Stasher, a luggage storage service startup, connects you with local shops and hotels that can keep your luggage safe while you enjoy your time in a city. Founded in 2015, the company was the first luggage storage platform of its kind. Today, Stasher’s expansion has taken the brand all over Europe, and into North America, Australia, and Asia. In this interview for MarkUpgrade, Jacob Wedderburn-Day, CEO of Stasher, talks about creating a concept that uses an online platform to store luggage in hotels and local businesses, the origin of the brand name, how did he get the exact brand match domain Stasher.com.
Jacob, can you tell us more about Stasher? When did you have the spark where you said, “Wow, this is something we should really work on?”
So Stasher is the world’s first sharing economy solution for luggage storage. What that means is we were the first company to create a concept that uses an online platform to store luggage in hotels and local businesses. In short, we offer a convenient way for travelers and day-trippers to store their bags in hotels and shops worldwide. It’s a really simple idea that has revolutionised travel, giving tourists, event-attendees and hotel/ Airbnb guests around the world, freedom from luggage when they need it. It was actually Anthony, my co-founder and old roommate who had the lightbulb moment. He was asked by a friend to store his luggage at his home in London near King’s Cross station. Anthony joked, “Sure, but I’m charging you for it” and the founding words of Stasher had been uttered. We’d always talked about going into business together — we both liked the idea of running our own company — and now we had an idea to really throw our energy into.
What was the process of picking a brand name like?
The process of picking a brand name was fairly simple for us — we wanted something fun and snappy which really captured what we do.
Now ‘Luggage storage’ seems pretty dull and boring, so we thought we’d summarise the gesture of what we’re enabling our customers to do to make us seem more appealing. That’s where ‘Stasher’ came in, and if you add our target locations i.e. cities that’s how we initially decided on the name ‘CityStasher’.
Your brand made a huge improvement when you upgraded your domain name from CityStasher.co.uk and CityStasher.com to the exact brand match Stasher.com. How did you come to select the name and why has that been so important to your business?
Thanks, the evolution of our brand name really came with our business maturing and the brand moving across international borders. ‘CityStasher’ became ‘Stasher’ and this was a very important step to become a global business, as a shorter and snappier brand name is far simpler to pronounce in the majority of countries we now operate in (over 6 continents). Not to mention, Stasher is certainly less of a tongue twister, and easier to type as a domain name. It certainly was a good reflection of how we became more focused, streamlined and mature as a business at the time of the re-brand.
What were the downsides of using your previous domain names?
As I mentioned earlier, CityStasher was a bit of a tongue twister and we found localisation fairly difficult as ‘CityStasher’ didn’t make a lot of sense in other languages. Stasher is a pretty simple and renowned word, so it’s helped a lot with marketing + sales, and people recognising who we are. CityStasher restricted us to association with just cities, whereas our global expansion has seen us operate outside of cities, and our scalable model gives us the opportunity to launch anywhere there is an Airbnb (within reason).
What benefits has Stasher experienced from investing in Stasher.com?
We’ve seen huge growth internationally, the new domain reflects how we’ve become a global business and this is shown through our increase to over 1200 locations 250+ cities and a presence across 6 continents. Over the past 2 years, we’ve seen our website traffic increase by 1000%, of course, this is not all down to the change in the name, but it’s certainly an easier brand to communicate.
How important is the presence of your brand online?
This is a nice and easy one, it’s imperative. As an online platform, we simply couldn’t function without an online presence.
Are you currently working with travel agencies? If not, are you projecting to do it?
Not at the moment — the travel ecosystem is a very tight nit so I wouldn’t write it off and we are always open to setting up referral partnerships with anyone working in travel. We’ve so far been very focused on partnering with vacation rental management companies, OTAs and travel blogs/guides.
How do you ensure that your potential customers trust your brand?
It’s a good question — we’ve prioritised building a service that generates trust here at Stasher. There’s a number of ways to do this, but I personally feel the most important are: — Partnering with bigger brands (so far we’ve Last year, Stasher partnered with the likes of Klook, Sonder, Marriott, and Hotels.com and quality brands such as Premier Inn, Expedia, Holiday Express, OYO, and Accor) — Having a security protocol (we model our security protocol on a hotel check-in, use Stripe’s radar software to fraud-check payments and we have insurance powered by the excellent Guardhog) — Real reviews you can trust (we currently have a 4.8/5 from 19,000+ reviews on Feefo) — Having an efficient customer service system in place (It isn’t just the quality of customer support, it’s the speed. Chatbots can seem like a saving grace in terms of providing instant responses to queries, but to customers experiencing a problem they are the antithesis of personal, caring service).
What would be your advice to entrepreneurs who are wondering whether to invest in the perfect domain match for their brand?
A domain name is key for a number of different reasons. Firstly, it’s how your customers and partners find you, if you’ve got a complicated lengthy domain name you simply won’t generate the website traffic you deserve. Secondly, it saves a lot of hassle if you get it right the first time and finally it helps significantly for consistency if your brand name is the same across all platforms i.e. domain, social, sales and marketing.
What’s next for Stasher, What is it that you spend most of your time working on lately?
As a travel platform with an obvious global network effect, we always aimed to build a global platform. Being already present across Europe, the US and Asia proves there is a demand for our services worldwide, and it’s a case of rinsing and repeating in more cities. So looking forward a lot our time will be spent on advancing our relationships with hosts and improving customer service which will enable us to maintain the position of the market leader and most trusted brand in the industry. We can always bring more people onto both sides of our platform!
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