How 3 Successful Travel Businesses Got Started

You may sometimes wonder where the ideas for travel companies such as hotel chains, helpful websites or package holiday companies sprung from. Usually, the people involved have backgrounds in either business or hospitality, but sometimes there are unusual stories that you wouldn’t expect. Here three stories that are far from ordinary!


The founders of Airbnb came up with the initial idea of renting out three airbeds in their attic and serving breakfast to guests as a way to pay their rent back in 2007. They set up a simple website called ‘Airbed & Breakfast’ and decided to launch their company around the Democratic National Convention, taking advantage of the hotel room shortage in San Francisco.

Unconventional Inspiration - Airbnb

To fund the business, they bought tons of boxes of cereal and decorated the packaging to represent the presidential candidates: ‘Obama O’s’ and ‘Cap’N McCains’, ultimately raising $30,000 to put towards launching the business (although having to live off the left over cereal for some time).

Eventually, they received their first funding and officially launched Airbnb, but it wasn’t until they had the idea of taking their own photographs of the listed accommodation that the site really started to take off.

The business is now valued at around $10 billion.

Oyo Rooms

When 18 year old Ritesh Agarwal found himself locked out of his Delhi apartment, he had no choice but to check into a hotel for the night. The experience was so unsatisfactory, encountering a sleeping receptionist, a leaking bathroom, broken plug sockets and problematic payment methods that he decided that he had to do something about it.

Unconventional Inspiration - Oyo Rooms

Four years later, Ritesh is the Chief Executive of Oyo Rooms, with a network of over 2000 hotels in 100 cities in India. The company works with independent hotels to improve their service and facilities, rebranding them with their own name, and taking a percentage of the future revenue.

The focus of Oyo Rooms is to improve the quality of Indian hotels, to make visitors feel more satisfied and to help the hotels improve their income.

My Travel Money

How likely is it that two complete strangers would come up with the same business plan on opposite sides of the world, and go on to join forces to create their business?

Unconventional Inspiration - My Travel Money

That’s exactly what happened to Stevan Litobac and Daniel Abrahams when they were travelling around Europe and Australia. They both had the same idea to create a fast and easy way to search for the cheapest travel money and international money transfer deals on the market, just so happened to meet online, and launched, followed by

The sites now attract over 200,000 people per month who are looking for the best deals.

You might also be interested in Women Dominating Travel.