Dany Papineau, founder and CEO of WeChalet, on the VatorNews innovation podcast

Steven Loeb · February 23, 2024 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/5812

WeChalet is a platform for travelers to find and book vacation rentals in nature offered by peers

On the VatorNews innovation podcast, Steven Loeb and Bambi Francisco Roizen speak to Dany Papineau, founder and CEO of WeChalet, an online platform for travelers to find and book vacation rentals in nature offered by peers.

Highlights from the call:

  • "Airbnb is an urban-centric platform, and you can't own everything. It's like McDonald's: not everybody loves McDonald's, and there's so many other options to eat burgers, so there's not just Airbnb on the market. I see an opportunity specifically to create an outdoor lodging brand really fully dedicated to nature adventure and that's not Airbnb. It will never be an outdoor brand, it's just not that. So, there's a big opportunity for me that I saw on the market. To my knowledge, after doing short term rentals for five years, no one's done that created the outdoor brand that I want to create on the global market."
  • "Airbnb has become very traveler-centric, and I feel they've abandoned the needs of the hosts at some level. So, our platform is more property manager-centric, giving tools to all the people that list multiple properties to help them with this kind of flow. In Quebec, there are many property managers that either either contact or they come to us; sometimes, when we do marketing for travelers, hosts come to us from an ad on Google for a traveler. All of the sudden they see us and they want to be listed on WeChalet. Without going into the details, we have a full growth plan and we're on the verge of really moving outside of Quebec, going into Canada."
  • "WeChalet has all types of properties in nature. The cheapest stuff we have on WeChalet is a refuge underground, almost a nuclear refuge in the forest. Some people have been renting that, which I was so surprised to see. But we have yurts, we have treehouses, we have domes, we have low-end chalets, which are more rustic, for couples or for small families. And then we have more luxurious stuff, like super high-end properties. The biggest booking we've had so far was $25,000 booking for a high-end chalet in Tremblant."
  • "I started traveling when I was 21 years old in Banff in youth hostels. It'd be amazing to have some cool youth hostels in the Rockies or in British Columbia that would be on WeChalet for students that do want to travel for cheap. And these students, if they like their experience, at some point they enter the work force and they might rent something else on WeChalet at the other level. I want to be able to offer everything that we can on the platform, ultimately."
  • "Patagonia, for me, is a big inspiration. It's a high end brand, it's expensive, but there's people in the city wearing it because they love the brand. So, for me, WeChalets is a brand: it's nature, culture, and adventure. If you look at Quebec, these are these big maple syrup events in the spring, and I know a lot of French people from France come to Quebec to experience this culture. I was just in Mexico recently, and I love to experience the Mayan culture and get to know more about this and go to the Sonata and learn about all the nature culture that these civilizations had in the past. So, for me, nature adventure, culture, adventure is where we want to position ourselves in the market."
  • "Right now we plant one tree per reservation with One Tree Planet; I'd love to get to the level at some point where we could plant 10 trees per reservation. I want to plant back in the areas where we operate right now. One Tree Planted has different programs across Canada, so I've been replanting in Quebec and British Columbia, but as we grow outside of our country, I'd love to be able to give back into areas where we would operate. We're in the middle of the application of becoming a B Corp. It's about sustainability. It's about respect for all the people you deal with, hosts, travelers, and your team, and all your subcontractors."

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