UK adventure company first Curious Kat’s Adventure Club is looking towards China to dig it out of a Brexit hole.
Banking on a tourism boost with the pound so low, it’s imagined as a second string to the company bow, as they consider scaling back their visits abroad and upping their pricing to compensate.
“We have a few ideas to provide a stable income, no matter what happens in the economy. First of all we are are starting to trade with China and work on inbound tourism for Chinese tourists. When the pound is low it’s good for other countries to travel here. This is something we can do, as we have a lot of travel experience. Hopefully whatever happens regarding Brexit, we will be safe because we will have the two revenue streams,” says Director, Kat Wczesniak.
Originally the company was set up as a travel and events business who would organise outbound tours for groups, mainly from London.
The company creates an experience somewhere worldwide and the adventurers book a place then make their own travel arrangements where they will find a jam-packed activity with additional fun planned along the way such as workshops, talks from interesting people or local experiences.
Wczesniak is now hoping to offer a similar package experience of the UK to tourists this year.
She says, “I think that the fact that we provide a variety of things will make it popular, so the main focus is building the community. This is what makes us different.
“When the pound dropped after Britain voted for Brexit in the referendum, we suddenly lost a lot on our margins last year because we had negotiated with suppliers in the local currency before we marketed our events in pounds.”
It was an incredibly worrying time for Wczesniak, the business had previously come runner up in the FSS London Business Awards 2015 but now it looked as though it could be in serious trouble.
She says, “Suddenly the drop of the pound meant that our margins were completely wiped out. So it was a very difficult time for us. I’m going to see what happens next.
“We’ve obviously change the pricing now but that that still doesn’t correct the previous loss and it means the events and the trips look more expensive. Now we’re finding people don’t want to travel as much. So it is a bit tricky.”
The company runs light when it comes to administration, outsourcing to Europe and using virtual offices for staff.
The low overheads provide a home for around 20 staff members, although tourism is very much a seasonal business so a lot of the workers are casual.
Although the company wants to diversify, expansion isn’t on the cards.
Wczesniak tells PoundSterlingLive.com “I wouldn’t invest further in anything until we know where things stand, and I think a lot of businesses in London have the same attitude.
“As even when it comes to things like staff training you can’t really train people because you don’t know where the head offices will be, whether the company will have to move from UK or to another country in Europe.”
With so much of their travel arranged to take place in Europe, a move on the cards to a country with low business rates could be next for Wczesniak if a hard Brexit takes place.
She says, “I’ve heard that Estonia is a great place for businesses, they Estonian’s make it very easy for us in much the same way the UK economy did also, providing knowledge.
“Estonia might be the next place. We will see what happens and we will play it by ear, because if I had to lose all of my European employees that would not really work for us. So let’s see.”
In addition to currency and Brexit, Curious Kat’s Adventure Club has been hard hit by some of the travel atrocities that have felt their way across the world in recent years.
Wczesniak says, “People aren’t traveling as much, they are worried. When we’ve had world occurrences like terrorism we have seen that the demand for travel has fallen and that has really effected us.”
With carnivals in Italy, taste sensations in Morocco and Castle’s in England to explore, the Adventure Club certainly has some great ideas. Tailored to friends who want to have fun together, or for the single traveler who wants to meet more people, it was an idea that captured the spirit of London.
Now it’s up to Wczesniak whether she can convince the tourists, brought to the UK by the week pound, to see what the spirit of the Adventure Club is really about.