The Silicon ReviewLink to Article
Travel is an integral part of any organized sports program. However, many sports organizations see travel management as a service that is nice to have instead of seeing it as essential. This is because the mainstream travel agencies in the market are really only designed to help procure deals. While that’s important, travel management is much more than that. For tournament hosts, they need to be able to monetize hotels and market the deals to their event participants. They also need to easily track reservations and send invoices to receive their cut. These functions may seem trivial but they require a lot of time from the tournament organizers - most simply do not have the resources to do it effectively.
Lucid exists for one reason, to automate the end-to-end travel management process for sports tournaments & events. The company believes that the real innovation needed in sports travel will come from automating all of the steps that tournament organizers need to do to effectively manage hotel lodging for their events. Setting up lodging for tournaments is an extremely complex process but, if done well, it can generate a lot of additional revenue. Because of this, only large organizations that have resources in place are able to provide this service to their tournament attendees. Lucid is making this revenue stream available to the small/mid-sized organizations that have limited time & resources. Lucid also has unique integration partnerships with mainstream registration softwares that tournament organizers use. This allows Lucid to directly connect to their registration process and pull event contacts so that booking reminders can be sent automatically.
In conversation with Ben Knosby, Founder and CEO of Lucid Travel
Q. What was the motivation behind establishing Lucid Travel?
We believe that youth sports travel should be more accessible. Currently, it is a long, tedious process to book & manage travel for teams and for tournament directors to set up & manage lodging for their events. The solutions available in the market now are primarily traditional travel agencies which present an opportunity for a product-centric, automated software solution to provide real differentiated value.
Q. Have there been any setbacks in Lucid Travel’s journey so far?
During March 2020, right before COVID-19 hit, 90% of Lucid’s revenue was coming from university clients. Within one week, all of the revenue from the universities was paused due to travel restrictions across every university in the United States. Around this time, we had just launched our Tournament Director product, but it was just getting off the ground. Since the start of Covid-19, Lucid has focused primarily on building and launching the Tournament Director product, which has proved to be a good move as revenue in Q1 2021 compared to Q1 2020 is up over 300%.
Q. Tell us about your full range of services.
Lucid Travel is a sports travel brand providing solutions for tournament directors, sports teams, and university clubs that make travel easier. Bringing together the vast market of travel vendors into one accessible location, Lucid simplifies booking and managing hotels by automating communication, reminders, and reporting for tournament directors, universities, & teams.
Q. Why are your solutions so important to the travel industry? Could you give us some context?
Finding group deals, communicating plans to team members, and tracking team reservations is a very complex task. Lucid is designed to automate every step of the process so that teams simply input events and Lucid’s software sources group deals, automatically notifies team members, and sends booking reminders. Coaches and team managers can easily see who’s booked and who hasn’t. For tournament directors, Lucid is building a simplified way to earn revenue from event lodging. Tournament directors sign up, define how much they want to earn per room night, add events, and let Lucid’s automated system do the rest. Clients get a custom travel page with their branding that has all of their events and travel deals in one place. A key differentiator for Lucid is our integration strategy with registration software that tournament directors already use. This allows us to connect with them to automatically pull event information and registration contacts to automate messaging and reporting.
Q. Could you share with us some statistics that demonstrate your success?
Lucid powers 150+ universities, 1000+ events, and 10,000+ teams every year. Since its inception in 2017, Lucid has grown at an average year-over-year growth rate of 300%.
Q. How do you give priority to the customer?
Lucid’s 1st product was built for university clubs and teams. College students are very price-conscious, expect a simple online experience, and require service that solves problems quickly. This put Lucid in a great position to carry these customer-centric features to other products and markets we serve today.
Q. What makes Lucid Travel unique?
Lucid believes that innovation in sports travel will not be in the areas that most sports travel agencies currently focus on (like hotel negotiations and customer service). That’s not to say those things are not important, but we believe the real differentiated value will come from the following:
Q. Tell us about the technologies that power your services.
Lucid is an online software designed for mobile. Our booking engine is extremely reliable, and our user experience is designed to cut time tenfold (Meaning for every 10 hours you used to spend on travel management, with Lucid, you only spend 1)
Q. How would you describe Lucid Travel’s culture?
Lucid’s culture is built around an innovation-first mindset. We achieve this by seeking the real truth, not the easy option. This kind of culture can be a shock to people not accustomed to it but works extremely well for making actual progress. Our values are Radical Transparency, Being Authentic, Being Curious, and Taking Ownership.
Meet the leaders behind the success of Lucid Travel
Lucid Travel was founded by Ben Knosby (CEO), Nick Karagiannis (COO), and
Troy Miller (Director of Sales) in 2017. The 3 founders were great friends throughout college and all majored in chemical engineering. This may seem like an unrelated field but it proved very valuable in driving a product-centric, analytical culture at Lucid Travel. Ben Knosby, Lucid’s CEO, was involved in several growth/development roles prior to Lucid Travel and spent several years in a leadership training program at Merck Pharmaceutical working on business analytics before taking the leap into entrepreneurship.
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