Avon-based TripHero specializes in getting your gear to your vacation lodging | VailDaily.com

Avon-based TripHero specializes in getting your gear to your vacation lodging

The core of Avon-based TripHero is, from left, Steve Lepper, co-founder Bethany Bontrager, Jason Heeringa and co-founder Brandon Ford. TripHero specializes in getting clients' luggage and gear from home to their vacation lodging and back with a minimum of fuss.
Special to the Daily

On the web

Go to gotriphero.com.

AVON — Traveling with your stuff has always been a challenge. It’s an even bigger challenge when you fly. The folks at TripHero want to help.

TripHero calls itself a “travel logistics platform.” What that means is the company will arrange to have your stuff — from underwear and socks to ski equipment and bikes — shipped from your home to wherever you’re staying. Your stuff arrives when you do.

The company started in February 2015 — company co-founder Brandon Ford still has that first shipping receipt. Over the past few years, the Vail Valley-based company has expanded into other resort areas and has brought in funding from both online and venture-capital sources.

Caleb Avery, of Boulder-based UPC Capital Ventures, has been working with TripHero as it builds.

Avery calls TripHero “hands-free, worry-free travel. … Instead of schlepping your stuff, it’s waiting at your hotel. … Your luggage is in your room, and your skis are in a locker.”

Ford said TripHero started out for just ski gear. In fact, the company started under a different name: SkiPodz.

But the company’s third client asked Ford if he could handle shipping a family’s luggage and other items, too.

From there, it wasn’t long until TripHero was reborn.

How it works

A TripHero client works with the company to get stuff ready to ship. Federal Express picks it up and then delivers it to a receiving facility near Avon, Steamboat Springs, Winter Park or the resorts in Summit County. The company is operating now in Aspen, Breckenridge and Telluride. Expansion plans include Park City, Utah; Jackson, Wyoming; and Lake Tahoe, California.

From those facilities, TripHero takes gear to the client’s hotel room, condo or house and delivers it on the client’s arrival date.

That’s good for both the client and hotels.

“Hotels have to take rooms out of inventory just to store bags (and gear),” Avery said. “They’re incredibly thankful.”

TripHero customer experience specialist Jason Heeringa said the company also makes life easier for front-desk people.

“They fill out our form, and we do all the heavy lifting,” Heeringa said.

Ford said property managers are equally grateful to have a one-stop shop for shipping stuff. Sending baggage and gear to an address while other guests are in a condo makes life difficult for those who manage the units.

“Shipping is complicated,” Ford said. “Hotels still write tracking numbers on paper … and customers want more things shipped all the time.”

Being able to securely deliver a lot of items to one place also makes work easier for FedEx, Ford said.

‘Ripe for disruption’

Avery said the luggage-moving industry in general is “ripe for disruption.”

TripHero is approaching the problem in a way no one else has, he added.

“None of the other companies are solving for all the stakeholders — solving problems for FedEx, customers and (lodging) properties.”

To aid that disruption, the company is planning a round of crowd-funding this summer. People can buy in for as little as $50.

“A lot of our customers have asked about investing,” Ford said. That round — which you can access through the company’s website — should start about now.

As the company grows, Avery said there are new challenges. Solving both staffing and shipping for the different items summer guests bring is one of those challenges.

Then there’s the sheer amount of things people want shipped.

Ford said the average customer has five items shipped to and from their vacation.

But some people have greater needs.

Weight restrictions on outbound flights from the mountains can require people to ship things home they brought along.

The goal, though, is the same for everyone.

“We’re all travelers,” Ford said. “We want to make it easier for people to go on vacation.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2930.

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