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409: Offering Solo Travel as a Solution for Loneliness with Lee Thompson, Co-Founder & CMO of Flash Pack

Lee Thompson is the co-founder and CMO of Flash Pack, a travel brand dedicated to small group adventures rooted in friendship that he founded with his now wife and CEO, Radha Vyas. Lee’s career merged with his passion for adventure as a self-employed photojournalist. He met Radha on a chance first date between gigs, and they immediately started planning what became Flash Pack. By 2016, they were married, had both quit their jobs, and were starting their new adventure as business owners. Initially, they successfully bootstrapped their business, but COVID and closed borders had other ideas. The pandemic was in full swing, they had a one-year-old baby, all of their investors wanted refunds, and by November 2020, they had filed for bankruptcy and lost everything. Thanks to teamwork, creative problem-solving, and dedication, Lee and Radha were able to relaunch in November 2021 and are in a better place today than ever before. Now, he is using the storytelling skills he learned through photojournalism to tell the story of Flash Pack, a story of friendship.

In this episode, Alan and Lee discuss who Flash Pack is for, the unique experiences they offer their customers, and why they are all in on marketing friendship. Flash Pack is a London-based start-up, but with a large American user base, they are beginning the transition to become a US-based company with several existing US-based employees and an upcoming family move to the States. They have over 75 employees in 12 different countries, and revenue is higher than it ever was pre-pandemic. Lee says business is booming due to an increase in loneliness and awareness of the damage it can do. That is why all Flash Pack marketing is centered around friendship forged through adventure.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Lee’s photojournalism skills serve him as a CMO
  • The solo travel market and why Flash Pack marketing is all friendship-based
  • What Lee has learned from failure and predicts for the future of marketing

Key Highlights:

  • [01:45] Historic adventures in photojournalism
  • [04:40] The art of storytelling through photos and marketing efforts
  • [05:25] From the first date to founding a company
  • [07:40] Building a life together is the greatest adventure.
  • [09:00] What is a Flash Pack?
  • [11:35] Everything was great until COVID hit.
  • [15:45] Starting a Business: Part 2
  • [18:40] The market for solo travel
  • [21:00] Friendship forged through adventure
  • [21:55] Flash Pack across the Pond
  • [23:55] Generating buzz about friendship on the streets of New York
  • [27:15] The next big thing to target is isolation on the streets of New York.
  • [28:55] Learning how to fail early on
  • [30:00] Advice to his younger self
  • [32:05] Marketing is not just the marketer’s job.
  • [34:20] User-generated content
  • [35:55] The opportunity for diversity and the threat of getting lazy

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