Travel Hero: Saskia Griep – Better Places
Cherry LAB’s passion for travelling goes beyond boundaries! We are not only inspired by our own stories and the destinations we have been to. Or inspiration is also stimulated by the unique stories of other globetrotters and power women. That’s why every fortnight we put a new Travel Hero in the spotlight. These are heroes from all over the world and of course from our own country. Maybe you are next!
A clear vision, a passion for sustainable travelling and other cultures ánd a great portion of perseverance – that’s the best description of our newest Travel Hero Saskia Griep! This enterprising power woman started the travel platform Better Places around three year ago with the thought of bringing two world together: travellers who are searching for a unique travel experience and local experts who carry a backpack full of these experiences. By now, Saskia and Better Places are expanding and they even start a traineeship for young professionals around the topic of sustainable enterprising this September! Time to get to know Saskia better:
1. What makes to a true power woman?
My first reaction is that I don’t directly see myself as a power woman. I started Better Places because I genuinely believe that we can make the world a little bit better by travelling, by being open to other cultures and others ways of living and by collaboration based on equality. I’m an anthropologist and have been interested in different cultures my whole life; the diversity make life prettier. I undertake from my ideals and think it is much more important to create an impact instead of making money. Sometimes, people think my way of enterprising is kind of weird. Luckily, I can proof with Better Places that enterprising with a clear vision and a great dose of perseverance, you can be successful!
2. How did the success of Better Places start and what is the USP?
Better Places is not only a travel platform, but also more and more an online community in sustainable travel. We intensively work with multiple travel experts who started their own travel organization in Asia, Africa or Latin America. We also work with a growing group of online influencers and are always searching for enterprising people who share our ideals. Traveling and discovering special places is our favorite thing to do but at the same time, we want to make the world a little bit better together with digital nomads and freelancers who work all over the world. This makes us flexibel and offer lot of room for innovation.
We noticed that people are more and more searching for special experiences and contact with locals during their holidays. I have been working in the travel branch for years now and have created a great network of travel professionals from all over the world. Just like me, they think sustainable travel is important and they are keen on composing the most beautiful trips. With Better Places, I would like to bring those two worlds together. On the one hand the people who are searching for a special travel experience but don’t have the time to handpick their journey, on the other hand the local travel expert who are specialized in creating the special journeys. The local experts like to travel themselves as well and constantly spot new places. Sustainable enterprising and personal / informal contact between the traveller and the expert is important to us!
3. What is the highlight of your career?
My personal highlight is that with Better Places we show you can create a successful organization by sustainable enterprising. Besides this, I love to work together with like-minded travel addicts worldwide and expand our community of travel entrepreneurs (experts and influencers).
The highlight of Better Places is the continuous enthusiasm of the travellers. The average customer satisfaction rate is 9,1. We only exist for 3 years and already won the Reisgraag award for far away travel twice (based on reviews of travellers). We now also spot more and more repeaters, even travellers who are joining us for the 4th time! Expertise and personal contact are key.
4. What are your dreams, ambitions and goals for the future?
My personal ambition is to create as much impact possible for the local population, as for the traveller. Besides this, I like to offer products based on equality. No visits to schools or orphanages, but visiting a coffee plantation where proud entrepreneurs explain about the products they cultivate. It’s very simple, if local personal is well trained and well paid, they are more satisfied which eventually leads to a better experience for the travellers.
With Better Places, we prefer to offer small-scaled family hotels. I have travelled a lot myself and find it much more fun to stay the night in these hotels with typisch local dishes than in a hotel with a big buffet. Preferably I stay in a hotel that is being run by the owners to experience true hospitality.
Furthermore, Better Places is growing quickly. Since 2016, we also operate in Germany as Fairaway and this week, we launch our international website www.betterplacestravel.com. We also keep adding new destinations – currently we offer only far away trip but destination within Europe are definitely on our bucket list. In September, we start the Better Tourism Academy – a traineeship for young professionals. With this traineeship we don’t only want to invest in young talent but also show that you can create a successful company by sustainable enterprising. In the end, we try to be a precursor in sustainable enterprising in the travel branch.