There is no doubt that traveling is good for our happiness. Going on vacation keeps a smile on our face, before, during and long after departure. In addition, the benefits, and the memories, that we get from traveling are numerous.
Traveling changes you in many ways. Breaking away from our routine life, going into the unknown, exploring destinations, the beauty of nature, meeting new people… instantly eliminates our worries and stress from home and work. And this can be achieved with platforms such as Civitatis, the leading technological platform in the sale of excursions and guided tours in Spanish throughout the world , with 70,000 activities in more than 3,000 destinations and in 2022 it hopes to fill the trip of more than 7 million Of customers.
Alberto Gutiérrez Pascual (39), its CEO, a native of Valladolid, is a businessman who has traveled to more than 70 countries and who, since the dawn of the Internet, has dedicated himself to the creation of tourist portals until he achieved success with Civitatis , a personal project that was born in 2008 and that today has become the leading platform for the sale of activities and excursions in Spanish throughout the world.
Today more than ever, people want to travel again, something that has become a basic social need, what does Civitatis offer in this regard?
We offer everything that is needed to fill a trip, which in the end is the most important thing. Finding a flight that is a bargain or sleeping in an elegant hotel is very good, yes, but what prevails forever in the memory are the experiences lived in the destination. And that is what we offer at Civitatis: guided tours, excursions, boat or balloon rides, tickets for monuments, tourist cards… And all this with the differential value of doing it in Spanish.
Will there be changes in the way we travel when we get back to full normality?
Normality is already total! This is shown by the internal data of Civitatis or the tourist trends, but also the general feeling in the streets. However, in response to your question, I believe that small changes have been made that only benefit our platform: reservations are made online in advance, maximum capacity quotas are pending, etc. When it comes to destinations or interests, it has become clear that people want to continue walking around Manhattan, getting to know the Roman Colosseum or entering Petra.
The tourist demands more experiences. Will it evolve further from now on?
That tourists demand more experiences is something we constantly see, both in surveys and in the feedback we receive from our customers. And, if we talk about experiences, we talk about Civitatis, so we can say that it is part of the reason for the success. What is clear is that, as far as experiences are concerned, we will always be aware of what our clients need to meet their needs, just as we have done so far.
What are you most proud of?
It makes me deeply proud to see where Civitatis has come. We are the leading company in the sale of tourist activities in Spanish throughout the world, we have two hundred people on staff, we work with more than three thousand suppliers around the world… On Good Friday, for example, almost 50,000 people enjoyed one of our activities. This makes me feel very proud, but what really fills me with pride is what is to come. The past and present are magnificent, but the future that awaits Civitatis is sublime.
What is the key to your success?
Specialize in what we do, and give the best. We have never wanted to get involved in offering flights, hotels, for which there are already other very good platforms. We offer tourist activities in destination and in Spanish. Our clients already know us and what we do, they will never find unpleasant surprises, and that is why they are loyal to us. And they help us expand the brand through word of mouth, one of the most important advertisements and the one that works best for us.
What does it mean for the Vitruvian Partners fund to enter Civitatis?
If it brought in an investor, it had to be the best, the one that could help us the most to take Civitatis to the next level. Vitruvian Partners is one of the leading international private equity funds focused on high-growth companies with an incredible track record of success supporting leading global technology platforms. In 2021 they took 6 companies public in the US. and Europe, they were also the leading fund for profitability at European level and 4th worldwide, according to the HEC-DowJones ranking.
Among his previous investments are companies such as Skyscanner, Just Eat, Farfetch, Wise or Ebury. None of our successes to date would have been achieved without the great work of the entire Civitatis team, our thousands of local partners and operators, and the millions of tourists who enjoy discovering new experiences on our platform, but we needed an extra push to accelerate our international growth, and in this way we are going to achieve it.
What are the steps at the international level?
With this capital inflow we are going to accelerate our international expansion strategy with the best resources and talent. Not only financial support is important, given that Civitatis has always been a profitable and self-sufficient company, but also Vitruvian’s experience to help us achieve our goals as quickly and efficiently as possible. The objective is to achieve in Latin America, France and Italy what we have achieved in Spain: to be a leading company in booking tourist activities. We want any traveler in these markets to be as proud to book any of Civitatis’ 70,000 activities as are the 12 million satisfied travelers who have booked activities on Civitatis since its founding.
What destinations are people looking for now?
The most booked destinations so far in June are Rome, Paris and New York. Nothing new, but nothing strange either: they are top, and our activities there are up to par.
Do you think we will be able to travel like before the pandemic?
Fortunately, we are already doing it, with very few exceptions such as China or Japan, which we trust will soon return to the normality that we are already experiencing in the rest of the world.
What are your most requested activities?
In general, guided tours, day trips and, increasingly, free tours. If you ask about the best sellers to date, we can say that our top 3 are the contrasts tour of New York, the guided tour of the Vatican Museums and the guided tour of the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine.
What novelties will you include in your portfolio in the short term?
Our portfolio is constantly growing, week after week. If the pandemic has brought us something good, it is that we have also managed to increase the catalog of our activities in secondary destinations, reinforcing ourselves as the best option for all those who want to do local or national tourism. In this sense, at Civitatis we already offer more than 70,000 activities in more than 3,200 destinations around the world, distributed in more than 150 countries. And we are not satisfied, we want to be present in every corner of the Earth where there is something tourist to offer. We accept the challenge!