The Business Pharmacy: Matt Fox

Step into The Business Pharmacy. And discover the secrets behind many a founders' success. 

Like Matt Fox. He's the founder of Snaptrip Group, responsible for not just Snaptrip but LateRooms, Villa Holidays and many more accommodation marketplaces.

Matt Fox

Hi Matt! What does a typical day look like for you?

I get up. I make sure that I spend enough time with my family before the work/school day begins. Then it's onto the grind.

To be honest, I check in with the team and know what’s going on the day-to-day but they know what they’re doing (and do it better than I can) so most of my time is spent looking forward, thinking strategically and assessing what bigger projects we should be looking at to help fuel growth of the company.

That involves a lot of phone calls and meetings with investors and prospective partners, but the nature of this work also ensures that on the days I’m not in the office, I can take breaks to spend time with the kids.

We, as a company, believe it’s incredibly important to have the right work/life balance. Without wanting to be too cheesy, we work smart as well as hard.

How do you fuel your busy day?

Black Sheep Coffee. But my heart can’t handle more than one a day!

Photo Credit - Secret London

What tools do you count on to get the job done?

The business uses a range of tools, all that you’d expect for communication, collaboration and project management, however probably the most used and most effective for me personally is WhatsApp or simply my mobile phone.

It’s not rocket science but most of my job is communication with the management team and external comms with partners and investors.

WhatsApp is useful for checking in regularly (and I mean regularly) with daily tidbits and I prefer picking up and calling somebody on the phone than endless video calls which can become draining.

What about strategy?

I’m not sure how “strategic” this is, but most of the success we’ve experienced as a business has come from looking at data, keeping an open mind and not being afraid to make decisions.

A huge part of the growth of Snaptrip to becoming “Snaptrip Group” has been in being able to assess what new areas we should get involved in and which we shouldn’t. Whether that’s launching new products and sites, acquiring sites or hiring the right people.

If we had been too rigid in sticking only to the initial business MO, then we definitely wouldn’t be as big as we are today (circa 20m visits and over a quarter of a million bookings a year).

So we remain open-minded, keep nothing off the table and take a data-driven approach to things as most of the time, maths will give us the answer as to whether to do something or not.

What inspires you?

The idea of one day living on a beach without a smartphone!

What do you do to relax?

A nice cold beer or glass of wine at the end of the day in between finishing work and keeping two kids occupied.

Any time to sleep?

I try to get as much of it as possible, but with two highly active children, that can prove tricky sometimes.

Remote or non-remote?

Both have their merits, we want to be an “office first” company as we think that it’s important for socialisation, collaboration and mental health but we also realise the world is changing and people may not want to be in five days a week.

Snaptrip Group

As a smallish team of 25, we’re able to be quite nimble and flexible about how we work enabling the best of both worlds for the majority of the team.

We try and get the majority of the team in twice a week and have the office open on the other days for those that want to use it.

Share scheme or no share scheme?

Personally, I don’t think that there’s a binary answer here as different members of the team want different things.

Lots of early members of the team were offered share options from the start as we felt it was important for them to be bought into the company’s journey.

Now they’re not offered by default but assessed with employees after they’ve been with the company for a year. Some love them, some prefer more traditional incentives.

And finally, if you could advise one thing to avoid, what would it be?

The one thing that many businesses tend to do is be opaque or rather not being openly communicative which can lead to gossip and mistrust.

One of our values to customers is to be trustworthy and we believe that applies even more so to our team.

We’re incredibly transparent with almost all of the information at the company - from trading to our strategic plans.

Now obviously not everything can be shared with everybody but the team understands that and cultivating that level of trust is important to us achieving growth as a team and not just as a business. 

Thanks for sharing your 'prescription' for success, Matt!