Meeting with Xavier Oury, founder of Vialala, a participatory travel agency
How do you make a career out of being an expat spouse? To answer this question, Mondassur met Xavier Oury, a former expat in Taiwan and founder of the online travel agency Vialala, which allows all expatriates to work freely from home wherever they are. Check out his project!
And to make the most of your experience alone or with your family abroad, Mondassur advisors are at your disposal to advise you on the best overseas health insurance solutionfor your situation.
Could you introduce yourself and tell us why you started your business?
Hello, I’m Xavier Oury, and with my partner Yan Tamalet we founded Vialala, the first travel network between individuals. This is not our first entrepreneurial project, and we have been part of the broadband adventure in France. Both passionate about travel, we wanted to create the first player in the travel sector to take into account 100% the evolution of services in general towards the provision between individuals of services previously always reserved for companies. Thus Vialala is the first platform that allows the design and resale of tailored travel between individuals. Of course, Vialala is an Atout France-approved French travel operator, and we guarantee all the services booked on our platform; flights, on-site transport, accommodation, activities, it is possible to create complete trips and offer them, and above all tailor-made travel becomes a right and not the prerogative of the luxury sector. Because with Vialala.com, all trips are customized and created with the help of a local expert who allows you to access the best addresses in the jungle of Do It Yourself offers that has become the Internet.
Could you tell us about expatriation, and in particular the countries in which you lived?
I have personally lived several periods of my life abroad: I lived a little less than 2 years in Taiwan during my cooperation, and more recently I lived in Morocco about 5 years. I have also lived in London several times for shorter periods. Expatriation is always an opportunity for a rewarding life experience at all levels. When you like to travel as a bonus, you get more and more a taste for discovering new cultures, exploring nature, or practicing certain sports and cultural activities. And you learn a lot, you have a lot of different experiences.
How can I arrange my holiday abroad or become a travel agent with your site?
To organize your holiday abroad with us,nothing could be simpler. On vialala.com, we connect you with the Travel Planner most suited to your needs (language, destination, interests, etc.) by allowing you to explore the travel ideas of the Travel Planners of the community. Then you talk together until you get your stay fully personalised and you just have to book. Thanks to our system between individuals, you get a 100% stay tailored to the same price as if you had done all the research yourself. It’s a huge time saver, and an indisputable economy.
To become an independent Travel Planner,you only need to fill out your Travel Planner profile first. Then you have to create a first travel idea to be validated together before launch; each service is presented to travellers clearly and related services are detailed, as well as prices. Once the offer is published, it remains to be promoted, usually via social networks. As part of our launch, we are also investing in traditional online advertising for the most promising offerings.
What advice would you give to a young expatriate in Taiwan or elsewhere?
First, to always behave with respect for the culture of your guests, for example by not staying only between francophones. On the contrary, go to your colleagues and be open to meetings. And do everything to make your daily life as “local” as possible. This state of mind will make you able to make the most of this unique period of your life.
Reading tips to prepare for your expatriation in Asia?
I advise to soak up Asian culture and spirituality. Buddhism, Japanese Shinto, Confucianism, the discovery of Chinese civilization and Japan are all exciting subjects for a Westerner, and the history of the region is to be known when one settles there. The exchanges between Europe and Asia, and in particular the history of the Silk Road, are an exciting area. I recommend Alexandra David-Néel’s “Journey of a Parisian woman to Lhasa” and Peter Hopkirk’s “Buddhas and Prowlers on the Silk Road.”