by Hugh Morris, The Telegraph, November 9, 2018
A holiday subscription service that organises its customers three trips a year for 12 £50 monthly payments says it will take the hassle out of travel - but you won’t know where you are going.
BRB (text speak for “be right back”) promises those who sign up they will always have a getaway to look forward to, without having to book flights and hotels or even choose a destination.
After committing to the payments, guests select the date of travel and the type of trip they want - categories include beach, culture and “#4theGram” - opt out of any unwanted destinations and state whether travelling alone or as a couple. Customers then find out the details of their trip to one of 50 European destinations, including Vienna, Venice and Valencia, a month before travel.
As soon as one trip is over, planning begins for the next.
BRB only launched in March, its founders Greg and Alex inspired by a desire to make travel “as easy as having a gym membership”.
The payment scheme works out at £199.99 per person per trip, with BRB promising a three-star minimum for accommodation, and claims there will be no hostels, even for solo travellers.
All trips are Atol protected while flights are currently only available from London airports. BRB says it has a relationship with EasyJet, which operates predominantly out of Stansted, Gatwick and Luton.
Customers travelling as a pair save £5 a month with the per person cost £45 rather than £50, while travellers are able to “add a friend” with one-off fees. There are also options to store up trips to, say, take six in a year, or cancel after a trip as long as all travel has been paid for.
“To this day, we don’t know who said it, but ‘I want to get off the plane and immediately book my next trip’ sparked the idea for a new year to experience travel in Europe,” founders Greg and Alex said.
The concept of spreading the cost of a trip across a series of payments is not new - there are companies that allow travellers to pay for flights in instalments - but the idea of a travel subscription service is certainly novel.
While £200 per person for one trip might seem reasonable, there is no doubt that a savvy traveller could find flights and a hotel for cheaper, and retain control over where they go.
The idea of sending guests to mystery destinations is also one that has been tested in recent years. Srprs.me is perhaps the best-known operator, sending travellers to a destination only revealed to them less than a week before departure.
“It turns out that leaving things to chance can yield greater rewards than a holiday planned to the hilt,” wrote Emma Thomson, after a surprise trip in March of this year .
“Relinquishing control removes the pressure of making a wrong choice regarding hotel or destination and that, in turn, hands out a refreshing dose of freedom. I’d been worried that by throwing convention out of the window and arriving without a list of things to see and do I would wander aimlessly, but the enforced spontaneity opened up experiences I might not otherwise have tried. Planning things on the hoof had been invigorating. Would I do it again? Without a doubt.”