New digital ventures ahead?

New digital ventures ahead?
SparkOptimus TeamHidde van Manen
Written by
Hidde van Manen
The SparkOptimus Blog Team
December 11, 2018

Reflecting on 2018, the first thing I think of are, of course, the cool client projects I worked on. Hely (NS’s new digital venture) stood out for me in particular. The project involved doing what we at SparkOptimus do best: hands-on and shoulder to shoulder with the client, helping the team move from nothing more than an idea towards a real running digital business, whilst monitoring progress and results at the same time. For me, 2018 was also the year of SparkSocial’s big launch: a new initiative for sharing digital knowledge and expertise with social enterprises. It’s wonderful to witness the impact we can have together with partner such as Association Montessori Internationale, SOS Kinderdorpen and most recently, JustDiggit. Watch this space in 2019!

Speaking of 2019; I will be taking a sabbatical in Q1, which I shall spend in New Zealand. No doubt it will be an unforgettable trip and… I also know already what I’ll be doing when I’m back at SparkOptimus in Q2: starting a venture in campervans (team members have already been staffed?)

Because…. how hard can it be to hire a campervan for New Zealand?! Seriously, you’d think we were in the early noughties. It’s in times like these that you realize what a blessing is. It was a nightmarishly time-consuming task. (I think it took up almost two months of my life.) The roadblocks I faced:

  • Lack of a single over-arching, reliable platform with the complete offering.
  • No ‘book now’ option, only ‘request quote’ and we’ll get back to you via email (in 24-48 hours).
  • Availability displayed online often not up-to-date.
  • Totally confusing pricing. Heaps of different rates, additional insurance costs, extras etc. Lack of transparency upfront.
  • Limited information about the campervans: poor images; each provider lists different properties (such as ABS – yes or no; fuel consumption; additional costs for diesel, and so on).
  • Absence of comprehensive reviews from previous customers. Anything affordable comes across as vaguely reliable…ish.
  • Tedious payment conditions. High excess, which of course goes on your credit card in full on collection, etc.

My heartfelt wish for 2019 is that someone sorts this out. Watch me when I’m back in the office!?

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