Established in 2016, WeGoTrip is now a major online platform for booking tours and tickets. The company went international in 2019, covered over 50 cities in Europe and Russia, and increased its turnovers sevenfold.
Although the pandemic has had a significant impact on tourism, the team continues to develop and offer new products and innovative solutions for its users. Today, WeGoTrip invites students to do their internship at the company and bring fresh ideas to life. The application form is available here.
ITMO.NEWS met with Alexander Golovatiy, the founder of WeGoTrip, to learn more about the company’s opportunities and perfect candidates for this internship.
Why do you think that it’s a unique opportunity?
Our goal is to find people from various fields – beginning developers, marketing specialists, managers, etc. – and let them work on projects in teams. Just like we did at the university. If I may say so, our platform will be a sort of an accelerator for students. We will share our experiences and views, as well as help trainees avoid mistakes that we made on our path.
We don’t want to just give candidates ongoing tasks and monitor their work but to bring together people who already have some skills and are eager to acquire experience in starting a new project. And we’ve made sure that our ideas can be implemented in one and a half to two months.
We’ll fulfill the functions of mentors of an accelerator but we will also finance hypothesis testing, content creation, ad campaigns, and so on.
Are these some side projects?
I’d say that these are directions our company aims to develop in the near future. We want to create a school of digital guides and also a tour builder. In fact, we already have an online tour builder and it offers over 7,000 tours, which were created over the three years of its work. But thanks to the collaboration with real guides, we realized its shortcomings and now we’re going to completely redesign it – basically, start from scratch and launch a new product.
I think it will be a bit easier for candidates working on this project because they will have our example and a clear understanding of all possible mistakes and the needs of our users.
Are you not afraid now to invest in new products during the pandemic?
2020 was maybe not the most pleasant yet extremely insightful year. Before the pandemic, the company grew very well and the revenue increased sevenfold. Our audio tours were bought mainly by Americans who traveled to Europe, and they were our target audience. The pandemic got in the way of global tourism, but we didn’t lose our track and turned to the Russian market – here tourism rapidly revived this year.
Plus, we launched a b2b direction and started working with companies. Of course, we didn’t manage to reach the sales and revenues that we had before the pandemic, but still, we continue to stand on our feet and evolve further. Overall, I think we handled the situation quite well.
You can sit still and just wait, or you can start doing things. Even tiny steps towards your goal are important. The projects that we will include in the internship program have actually already been verified. For example, the school of digital guides is even more relevant than ever as during the pandemic guides have lost their jobs, tour operators and travel agencies have also been severely affected.
The current situation made it clear that tourism has to go online. But if you take the Russian market, then you’ll see that our specialists have no idea how to do it. And we did it successfully even before the pandemic, and now we’re fully aware of our next steps. This is something that has to be done but no one is working on it yet.
Nowadays, few can afford to develop new projects, and travel companies have so many other problems. But we realized that if we adapt to the current situation and work on new products it’ll be good both for us and for our partners from the tourism industry.
What are the benefits for students?
We can offer not only experience and internship opportunities but also potential employment. We believe in the results, so if a team is successful in a project, then we will be glad to make an offer. Some of our projects already have such options.
Are you looking only for students?
Not only. Now we have around 30 applications, and some of them are from marketing specialists that are retraining to become product managers. But, of course, we’re mainly looking for ITMO students as we know for sure that it has many talented people who already have professional skills but yet no experience of participating in commercial projects. This is a great chance for them to start their career.
And what are the selection criteria? You’re not interested in people without any skills, are you?
It’s like it is in life. When I was still a student, nobody gave me any options. I looked for people I could comfortably work with myself. I believed in them and they, in turn, believed in me. Our task is to select potential trainees and interview them in order to learn more about what kind of people they are and what they can do. And then candidates will get acquainted with each other and have the chance to find colleagues for joint work on projects.
Of course, those who have no skills can apply for our internship, too. But, most likely, they won’t get into a team. Hardly anyone will agree to work with such people. But this doesn’t mean that we completely cut off those who didn’t get an internship. We have three more new products in progress, so we plan to keep in touch with all candidates and invite them to other projects.
How many people do you plan to recruit?
There are about ten roles in each team: developers, testers, marketing and PR specialists, product managers, content makers, and so on. We will have two teams – one per project. Our task is to conduct a thorough selection so that it’d be easier for people to find their teammates.
Did you come up with this format yourself?
It’s our idea that came to me from my own experience. As a student, I understood that I had skills and knowledge, as well as my own projects – both educational and commercial. But because I had no experience, no large company or corporation would hire me. And I know for sure that there are many students in a similar situation who have both the desire and the opportunities to create their projects but they don’t know how to start.
It’s also an experiment for us. We wanted to immediately start with boosting the interns’ skills and not spend our time on training them. That’s why we concluded that this format is the best choice for us.
Could you tell us more about your other projects?
We strive to become the best platform for independent travelers, which will offer not only ready-made tours but also full travel support. Our users already have the opportunity to buy tickets to the main attractions and avoid standing in lines, as well as book transfers from airports.
In the future, we want to launch a new type of product, which, as we know, is in high demand – multi-day tours. When people book, for example, a tour around Europe with included accommodation, transfer, and excursion support, we want to accompany every stage of their trip, suggest places and events, send reminders so that they aren’t late, and so on.
This is a huge project. It’ll take from six months to two years to launch it, so we’re not ready yet. It means that we can’t recruit trainees for it either. First, we want to test our idea on smaller projects and see if we get the expected profit. If everything goes well, we’ll invite students to larger and more ambitious projects.