If your idea of a banging holiday involves getting horizontal in the sun at a branded resort, going nuts on the all-inclusive buffet bar and cruising the hotel gift shop for souvenirs, then Trippin is not for you.
Created by three friends – Kesang Ball, Yasmin Shahmir and Sam Blenkinsopp – Trippin started life as a private Facebook group for their combined network of creative, unusual friends to share hidden travel gems and secrets from around the world.
Sam says: “The group became a bit of a goldmine so we had a think about how we could provide even more for our growing community. We knew we were onto something special and brainstormed on the optimum platform to extract and present information from interesting people.”
After a brief incarnation as an app, the team launched the Trippin website in April this year. Home to a global community of travellers who use the site on a daily basis to request and share secret spots and travel tips, Trippin takes the best and most valuable tips and co-signs them to produce curated community guides. Travellers can join the community to access these guides and add to the ‘melting pot of culture’. Londoners can check in to the weekly Whatsapp broadcast for a heads up on the best goings on in the capital that week.
“We wanted our design to be utility first and work really well on mobile,” says Sam. “We also knew that we wanted to stand out and be different – design is really important to us, our backgrounds are in that world and we wanted to push the boundaries of how you could digest information while reflecting the type of people we are and who our community is.”
Formerly part of the global brand marketing team at Adidas, Sam is well versed in communications, messaging and storytelling, and is using this experience to grow Trippin through commercial partnerships and even a merchandise line. This has included T-shirts, eye masks and essential oils designed for travel.
“The merch line is more of a brand awareness exercise,” he says. “People resonate with what we’re doing because we always put our values and mission at the core of our business. They want to buy into our brand and they want to rep it.”
While Trippin has been perfectly designed to pique Millennial and Gen Z interest, the team is passionate about using the platform to create change in the travel and tourism sector.
“It’s growing faster than most of the economy,” says Sam, “and it’s fundamental that we use this growth as a force for good. Travel should empower the people and places that it relies on and we have a duty to preserve the ongoing health of destinations and cultures so that future travellers can enjoy them too.”
Linking up with its community around the world in real life is all part of the Trippin game plan – “design the life you want to live,” says Sam. Next up is a trip to West Africa.
“There is so much creativity going on in that part of the world right now. We’ve got loads of members in Lagos, Senegal and Sierra Leone so we’re heading out there to meet with them and create content with some amazing people doing incredible things.”
With its global connections and sound foundation, where does Sam see Trippin in 10 years time?
“I’d like for us to implement more digital products into the space and have a real impact on how Millennials and Gen Zs choose to travel. Our community is sacred, it’s at the centre of everything we do and it’s growing and shifting all the time. If we continue with the level of engagement and support we are experiencing now, I think Trippin will be able to provide something really special. Let’s watch this space.”