You know how every time you go to Lebanon, all your friends & relatives send you a “can you get me this?” message ?
On Your Way started out as a peer-to-peer platform…
On Your Way was launched out of exactly this notion : everyday, thousands of people land in Beirut while thousands of Lebanese cannot find the items they’d like to buy from Amazon, Ebay, or any other online store that US & European consumers take for granted.
So we thought about connecting the two ! In our original concept, we’d put travelers and buyers in touch, and let them agree on a fee for transporting the product as well as on the logistics of the meetup. Our role would be to secure the transaction, by providing escrow services and curating the travelers’ and shoppers’ rosters. The idea was to create a safe space for these interactions to happen.
In addition to the financial side of things, we thought it’d even be a cool way for tourists to meet locals, and vice-versa, a bit like in AirBnB’s early days when people rented out the space on their couch.
But it quickly became clear that, as nice as the Lebanese are, few travelers are willing to spend a full day meeting twenty randoms to hand them their order. One or two is fine, more than that becomes a hassle. Which, let’s be fair, makes a lot of sense.
…but we shifted towards doing more in-house
So we figured we wouldn’t be able to go very far with this idea if we didn’t have a seamless traveler experience (pretty smart, right ?) and updated the concept accordingly.
In this version 2.0 of On Your Way, the traveler and the buyer now deal only with On Your Way, not with each other.
This has significantly simplified the experience, for all sides. On Your Way gets to standardize the experience to ensure consistent procedures, level of service and prices. The shopper gets a single point of contact for any questions or concerns.
The traveler saves time and complications both before and during the trip:
- Before the trip, as we now handle all the orders collection process, shopping process (we do the buying ourselves and deliver to the travelers’ home) and communication with the buyer.
- During the trip, as once the traveler lands in Beirut, she doesn’t have to meet with all the buyers to hand them their stuff. Our distribution company comes to her to pick the items up (as well as hand her her cash!) and voilà !
As usual, all items come from recognized online stores such as Amazon or Nike, never from private individuals. To ensure the experience remains as positive as possible for our travelers, we submit them the proposed list of products two weeks in advance. If the traveler doesn’t like any of them, for whatever reason, it is struck down.
This new version is working pretty well : over 300 people have already covered their airfare in part or in full by traveling with us. Typically, we cover 80-90% of the cost of a return trip between the US and Beirut when the traveler gives us 2 full suitcases’ worth of space.
In the process, we’ve collected some pretty sweet user stories : one user told us that her long-distance relationship wouldn’t have worked without us. Another two, who lived in Lebanon, were able to afford visiting their sister in California for the first time.
OK, good for you, but why are you telling me all of this ?
Because we have a new offer : free trips between NY and Lebanon in September, October and November !
The deal is simple : you live in NY and want to go to Lebanon sometime between September 1st and November 30th ? Sign up 2 suitcases with us and we’ll cover the full cost of your return ticket, up to $700 !
Note that it also works if you want your friends & relatives living in Lebanon to come visit you in NY. We’ll just need an address (yours?) in the US to deliver the products to.
TL;DR Want to travel for free between New York and Lebanon ? Hit us up !