Jun 5, 2024

The Guiding Principles: Steering GetYourGuide Forward

Johannes Reck
CEO and Co-Founder

As we celebrate our 15 year anniversary at GetYourGuide, we're looking back at our achievements and forging ahead with new goals. You could play a crucial role in this adventure. Our mission is to connect travelers with unforgettable experiences, and we do this by embracing innovation and valuing the unique insights each team member brings.

For those considering joining our team, I invite you to delve into the insights from my speech at our recent Summit Week. It's a window into our culture, laying out our path and the exciting road ahead. You'll find our story, achievements, and the principles that guide us — principles I hope resonate with you.


Humble Beginnings

We’ve now been connecting the world with unforgettable travel experiences for a decade and a half. It’s been the adventure of a lifetime, and it’s just getting started. Mark my words: What comes next will be more challenging, rewarding, and fun than anything we’ve experienced so far.

Reflecting on our humble beginnings, it's remarkable to consider where the journey started. When my co-founders and I started GetYourGuide 15 years ago, straight out of school, we found ourselves at the starting line of a category on the cusp of creation. We had enthusiasm in spades but were novices at building a company. And as for me being CEO, let's just say I was assembling the role like the bookcases of our first office—figuring it out piece by piece, with a few laughs along the way.

What we lacked in business acumen, we made up for with a bold vision and raw enthusiasm, fueled by a memorable trip to Beijing with Tao. That adventure laid the foundation for our belief that the future of travel would be guided. We were excited to start something new, had nothing to lose, and were all in it together as friends, which really pushed us forward. This energy became the cornerstone of our company.

Fast forward 15 years, and we've transformed from a high-risk startup to a category-defining leader:

  • The first tours Tao and I conducted, which now seem so modest, laid the groundwork for a platform that today boasts over 140,000 unique experiences from more than 25,000 partners worldwide.
  • My mother made the first three bookings; now, that figure has exploded to over 150 million.
  • What began as a group of five students with a shared dream has grown into a diverse and robust team of over 800 members.

I'm incredibly proud of everything we've achieved together. And even as we've grown, I'm still focused on our future goals and the path to reach them.

But here’s one thing that hasn’t changed in 15 years: My eye is still on our destination, and my mind is on how we get there. Let's explore the exciting future ahead for GetYourGuide and the team that will bring it to life.

I see us leading a new wave of guided travel, grounded in three key areas where we have a Right to Guide.

Transforming Travelers into Explorers

First, we have the Right To Guide travelers to experience their passions in real life.

Meet Bevlin and Nate. Their trips aren’t just about ticking off destinations; they’re about immersing themselves in experiences that define who they are. And as they planned their first trips together, they discovered GetYourGuide as the best way to make the most of the places they go.

We’ve since guided Bevlin and Nate on many adventures together all over the world. We’ve helped make sure their trips have been time well-spent; but more importantly, we’ve helped them deepen their connection with one another through their shared love of nature. Their GetYourGuide story is unique, but now, it’s one of millions.

Empowering Local Entrepreneurs to Thrive

We also have the Right to Guide experience creators to make a living doing what they love.

I want you to meet Puchong, the creative entrepreneur behind BigCountry Experience in Bangkok. The story of our partnership with Puchong is one of resilience and innovation. When he started, his offerings were limited, but Puchong is all about maximizing his potential. He decided to broaden his scope, and embrace new opportunities to reach diverse audiences. He started coming to us for guidance on how to grow. We showed him how to optimize the products he had with smart steps like reducing his cutoff times.

Puchong's business is flourishing thanks to his innovative approach to connecting travelers with unique experiences in nature, history, and culture. From the Michelin Guide Street Food by TukTuk to Floating Market and Holy Tattoo Experiences, his creative products have achieved excellent business results. In 2023, he gained over 11,000 reviews with an average score of 4.6. Puchong is a true example of an entrepreneurial mindset, creating multiple jobs and driving significant success.

Cultivating a Human Connection

Finally, we all have the right to guide each other toward ever-stronger collaboration and connection.

Let me tell you how this ritual we call Summit Week has evolved. Over a decade ago, it was a simple summer gathering in a park somewhere behind our old office, with a slippery slide and beers. Now, our Summit is an extravaganza with 800 of us coming together from all around the world in the spirit of building bridges.

It’s a more time-consuming affair than a party in a park, but time spent toward investing in how we work together is always time well spent in my book.

New Guiding Principles

We have the Right to Guide on these fronts, but it's up to each of us to commit to this journey.

In the early days, our raw ambition powered our commitment. As our culture matured, we structured the beliefs we shared into our Values, which remain the bedrock of our company.

But from here on out, we need a more precise navigation tool to guide our team’s way forward – a map for our culture that keeps us on track.

I’ve been drawing just such a map, and I’m excited to show it to you today. They’re called our Guiding Principles.

  • We act customer-first, not me-first. We put long-term commitment to our customers before short-term gain. We give each other trust upfront and maintain it with ownership and accountability.
  • We use curiosity as our compass. Our customers’ needs guide us on each and every journey. We serve them with an open mind, and intend to understand before being understood. 
  • We aim high and follow through. We lead by example and drive what we own with focus and a can-do attitude. We set ambitious goals, celebrate bold choices, and empower each other to achieve excellence. 
  • We navigate with agility. We move at speed, adapt on the fly, and turn curveballs into wins. Our optimism and flexibility keep our competitive edge sharp. 
  • We choose growth over comfort. We embrace challenges and change as opportunities for personal growth. We develop by stepping outside our comfort zone and turning uncertainty into clarity. 
  • We build bridges, not islands. We value effective collaboration to achieve our goals. We don’t build empires; we forge strong bonds and get the right minds involved at the right time to align our efforts. 

Our principles aren't just for show. They'll be woven into everything we do, from hiring, through onboarding to performance reviews, and people management. They'll shape our decisions and actions every day.

And it's not just the leadership who will live by these standards; it's all of us.

We're all guardians of our principles, just as we’re the co-creators of our success.

If you're inspired to be a part of this journey and wish to contribute as a co-creator of our success, we encourage you to explore our open positions. Check out our open positions now and become a part of our story.


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