Headline: Fora travel supports and accelerates growth with a rapidly built, robust website from Shift Lab
Business: A new kind of travel agency that empowers travel aficionados to provide travel advisory services
The fast-moving startup had internal systems to manage travel advisors, handle payments and other back-end functions, but they lacked the resources to rapidly create and deploy a fully-functional, well-designed website and content management system (CMS)
The company needed a new website quickly to support their rapid growth
Solution: Fora engaged with Shift
Shift got to work immediately, employing tools such as Vercel, NextJS with Typescript, and ReactJs to create a full-featured website
Deployed Contentful so that Fora could manage website content
Integrated deeply with Google Analytics to track site effectiveness and capture conversions
After engaging Shift, Fora had a robust, beautiful website that provides an excellent CX
The company’s revenue and customer acquisition has accelerated every month since the website was launched
Development was approximately four to six months faster than it would have been had Fora hired internal resources to create the website
Shift provides ongoing maintenance and development, enabling Fora to focus on its core business and systems
Fora Travel is a fast-growing startup that is transforming the travel industry by enabling travel aficionados to become travel advisors, helping other travelers make the most of their experiences to have the best vacations possible, all while getting paid for their expertise. Founded in 2021, the company raised its first round of $13.5 million in venture capital funding in August 2022, and while it had developed internal technology to manage its travel advisors — onboarding, payment, and so on — the website was basic and lacked a content management system.
Specifically, Shift Lab provided a content publishing platform that allows Fora to publish itineraries and advisor content. Additionally, the site includes mechanisms and calls-to-action to allow travelers to easily connect with advisors to book travel, which has a direct impact on revenue -- the more bookings Fora facilitates, the more revenue the company sees. Shift Lab built intuitive mechanisms that enable interested parties to become travel advisors, and the entire site is SEO optimized, with the ability to track its effectiveness in key conversions.
Fora could have used its funding to hire and onboard a web development team, but it would have taken four to six months to recruit, hire and onboard them. Fora couldn’t wait half a year to get started, as the company was already growing fast, and with a public hungry to travel now that the pandemic health restrictions had been lifted, the opportunity was vast. If Fora wanted to keep the rocket ship it was riding on a growth trajectory, the company needed a full-featured website and content management system (CMS) that would provide customers and advisors with an excellent user experience (UX) as soon as possible.
"Shift Lab has been an incredible partner in supporting us to build our website from the ground up. We have worked with them since our earliest days as a company, and they have grown with us as our needs have expanded,” said Jake Peters, Co-Founder and Chief Product & Technology Officer at Fora.
Engaging with Shift Lab
Fora engaged with Shift Lab to develop their website, deploy a CMS and provide ongoing development and maintenance for continuous improvement. Shift put an experienced, dedicated team to work immediately. After conducting strategy sessions to understand Fora’s requirements, Shift provided strategic technology expertise to choose the right components.
Shift used a number of tools and services to build Fora’s website, including:
Vercel: A cloud platform as a service
NextJS with Typscript: A framework for the web that enables creation of full-stack Web applications
Contentful: A headless content management system
Using an Agile development process, Shift delivered ongoing incremental, iterative, working website components so that Fora could provide feedback that would guide further development, ensuring that when the website went live, it would be exactly what Fora wanted.
Rapid time to go-live
Fora’s website went live far faster than it would have if Fora had assembled an internal team. The company can easily manage and add new content through the CMS that Shift deployed and customized. And since the go-live, Fora has continued to accelerate its growth, with higher revenue, more travel advisers and more customers every month. Finally, with Shift providing ongoing maintenance and development, the site continues to improve and Fora can focus its resources on the company’s core business and technology.
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"Shift Lab has been an incredible partner in supporting us to build our website from the ground up. We have worked with them since our earliest days as a company, and they have grown with us as our needs have expanded,” said Jake Peters, Co-Founder and Chief Product & Technology Officer at Fora. “Shift Lab’s team approaches work with a dynamic ethos, allowing us to co-identify solutions for both short- and long-term goals. A nimble team, they plug into our in-house resources seamlessly and help to bring our vision to life. They have a thoughtful approach, and are fun to work with. We appreciate that we have an ever-evolving partnership with them that shifts to fit our fast-paced company’s needs. Shift Lab is a great collaborative partner: their team is smart, talented and kind."