Why I Chose to Move to CPO, and Recruit WeTravel’s Newest CEO

January 4, 2023
Johannes Koeppel (he/him)
2 min read

To our clients:

Many years ago, like many of you, I was organizing small-group trips from a remote office in Central Asia. As a trip organizer, I had a passion for connecting travelers with the local communities my employer was supporting; however, I was often faced with long, frustrating days as I manually collected and logged—often on paper—traveler information and relied on (snail!)mail to send trip itineraries and transact payments.

During the long hours spent on the mundane administrative tasks, I grappled with a solution that would absolve the friction of managing trips—from the booking process to the payment collection and payout options—to help operators of all sizes, in all locations with faster, smoother day-to-day operations.

Only a few years later, after moving to Silicon Valley to complete my MBA, WeTravel moved from the thought in my head, as a disgruntled organizer, to its initial platform. As I write this letter, I know some of you who’re reading were our first clients, from 2016. Six years later, it’s surreal to reflect on the platform’s evolution.

As Co-Founder and CEO, I’ve overseen the growth of a platform that manages the daily operational functions for thousands of travel businesses, who interact with half-a-million travelers: From daily management capabilities, automated marketing and lead generation tools, instant payment and payout options. We’ve hit consecutive, two-year double-digit client and transaction volume growth; we’re on-track to transact more than $1 billion USD in 2023.

As we grow our client base, we know the platform must actively listen and respond to the individualized needs of many operators. As someone who dedicated his life to the platform and its mission to make operating a travel company possible for all, I always said when the business grew mature enough that I could step back into a product-obsessed, client-oriented role – I would do so. Now, the time has come.  

Effective today, I’ll move from CEO into my dream role, and a new role within the business: WeTravel’s Chief Product Officer. As such, alongside my Co-Founders, we’ve brought in Ted Clements, FareHarbor’s former COO and acting CEO, to assume the CEO role. Under Ted’s management, FareHarbor grew to 20,000+ clients with more than 700 employees. We firmly believe his strong, travel-specific sales and customer centric approach makes him the perfect addition to our c-suite; he will help ensure that our focus remains on our clients, we will continue to work hard every day to solve the complex challenges of group travel for organizers around the world.

Ted Clements (he/him), WeTravel’s CEO.

Thank you, clients, for being loyal to our platform, for allowing WeTravel to be part of your daily operations. It has been my pleasure to work alongside you to develop a platform that works for everyone; I look forward to continuing to dream and build a platform that works for you – at all times.

Best,

Johannes Koeppel (he/him)
WeTravel’s CPO