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BECAUSE MEETUPS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FUN AND PRODUCTIVE, NOT A BIANNUAL TIME DRAIN

De-stressing Company Retreats for a Remote Team

Industry

Tech

Employees

70

Headquarters

Sliema, Malta

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70% reduction in administrative time

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70 travelers

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2 company meetups per year

Hotjar rules in conversions and customer listening

Hotjar is a feedback and behavior tool that helps product and marketing teams improve user experiences with conversion funnels, heatmaps, user testing, feedback polls and more. Founded in 2014 in Sliema, Malta, Hotjar’s 70+ team members work remotely from home offices and coworking spaces around the world.

For our biannual company-wide meetups, my colleague and I used to book all of the travel. For a team of 20, it would take us 2-3 days working together. As we’ve grown to a team of 70 people, to do it that way now would be almost impossible.
Melissa Mauk
Melissa Mauk
Finance Manager at Hotjar

Using back-and-forth emails to book company-wide meetups

As a distributed team, Hotjar understands the importance of building company culture and getting together in person. “For our biannual company-wide meetups, my colleague and I used to book all of the travel,” explains Melissa Mauk, Finance Manager at Hotjar. “For a team of 20, it would take us 2-3 days working together—so that’s one full week combined.”

It was not a simple process. Unlike most company retreats where people are traveling from one or two offices, the Hotjar’s team travels from the East and West coasts of the United States and Canada, several major cities in Europe, and sometimes parts of Asia.

Melissa and her colleague had to endure countless back and forth email threads with every team member to present their options and finalize the details, everything from departure city through to ground transportation. “As we’ve grown to a team of 70 people, to do it that way now would be almost impossible,” Melissa says.

“For our biannual company-wide meetups, my colleague and I used to book all of the travel. For a team of 20, it would take us 2-3 days working together. As we’ve grown to a team of 70 people, to do it that way now would be almost impossible,” - Melissa Mauk, Finance Manager at Hotjar

Bad booking experience with a travel agency

As the company grew, the biannual booking process became even more of a headache. The team tried working with a local travel agency, but they were ultimately disappointed.

“The travel management company had their own website so people could try to book their own flights, but it was buggy and didn’t show all of the flight options we could find by ourselves online. Team members still had to go back and forth a lot with the agency to book,” explains Melissa.

Unlike other at other companies, adhering to the travel policy was never an issue for the Hotjar team. “Our travel policy had very basic instructions, such as spending this amount per night on a hotel, not buying first class, things like that. We never struggled with the amount spent on travel,” says Melissa. “Our main frustration was always the booking process.”

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Moving to a modern travel management tool

Is it right that a team committed to improving user experiences should hate their booking experience? No, definitely not. One of Hotjar’s founders heard of TravelPerk the old fashioned way, word of mouth and passed their insights along to Melissa, who played around with the platform herself before rolling it out to the team.

“Our team loves using TravelPerk,” says Melissa. “It’s a much easier, more user-friendly experience. They don’t have to go back and forth with the agency or with operations.”

Our team loves using TravelPerk. It’s a much easier, more user-friendly experience. They don’t have to go back and forth with the agency or with operations.

Empowering the team to book what they need

Now, when there’s an upcoming company-wide meetup, Melissa posts on the internal company forum with general booking instructions, including the time and date team members need to be present by, the airports nearby, etc. Melissa gives them a time window to book their flights (typically within one month from the forum post), and then team members book on TravelPerk, without having to pay upfront.

“Everybody having the ability to book whatever flight they need is important to us,” says Melissa. “We want to empower the team to do what’s best for them.”

Using TravelPerk for company-wide meetups has a lot of benefits for Hotjar. The people traveling the farthest distances are able to customize their trip to their preferences. “The last meetup was in Tenerife which was hard for some people to get to. Team members now have more control over their layovers, which they really appreciate,” Melissa says. “We had a couple people from Canada or the US who were traveling 20 hours total and had 8 or 12 hour layovers. They could use TravelPerk to book a hotel room on their way.

We want to empower the team to do what’s best for them. Team members now have more control over their layovers, which they really appreciate.

Managing travel details and streamlining invoices

Not only does Melissa save time and enable travelers to pick what they want, but she can also track who has and hasn’t booked simply by logging in to the platform. This helps her send reminders to the right people. Also, having all travel in one place makes it really easy for Melissa to organize ground transportation based on arrival times. “I can see everyone who had booked and all of their arrival times so I could start planning for transportation based on when they landed,” says Melissa.

Solving the booking experience was number one. The added bonus? Invoicing! “TravelPerk is also really great for me as the finance person because I get one invoice at the end of the month to process,” says Melissa. We totally get it. It’s the simple things in life.

TravelPerk is also really great for me as the finance person because I get one invoice at the end of the month.

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