Nicolas Dupont

Vaolo

Nicolas Dupont

Vaolo

The ongoing challenges that are affecting the tourism industry include over-tourism, sustainability concerns, and changing consumer preferences. Over-tourism, where popular destinations become overcrowded and negatively impacted by tourism, is becoming an increasing concern for many destinations. Sustainability concerns around the environmental and social impact of tourism are also growing, leading to increased demand for eco-friendly and responsible tourism practices. Thereby, to address these issues in particular, and with a mission to inspire change through travel and human connections – Vaolo was founded. Vaolo also works towards democratizing off-the-beaten path travel by building a credible global inventory to create dignified wealth for local communities via a sustainable economic engine, meant to help the ones that are not in touristic centers of mass.

 

But, it’s evident that with every wonderful idea comes an array of issues, and the biggest issue pertaining to a company such as Vaolo is the cost of acquisition of the inventory which is usually higher than other e-travel platforms. This is where Nicolas Dupont comes in as the CFO of Vaolo, who carries the immense responsibility of managing the company’s financial operations on his shoulders, ensuring financial stability, and supporting growth initiatives.

Journey at Vaolo

As the CFO of Vaolo, Nicolas Dupont ensures that all the lodges and activities in Vaolo’s inventory have undergone a rigorous 15-point evaluation process and have received certification and labeling. This evaluation chart was developed in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the team of Vaolo is proud to have been recognized as one of the top 5 emerging tech companies by UNWTO in 2021. “Our focus is on promoting eco-friendliness, supporting local communities’ economic growth, and ensuring an authentic experience for our customers”, shares – Nicolas Dupont. And when Nicolas was asked how as the CFO him and his team evaluate financial stability, he added – “Mostly the classic ecommerce funnel but also the growth of the quality inventory and the uniqueness of it (towards other platforms). We also make sure to do good curation to ensure that it’s great”.

 

Moreover, to address the increased cost factor across the hotels, lodges and homestays, Nicolas and his team decided to innovate and put in place an explorer program.  Essentially, explorers are super-travelers. Vaolo teaches them their label and organizes big academies throughout the world to find and train them. After that, explorers travel, find lodges and activities, do the onboarding and promote their findings on their social media. We have kickback incentives so that they help us with commercialization. The goal is to lower the CAC (cost of acquisition of clients) so that, eventually, Vaolo beats the traditional digital marketing ones.

 

Also, to provide reassurance to their clients, Vaolo conducts thorough checks of the lodges and activities by sending an explorer to visit beforehand. This ensures that everything is legitimate and trustworthy. However, when it comes to the hosts, Vaolo only facilitates a connection with the traveler, and it is the hosts’ responsibility to ensure their own safety and security. In terms of financial arrangements, personally Nicolas and team collects fees from the traveler if they cancel their reservation within 7 days of the scheduled arrival date.

 

Additionally, Vaolo promotes slow travel on a large scale, seeking discounts for additional nights with the lodges. Also, Vaolo writes blog articles and is very present in the sustainable travel practices’ space in Europe. Finally, the company is also very present in Colleges and Universities that offer tourism training.

Going Down the Lane

When we asked Nicolas about plans Vaolo has on the cards and the stuff it looks forward to achieving in the years to come, he shared – “Our primary focus is to ramp up our inventory and boost traffic to our platform as we commence commercialization. We are operating in an untapped market that presents ample opportunities for us to quickly capture market share”. He continued – “Unlike the big three players in our industry (AirBnb, Expedia, and Booking), whose inventories are already saturated, we have the advantage of being able to expand into unexplored territories to sustain our growth”.

On a Personal Level

Nicolas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Administration (BAA), a second degree in Accounting, and a CPA (originally CA) designation. In addition, Nicolas has completed several leadership and governance courses, and is an active member of the Young CPA Leaders of Quebec community. He also invests himself in philanthropy as a volunteer and boards’ member. Outside of work, Nicolas is happily married with two children and enjoys spending most of his free time biking and being with family and friends. Nicolas believes in integrating work with personal life rather than trying to maintain a strict balance between the two. “When one is passionate about what they do and aligned with their company’s mission and values, work doesn’t feel like work, and home doesn’t feel like a separate entity”, Nicolas concludes.

Company
Vaolo

 

Management

Nicolas Dupont
Chief Financial Officer

 

Description

Vaolo seeks to inspire change through travel and encounter, thanks to its global library of off-the-beaten-track travel experiences, on a human scale and positive impacts. To do this, Vaolo equips, connects, trains and educates its community of explorers, travelers and hosts who are all seeking to commit to doing a little better. Already in 71 countries, the company has built thanks to its community of 150,000 explorers and conscious travelers.

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