This month, we’re lucky enough to be featured – here’s the interview below or you can find it on the Travel Massive Website here.
Each month we feature inspiring people in our Travel Massive community from around the world who are empowering changing in travel. This month we meet David Shekleton, Travel Massive insider in Melbourne and owner of More Makes Merry.
David helps to make it easier for travellers to find, connect and give to travel related charities, NGO’s, and in turn create greater awareness for travel bloggers, charities and NGOs.
What is your start-up about?
MORE MAKES MERRY about turning the mass tourism market on its head, so rather than mass tourism having a massive effect on the world’s environment’s, cultures and economies, we see that mass tourism can be helpful if everyone has a focus on a positive impact on travel. We want to make it easy through education, awareness, access and ease for travellers to be a little or a lot more philanthropic.
What makes your start-up different from other similar start-ups out there?
Good question, the market is so competitive. There is something for everything. I didn’t set out to create anything new. There are great responsible travel sites and businesses, and they do great jobs. What I didn’t want to create was another charity or an NGO.
The change needs to come from the mainstream. So I believe it’s the bloggers leading the way to get the traffic so that when they go through the purchasing process they are exposed to charities and NGOs in the process. We’re not trying to raise money for my own NGO, or charity, the world doesn’t need another. They’re already too hard to find and too hard to validate and prove outcomes donations for instance).
Is there a unique story of how it came to be?
I think after travelling on and off for long period since I was fifteen, I found myself diving a lot Borneo. Going to and from Malaysia, I started to see visibly the amount of rubbish piling up, floating on the water and sinking to the bottom and I just snapped. I came across Friends in Cambodia, through word of mouth, and saw how easy it was to help out. So the idea came to be to set out and make it as easy for others to find and share their travel charity, NGO or blog.
How is your brand changing the future of the industry or helping to make travel better?
Travelling is only getting bigger, there 1.3 billion travellers every year. We are at a point where we are now experiencing diminishing returns. Moving forward if we take those numbers inversely and think of the positive impact they can have, if everyone gave back just a little then we would be well on our way to creating what will hopefully sustainable tourism. We want travellers to be exposed to more selfless and less trivial travel information before the they get to rationalizing how to spend their money.
We think more travel brands should tap into the online media industry. How do you work with bloggers, vloggers, or the travel industry to amplify your brand?
The ‘more the merrier.’ We’d love to help every travel blogger, charity and NGO out there. The greater the numbers, the more balanced and accessible the information is. At MORE MAKES MERRY, with travel bloggers for instance, we don’t want you to share your content directly on our site, we want bloggers to link a post from our site to theirs. We strongly believe that travel bloggers have the greatest current content and knowledge out there and their content on their websites what will bring the mainstream. We just want to help the mainstream traveller find the content in the first place.
What is the biggest challenge you would like to see resolved or improved in the travel industry?
I would like for people not to just look at the cheapest prices, but also look to see how they can help on their travels. Even if all they do is to buy their insurance, airfares or hotels using an affiliate marketing program (such as the one we have set up we give 100% of the commission from any sale from our site to help charities and NGOs that are not currently on the radar).
How will the way consumers travel change in the future?
They will want to help and give more. I believe they’ll soon realize that the current model doesn’t work and that to ensure there are destinations are worth coming back to, they’ll give back to people who have stayed to love the places we have loved and left.
What is the most important thing during your travels?
Relaxing. Admiring just about everything. Realising you know nothing. I don’t tend to need to do much, and I can just walk around and soak it all in. Of course, meeting people and having fun (making merry) is an imperative. I think living in Honduras on and off for about six months doing my dive master was an amazing experience. You can get island fever. I know I did – trouble and fun works in a cyclical motion.
How do you think we can be better travellers?
I think we can all learn to complain less and be more patient. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, things will go wrong, we need to remember levels of standards differ everywhere you go.
Why do you travel?
It used to be solely for the feeling of freedom and putting myself out there to be open to the uniqueness and randomness of all possibilities, good and bad. Lately, it’s been far more focused on finding, meeting and collaborating with charities and NGO’s to create ways to raise awareness amongst travellers about the ease at which one can be part of the growing responsible travel industry.
Purposeful Traveler is a series that profiles inspiring people or projects making a purposeful change to the way we travel. You can connect with David on Travel Massive, Facebook or Twitter. If you know of a Purposeful Traveler who should be featured, email us.