LU 384: How TravelPerk CEO Avi Meir Navigated The Rough Waters of COVID-19 Without Letting Anyone Go($133M Raised!) (Podcast)

Business travel may not be happening as frequently anymore due to the COVID pandemic, but that does not concern today’s guest, Avi Meir. He is CEO and Co-Founder of TravelPerk, a ground-breaking business travel platform that offers companies of any size a one-stop-shop to book all of their travel in a single space. Avi is a travel industry veteran with fifteen years of experience. In this episode, we learn more about the platform, including the pain points they look to solve, how they generate income, and the ways they are reimagining business travel. We also learn about Avi’s choice to base the business in Barcelona, an unconventional destination for a tech company. Not only does the city offer a great quality of life, but Avi also believes that it influences their ability to attract top talent. Naturally, the conversation goes to COVID and how TravelPerk has been impacted. Avi shares the remarkable decision they have made to not let anyone go, and how they have used a combination of government relief and out of pocket payments to ensure their employees are furloughed with 80% pay. Aside from the practicalities of having to rehire, Avi knows that a drastic restructuring would harm the company culture, which they value tremendously. We discuss why figuring out core values is the foundational step to fostering a great culture, and learn what TravelPerk did to establish theirs. Along with this, Avi talks about their FlexiPerk product, which has been a pandemic standout and his hot take of why 2021 will see more business travel growth than 2019! Be sure to tune in today!


[00:41] Before we jump into today’s interview, please rate, review, and subscribe to the Leveling Up Podcast!

[01:10] An introduction to Avi, his background, and how he came to found TravelPerk.

[02:25] Learn more about TravelPerk and its mission as a business travel platform.

[03:36] Hear about how the platform makes money through commission and products.

[05:10] The typical amount customers can expect to pay on TravelPerk and the costs they save.

[07:28] Some of TravelPerk’s numbers, including employee count and growth rate.

[08:45] Why Avi decided to found TravelPerk in Barcelona which is not a typical tech hub.

[10:47] How TravelPerk manages to recruit great talent and its international workforce.

[12:44] Hear how Israeli culture influences their prolific innovation and work ethic.

[14:39] How TravelPerk has dealt with COVID, including the decision to furlough employees.

[17:59] Avi shares some COVID-related statistics about the business travel industry.

[20:23] The FlexiPerk product TravelPerk offers and its strength, particularly during the pandemic.

[23:16] What culture means at TravelPerk and some unique ways the company fosters it

[24:00] TravelPerk’s core values and how they were defined.

[27:08] Hear Avi’s contentious prediction for the future of the travel industry.

[28:00] Despite all the pandemic-related shifts, the need for human connection still remains.

[28:49] Avi’s must read books and favorite business growth tool.

[32:01] Why Avi tries to stay away from social media where possible.

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About Eric Siu

Eric Siu (@ericosiu) is the CEO at Single Grain, a digital marketing agency that focuses on paid advertising and content marketing. He contributes regularly to Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes and more.

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