Our story begins almost a decade ago, when
we discovered the power of independent hosts to uplift local communities, as well as the extraordinary challenges independent hosts face.
In November 2015, Evan Tzeng checked into Song of Travel in Inle Lake, Mynamar the first week it opened and met Yin Yin "Fiona" Aung...
Independent hospitality is impactful hospitality.
In November 2015, Evan Tzeng checked into Song of Travel in Inle Lake, Myanmar the first week it opened and met Yin Yin "Fiona" Aung, the incredible entrepreneur who opened Myanmar's first hostel built from the ground-up for backpackers.
Fiona asked Evan to help her setup Song of Travel, and for the next six months, Evan would experience both the transformational power Song of Travel had in supporting the local community, as well as the many extraordinary challenges Fiona and her staff faced every day.
Fiona and Song of Travel would go on to be named The World's Top 10 Medium Hostels in 2018 and Myanmar's Best Hostel in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
Evan started meeting with other independent hospitality entrepreneurs throughout Asia, who all shared similar stories. Not only were they all dealing with the same challenges Fiona had, but everyone felt alone in dealing these challenges.
In October 2019, Evan decided to take the plunge full time & launch a community network for independent hospitality entrepreneurs in Thailand to empower & support each other. In January 2020, he moved to Bangkok, two months before the world shut down.
We know independent hosts have the power to uplift local communities. We also know independent hosts face extraordinary challenges.
How can a global hospitality community support independents?
At the height of the pandemic, our team united 15 hosts from 14 over a dozen countries for a Global Check-In to discuss shared interests & priorities for a virtual community network for independent hospitality entrepreneurs.
Apple, Rai Ruen Rom, Thailand
Bheki, Curiocity, South Africa
Alvaro & Cynthia, Kuka y Naranjo, Mexico
Eric, Star Hostels, Taiwan
Fiona, Song of Travel, Myanmar
Juan Carlos, Andean Lodges, Peru
Katlyn & Paul, The Mushroom Farm Eco-Lodge, Malawi
Keren, Kasaba, Portugal
Lebo & Maria, Lebo's Soweto Backpackers, South Africa
Liz & Jonathan, Losodeli, Mexico
Luca, Omhom, Italy
Marine, Envoy Hostel, Armenia & Georgia
Robin, BUNK Hotels, The Netherlands
Saleem & Minwer, Wanderers Hostel, Jordan
Saskia, Hotel con Corazon, Mexico
How can a global community advance equity & sustainability in hospitality?
In 2021, we united eight independent hospitality entrepreneurs at a Mexico Check-In to discuss how a community network could support independent hospitality entrepreneurs as well as local & sustainable economic development.
In 2022, we sharpened our value proposition, improved our business model, developed a new rewards plan, and began gaining buy-in from our hosts, partners, and teams. Hosts liked how we were better aligned with their interests. Partners and investors did too.
In May, we were the only startup from the United States, one of two hospitality technology startups, and one of two impact startups selected to join Madeira Startup Retreat, a six-week accelerator hosted by Startup Madeira, Turismo de Portugal, and Nova SBE.
In June, we were one of three startups invited to pitch at Independent Lodging Congress in the pre-seed category!
Join us on our journey...
Become a contributor.
Altering hospitality for good is the purpose uniting our global network of contributors.