We're living in an experience economy. What you do is more important than what you have. Now, more than ever, we have an array of services trying to lure us with their experiences. So how do you stand out in this torrent and create a strong, scalable business? Velocity Black are experience connoisseurs who have delivered over 45,000 experiences to its members. After a joining and an annual fee, members are served up a list of exciting, exclusive experiences through its app; like swimming with orca whales, flying to the edge of space or a private dinner inside a pyramid. On average, members open the app 3 times a day, book 40 times a year and spend over $2500 per transaction. With traction like this, it's no surprise that Velocity Black grew its revenue by 1000% in the last year alone. Here are their key lessons on how it's done.
Be Clear On Your Mission & Consumer
Velocity Black is on a mission to connect people over memorable experiences; and they are of the firm belief that these connections should happen outside of your home. They see a world in which businesses are trying to get people to stay in (think Netflix and Uber Eats); and swim strongly against this cultural tide. They identified the opportunity to create a service that made it easy for members to actually step out and experience life; with the people that matter most to them. After all, if you spend your weekend well, you feel a sense of triumph going into the working week.
Velocity Black know they are for high net worth individuals; they are successful, they are busy and they have money to spend. What they lack is time. CEO Zia Yusuf points out, "People are so time crunched that they don't think about their weekend until it's right upon them, particularly as one gets more successful". This deep knowledge of their consumer, combined with clarity around their purpose (to make astounding experiences easy) is critical. Their mission guides all the decisions the company makes: from what experiences to offer, to who they hire, to how they engage with members, and how they expand their business. This clarity around why their business matters is critical to success.
Reduce Decision Making
Everyday we have decisions to make, from the mundane to the meaningful. The sheer number of decisions, as well as the amount of choice attached to each, is overwhelming. Add to that the increasing scarcity of time and it's a recipe for decision fatigue. Velocity Black know this and offer their members fewer, strong choices. Yusuf says, "It's about less choice, but confidence in the choices you make". When working directly with members, Velocity Black make a point to never send their members more than three options. Additionally, the app streamlines decision making by presenting members with a few, tailored options each day. Members aren't overwhelmed by choice (think Tinder or Deliveroo); and as a result, open the app daily for a quick hit of inspiration.
Overcommit to Service
Killer service is all part of their experience. When members are accepted, they meet with a Velocity Black team member who garner critical information in order to build experiences that speak to the individual. They cover off basics like frequent flyer information, as well as more intimate details like dietary requirements, and even include key milestones and occasions like anniversaries and birthdays. All this information is used to help create a seamless experience for members: if your partner is vegan, you'll never have to repeat that information or be sent to a restaurant that lacks suitable options. Critically, they will also pro-actively suggest experiences to accommodate key milestones, which have allowed the business to expand naturally into gifting. In a world of generic e-cards, a personalized experience stands out as a thoughtful gift. Service continues throughout the member experience, with the median response time to member enquiries at a rapid 50 seconds.
Balance Human Touch With Machine Learning
To deliver exceptional experiences, Velocity Black use humans to curate and create the experiences. They then use machine learning to help tailor experiences to you, based on your preferences and data they glean from members who have already enjoyed the experience. Such machine learning helps to provide context; which is key to providing an ideal experience. As Yusuf points out, 'It's not about the best safari, it's about the best safari to take my mum on'. Additionally, predictive data allows them to see patterns in what their members are asking for and what's working well. This allows them to deploy capital and take on inventory, like concert tickets, for members. These sorts of calculated risks means they can meet demand; and use data to think ahead. All members have to do is say yes. The investment in technology is significant; 36% of payroll goes to engineers and have invested $14 million into AI software.