Mench Dizon isn’t your typical travel startup entrepreneur. She is a 37 year old mom of two but what makes her different is the fact that she has run 17 marathons in her ten years of running with no prior experience. She has been a six-star finisher having finished all of the World Marathon Majors, in the process she is one of less than ten Filipinos to have done so.
We met up with Mench in Singapore recently where she talked about her experience of running, being an entrepreneur in Philippines and the idea behind TripClub.
1. Curious about the name TripClub
We chose the name TripClub because it feels like a global brand, which is what we aspire to become. It connotes exclusivity because we originally intended for it to be a membership-only access for travel via subscription. However as we shifted direction towards corporate travel for SMEs, the brand still works because we still offer closed-garden access to our inventory for onboarded business while providing them with business trip tools to better manage their corporate travel.
2. Who are your customers?
Our primary customers are SMEs who struggle with fragmented and unmanaged business travel both from a perspective of booking and overall travel mamagement. Our jump-off point is the Philippines for a Southeast Asia play.
3. Would it be right to term that you’re looking at the segment of outbound B2B travellers from Philippines?
Initially this is our market but we believe that we are addressing business travel pain-points that is true across various markets in the region.
4. On the inventory side, how have you been growing your partner hotel inventory?
We are working with various aggregators as a quick-go-to-market strategy. We believe in the value of working with partners for this so we can focus on creating the best user experience for our B2B market instead of spreading our energy getting incremental gains from doing the one-by-one acquisition ourselves. We are in the business of building the platform to aggregate these various sources and less on the business of sourcing directly.
5. Currently the focus is on hotel bookings or you’re looking at the entire travel-segment?
Current focus is identifying partners who will provide us with inventory that is relevant to our business travel. This includes flights, hotels, transfers, lounge access, travel insurance, itinerary and expense management, among other things.
6. If you had to pick one trend that will disrupt travel industry next year, what would that be?
Mobile revolutionizing how corporate travel is done.
7. From running marathons to travel startup, you seem to have a knack of doing challenging things. Is the experience similar
I always believe that how you do one thing is how you do everything. Running marathons is very much similar to running a travel start-up from the preparation to the dedication you put into each and ultimately to its fruition. Preparing for a marathon entails for me to train smartly especially since I have limited time to do so with all the responsibilities to juggle – being a solo founder, a wife, a mom and an athlete. To do this, I am deliberate about the drills and training that I do and not just unnecessarily pack in the mileage. In the same way with start-ups, I have to identify which part of the business I should focus my energy on and not just blindly take on whatever comes my way. With running I also learn better by doing and by being coached and I can say that in business it is the same.
sI take on challenges so I learn from actual experience but I complement this with seeking out mentors who can fast track my learning because they have gone through this experience themselves and can tell me exactly what to watch out for. Marathons are also about showing up to train everyday even if you don’t feel like it. I have days when I don’t now what do do at work but I continue to just show up and figure things out. I continue to do so because I believe I can be successful as manifested in my running journey. I got to finish all the the World Marathon Majors in a span of five years through sheer dedication and knowing this gives me comfort that I too can be successful in the work that I do if I adhere to a process of showing up fully and wholeheartedly everyday.
8. How many marathons you have run so far?
I have ran 17 marathons in my ten years of running. I am a Six-Star finisher having finished all of the World Marathon Majors. I am one of less than ten Filipinos to have done so.