Co-founded by onefinestay’s Evan Frank, Henley Vazquez, Indagare veterinarian and owner of Virtuoso agency, and entrepreneur and technologist Jake Peters, Fora today launches to modernize the traditional agency model, bringing a new generation of entrepreneurs in the industry.
Travel agencies are a $100 billion market in the United States, and those numbers continue to grow post-pandemic. Fora’s new platform serves as the foundation for anyone who can work in the industry and sell travel, with cohort training sessions, high advisor profiles, content creation tools and best-in-class negotiated rates hotels in the world. It provides an integrated community of Advisors who together can enjoy benefits such as exclusive access to new property openings or exclusive destination events. The goal is to provide the components that creators, influencers, and stay-at-home parents need to start a successful travel business. With Fora’s support, Gaya Vinay, the company’s first advisor, has booked over $200,000 in travel alone.
“We love the travel agent industry. But in its current form, breaking in as a foreigner is difficult, and there’s limited technology to really help agents build successful businesses. We’ve re-examined every aspect of the traditional agency model with 2021 eyes – creating a robust platform that allows individuals to earn flexible income by selling trips and creating trips, while leveraging the best best-in-class tools and new ways of thinking,” said Evan Frank, co-founder of Fora and former co-founder of luxury colocation company, onefinestay. “We’re on a mission to empower parents, freelancers, creators and stay-at-home hustlers to earn an income and reap the benefits of this rewarding industry, while being part of a wonderfully supportive community.”
Despite its perception of being outdated, behind in technology and unappealing to newcomers, the travel agent market is growing and demand has now reached pre-pandemic levels. According to a survey by the American Society of Travel Advisors, 76% of travel advisors see an increase in customer numbers in 2021, compared to before the pandemic. 80% hear from travelers who have never worked with a travel agent before.
“Many consumers don’t realize the value of booking through a travel agency; you get the best price, freebies, upgrades and extra expertise. We anticipate pent-up travel demand post-pandemic will accelerate Fora’s trajectory and growth from inception,” said Fora co-founder Henley Vazquez. “We are in the midst of a revolution focused on flexibility, from your daily work to business and leisure travel and more. We want everyone who is passionate about travel to earn money by creating and selling travel experiences.
Recently, Fora closed a $5 million seed round led by Forerunner Ventures with participation from leading consumer investors, including Heartcore Capital and Uncommon Capital, and leading consumer entrepreneurs, including Katrina Lake. , Gokul Rajaram, Ran Makavy and Ben Rubin. Fora will use this investment to successfully onboard new advisors and help travelers have universally memorable experiences in a world where travel is increasingly unpredictable.
“At Forerunner, we are inspired by founders who empower people to turn their passions into successful businesses,” said Brian O’Malley, general partner at Forerunner Ventures. “With the re-emergence of travel post COVID, Fora is well positioned to become the leading brand for travelers seeking unique experiences and trusted guidance along the way.”
The pandemic has had a devastating effect on employment in general, but especially on working mothers. According to Census Bureau data, about 3.5 million mothers living with school-aged children lost their jobs, took furloughs, or left the workforce when COVID-19 hit last year. In particular, women’s labor force participation has already dropped to 57% – the lowest level since 1988. A business model like Fora’s will enable women and those who have suffered throughout the pandemic to re-enter the work market.
Fora sits at the intersection of the desire for flexible, remote working and the sharing economy, as well as consumers’ desire to re-engage with domestic and international travel. With ongoing vaccines, travel continues to increase, which is another reason travel agents are in high demand. In a year when the level of complexity for booking travel is high, people are turning to travel advisors to make sure everything is transparent, from entry requirements, where to eat and daily adventures. In today’s travel climate, advisors need to understand travel rules that change daily. That’s exactly what Fora Advisors will do: be an advocate, offer professional advice, and provide customers with a broader picture of their travels.
For more information, visit www.foratravel.com.
Fora sits at the intersection of the desire for flexible, remote working and the sharing economy, as well as the consumer’s desire to re-engage with domestic and international travel. The company is transforming the $100 billion travel agency by welcoming a new generation of entrepreneurs to the industry and empowering them with elevated advisor profiles, content creation capabilities, a community and a supplier hub , cohort training sessions and marketing tools The company aims to provide the components that these creators, influencers and stay-at-home parents need to start an agency business, including beautiful websites, automation of the marketing and community, plus customer benefits that were historically only available to industry insiders. For more information, visit www.foratravel.com.