Combine text and travel and you get a Greek start-up that is changing the way visitors experience Greek destinations. Marissa Tejada tells us about Butlair.
Greek Start-up: Butlair
There are so many exciting new Greek start-ups! Here’s one called Butlair, that’s changing how visitors experience Greece.
With Greek Start-up Butlair it’s like you have a friend in town to tell you what to see and do. IMAGE: butlair.com
Text and travel for authentic experiences in Greece
For travelers to Greece that don’t have local friends but still want the inside scoop on what’s going on, where to go and what to do… there’s now a solution. Greek start-up Butlair gives expert, local advice and concierge services all via text.
Co-founder Leonidas Kapralos explained.
“Butlair is about travelers spending less time on planning and more time on things that matter most. It is a personal instant message concierge service around Greece. Using it is simple. It is as easy as sending off a text.”
The service connects a traveler with a local. Throughout the day, the traveler can ask – via text – anything needed about a destination. Communication takes place on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat. So there’s no need to download a new app, they simply use apps they already have. Plus, the on-demand service is available 24/7 with instant response that’s provided from a real local person.
“We’ve sent a birthday cake to a beach to celebrate someone’s birthday! It’s can be really personalized.”
Leonidas said he is always thinking of ways to make travel more authentic and finds that Butlair gives travelers peace of mind through real local interaction via text. This includes making the perfect dinner reservations or giving advice about night life options and great things to do around town. That leaves more time to enjoy a delicious brunch somewhere in Athens, to swim at a beach without tourists, to find a club that suits the traveler’s music preferences, to locate the best city tours, and more.
The company’s texting guides not only give their own local insight into the best things to see and do but have access to a constantly updated data base of filtered information, packed with local insights and tips. The cost for a personal Butlair guide starts at 7 euro per day.
Greek Start-up Butlair founders Leonidas Kapralos and Angelina Grammatikaki. IMAGE: butlair.com
Standing apart from the crowd
Leonidas said he got the idea for this Greek start-up as he was traveling around the world and compared his experiences in destinations where he knew someone and destinations where he didn’t know anyone.
“After all the trips that we have made during our lifetime we noticed that the best time we had in a destination was when a friend was living there. Even if we didn’t spend all our time together we chatted with them over WhatsApp to ask them anything we need.”
That’s how the concept for Butlair was born.
“We thought what if every time we traveled we had someone in the destination to help us explore a city through instant messaging.”
Today, Butlair is the only service in the world that offers in destination services to travelers through text messaging with real people.
Greek start-up: launch and moving forward
Leonidas started and continues to run the company with his business partner Angelina Grammatikaki. He said the biggest hurdle was building everything about the company from scratch without any experience and self-funding it too.
“Running a start-up is an ongoing procedure with lots of downs and few ups but we managed to launch Butlair in the summer of 2016 in Athens. Our first customers loved the service and that made us proud and made us work even harder.”
Today, Butlair is available also in Chania, Santorini, and Mykonos. The team has discovered that more and more travelers are finding out about their unique service. They are hopeful that more success is on the way, despite the economic crisis.
“Tourism in Greece is not in crisis. So, yes, there are some difficulties in starting a company here but a lot of people start their own companies and try to make their dreams happen like we are.”
Leonidas would like to see Butlair expand to more destinations around the world.
“We believe that Butlair can shape the future of traveling.”
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