Operator Profile: Impulse – Immersive Travel Experiences in Colombia

Redeam is all about connectivity, and we like to think of our audience engagement as another form of that connectivity. Back in June we ran a one-question poll and offered $50 in American Express gift cards to one lucky poll-taker drawn at random. What this winner didn’t know at the time was that we were also going to create a feature profile about them…and here it is!

 

Meet Impulse Travel Colombia

“We want to transform Colombia, one tour at a time.”

This is Impulse Travel’s mission. The company, which took on the name “Impulse Travel” in 2017 after the merging of three companies that had been around since 2011, makes social purpose its differentiator. They seek to help shape the country of Colombia and its community life through tourism. Their experiences “facilitate meaningful interactions between travelers and locals to foster empathy. Travelers become inspired, locals empowered, and their [local community] projects find a unique economic support that is key for them to thrive.”

Impulse Travel employs 11 people full time, but it also maintains a network of up to 50 people comprised of freelance guides, community leaders, and others who help deliver their experiences.

 

What Does Impulse Travel Offer?

Impulse Travel offers both classic tours (city, bike, etc.) and social transformation experience tours called HEART Experiences. HEART is an acronym created from the objectives and characteristics the experiences seek to fulfill:

  • Human Centered: People always come first when designing experiences. With a human approach and a strong sense of empathy – “people are our real destinations.”
  • Economic Opportunities: Work to re-weave the social fabric, making war-based economies obsolete, and preserving culture through tourism-generated job opportunities.
  • Authentic: Experiences that go beyond the surface by connecting travelers to the people who keep culture alive and who lead peace transformations.
  • RegeNarrative: Inspire travelers through transformation stories of people who are making a change for the country and those around them by turning negative situations into positive ones.
  • Top-Notch: Impulse Travel Columbia tours are designed and operated with extreme care — prototyped, refined, updated, and tested through time to guarantee the best experiences for its travelers.

It’s the HEART experiences represented in the collage image at the top of this post.

They also offer custom vacation planning as well as experiences within Colombia for travelers looking for a tailored approach.

 

What Kind of Traveler Does Impulse Travel Serve?

Prior to the travel bans implemented by COVID, almost 90% of Impulse Travel’s business was international, 75 – 80% of which came from U.S. “It’s very rare to have Latin American travelers, even more rare to have Colombian travelers,” explained Diana Florez, Revenue Manager at Impulse Travel. “Our price points are difficult for local travelers. Plus, Latin Americans look for different types of tourism activities.” The company also began diversifying into the B2B space. “More than half of our income came from the B2B (groups) side of bookings — tour companies and universities, like MBA university trips. The remaining bookings came from OTAs – we’d been heavily dependent on one or two OTAs, for example — or direct purchases off of our website or a website inquiry that leads to a sale.” Most of the website direct traffic came from Google searches defined by a specific city or destination name, such as city tours in Bogota or tours in Cartagena.

 

How Has COVID Affected Your Business?

Prior to COVID, Impulse Travel had a strategic vision to diversify their channels – they felt they had too many eggs in the same basket, and that changes to OTAs ranking algorithm was skewed less favorably towards them. Between March and August, the company was “just in survival mode,” according to Florez. “In June and July, Brazil’s COVID spike hurt demand in all of South America. Now, we are preparing our product and commercial strategy for when tourism revamps in Colombia.”

In this new phase, the company is doing things a little differently. They’re already in negotiations for 2021 group trips and tailoring itineraries to what the existing partners want. To help develop new leads, the company is looking at hiring a U.K.-based public relations firm because they feel there’s untapped opportunity there. And they’re re-doing their website, planned to officially launch in late October.

 

How Can Someone Learn More About Impulse Travel?

Company website:    https://impulsetravel.co/

Facebook:                   https://www.facebook.com/impulsetravel.co

Twitter:                       https://twitter.com/ImpulseTravelco

LinkedIn:                    https://www.linkedin.com/company/impulsetravel

Instagram:                  https://www.instagram.com/impulse_travel

Pinterest:                     https://co.pinterest.com/impulsetravelco

 

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