How do you grow a business in the travel sector during Covid?

4 years ago

Shon Alam – Founder of travel money provider Bidwedge – discusses why he is choosing now to scale and expand his business

This year has been one of the worst in living memory for the travel industry as a whole and travel money providers especially. August saw the near collapse of Travelex at the cost of 1,300 jobs while, in September, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned that “hundreds of thousands of airline jobs” could disappear without further support.

Against this backdrop, Bidwedge, who help people with unused foreign currency to exchange it for sterling at the best rates, are now looking to capitalise on strong revenue growth since January by growing to challenge traditional travel money suppliers through a return to cash based exchange, with no hidden fees.

As many traditional, and challenger, banks look to scale back on physical services – in many cases moving entirely online with cards and virtual exchanges – Bidwedge is looking to disrupt by default. It is estimated that each Brit has around £98 each of unused foreign currency at home, left over from holidays of the past and often never to see the light of day again. This, alongside other currency exchange services, is where Bidwedge have found their market.

Shon Alam, Founder of Bidwedge (

“We have a proven working concept that is growing during one of the worst economic crises that this country has ever seen. We have achieved this by being a well-organised, managed business that has stuck to its founding fundamental principles of remaining debt-free, being community driven, and by being able to offer a product that can be seen as a benefit to the seller in the first instance. 

As a company, we have not set out to challenge or disrupt, but to offer a real alternative to the corporate driven strategies that put profit first. We have taken the view that we offer an honest, transparent approach that can be understood by our consumers. 

I believe that as we start to escape the cold winter, companies new and old are going to have to adopt a more measured approach to business and I think investors will want to see that methodology play a pivotal role for all companies. You could feel the murmurings before the pandemic with companies such as Uber, when all of a sudden it dawned on shareholders and investors that they had invested in a company that had not made a profit, or actually didn’t look like it was ever going to make a profit.”

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