has the Covid impacted the business? Are there any changes here to stay?

Covid has forced us to squat down and really toughen up our business in terms of spending. Our ability to pivot quickly and focus on domestic and external experiences has allowed us to navigate the pandemic very well and in fact year-over-year revenue has been stable in 2020 which we are proud of. .Heli;  Zanzibar Kite Paradise 2_credit photo Andy CulpCustomers wanted small private outdoor experiences and in the future I think these themes will still be prevalent. There has certainly been an increase in bucket list travel, given the accumulated savings and the knowledge that the privilege to travel can be waived at any time.

We are now seeing clients looking to head to adventure destinations for long term / indefinite stays, so we often help these digital nomads find accommodation as well as activity / adventure options. We even launched our own Digital nomad series.

What does the future hold?

The future is to further cement the moat around the adventure travel space. Our goal is to be the all-in-one solution for Adventure Operators – providing them with a discovery platform for their inventory as well as a booking engine to manage their existing and future bookings.

For clients, we will continue to keep in mind the free space around decision-making time: “I want to go on a cool trip, where should I go? Let’s see what’s on Heli.

What comes next? Trend reports downloadable HERE

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