Ever since the pandemic, there has been a permanent shift in how companies are thinking about the workplace. Things will never go back to where they were. For some, going back to the office 5 days a week is over, for others, going back to the office at all is over. Over the past 2 years, I have observed more than one thousand companies deal with this change differently and figure out their own playbook.
A pattern started to take shape, though, when companies don’t hire in a particular urban area, their workforce becomes distributed and going back to the office is no longer an option.
For these companies (and those who just like to have fun), planning frequent gatherings became a must-have. In a recent conversation with a fellow YC founder, one sentence stuck with me.
“When you don’t work in the same office, you lose trust over time with your coworkers, and if you do nothing, this void leads to problems down the line. This is why we need to recharge this trust once in a while by going to the same place and sharing simple things like meals or a hike.”
Our company, TeamOut, has been focused on assisting this new generation of companies. We help them adapt to the shift in demand for team gatherings by providing a platform that simplifies meeting arrangements for remote teams. In short, we make offsite easy for remote teams.
Early on in our journey, we took a strong decision and decided to focus only on large events (above 20 people) because they were the most profitable ones. But being more profitable also means more customization, hand-holding, and customized contracts. This also meant focusing on certain venues, mostly hotels that could accommodate large groups, but as you know, hotel prices have been increasingly high recently due to the “bounce back of travel” post-pandemic. A higher cost for these events led to companies sometimes rethinking their overall event strategies.
The current model presented some weaknesses as well, low repeat usage, low margin, but gosh, one deal could save the month if it was big enough. But most of the time, it wasn’t, and this model introduced a lot of uncertainty.
Then one day, we had this big lightbulb moment with my co-founder Vincent, what if we were wrong in our initial hypothesis, what if small groups done right could be a huge lever of growth and the foundation of a sustainable business. But to better support small groups, we had to introduce a completely new supply of properties and an entirely new booking system. But we decided to give this idea a shot!
3 weeks later, this idea was born, we came up with more than 100 affordable homes and villas on our platform, villas with 10+ bedrooms, close to airports with a full range of food, activities, and transportation available to make the planning finally seamless for small groups.
Within one week of releasing this product, we signed 3 clients including Netflix who saw huge potential in this new offering and decided to put their trust in us. And this is only the beginning.
This change was not what we wanted - it’s a completely new process and supply to manage - but it was what the clients needed. To better support clients, we had to support them in all of their events and provide an affordable alternative for them to meet in this challenging time. By helping them with one, two, three events, you win their trust and loyalty over time. Need to find a villa for your 12-person offsite? No problem. Need a hotel for your sales kick-off? No problem. A cabin for your leadership offsite? We've got you.
We’re super excited today to make this new offer available to everyone. Moving forward, the small group section will represent a priority in our direction and will continue to add capabilities to make this experience more automated, streamlined, and overall more enjoyable than ever.
Because after all, offsites are all about having fun, and creating memorable experiences, so you might as well have fun planning them.
Thomas - TeamOut's Founder