YouLi started as a desire to solve my own challenges in group travel planning. Today it is a platform for creators of travel experiences.
I’m a traveler, but even more, I’m a planner. So when I travel somewhere I do all the research and make it super special, I wade through the emails and I double check all the prices, and I always wished people could envision the trip the same way I did. In my mind it was a vivid, beautiful journey, but in my spreadsheet it was a pile of dates, numbers and links. I am not surprised no one read those documents, but I was always disappointed.
Purpose-Driven Group Travel
The first time I experienced this type of group trip was when 9 of us climbed Mt. Fuji.
I loved the experience of gathering people who didn’t all know each other into a cohesive group focused on a single purpose – while still making sure we had fun along the way. But I hated emailing around word docs and spreadsheets that no one read and I was frustrated that handling the feedback and sending updates was a disjointed process. Since I made web applications for a living, I knew there had to be a better way.
Then I decided to create an 8 day Epic Destination Wedding to Jordan for 30 of my family and friends – pre-paid, inclusive. So I had to arrange it all and get payment up front, easy, right? All I asked was that they come for an adventure and help me test my business idea for YouLi. The prototype application was a success and the trip even more so – there will have to be a reunion event!
Conquering Mountains and Giving Back
We did a few more trials and then we launched our private beta earlier this year. We had to test drive it ourselves, so this year we led a group of 8 people up Kilimanjaro and 12 people on Safari in Tanzania. We all made it to the summit – as a team and we even raised $1300AUD for Monochrome international. Again, we bonded together when faced with the challenge of a single purpose. I came back ready to conquer the metaphorical mountain of building a business from scratch…
We have amazing early adopters, like Hacker.Exchange who took people to Silicon Valley for 2 weeks to become entrepreneurs, and Jenna Davis who planned a 3 day Canadian Cottage Wedding for over 100 guests, and OvaCure who held a conference in Denmark for the scientists who plan to cure ovarian cancer.
Planners with Purpose
If you are like me, then you love to plan and you love to see your plans come together beautifully. The current version of YouLi is the culmination of over 3 years of planning, and thanks to my amazing team, we are launching our public beta this week.
We have grand ambitions, but mostly we want to see what incredible trips our planners create with our platform. We believe that travel changes the way people see the world and that the people who lead these trips need better tools.
This launch is for the destination wedding planners, the retreat organizers, the adventure group leaders, and those who want to share their travel experiences in a beautiful format that others want to experience – for any purpose!