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Travel app Winnow adds Aspen experiences

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Travel experiences app Winnow is expanding into a new overseas market.

Co-owner Alison Swan said the 16-month-old company launched experiences in Aspen, Colorado and it was aiming to add more destinations next year.

Winnow started out with Bermuda experiences and now offers access to more than 80 on-island things to do from swimming with turtles to beekeeping.

Experience providers can register with Winnow for free. Winnow provides the photography and editorial content and takes some commission on bookings made through the app.

“We've had some really amazing feedback,” said Ms Swan, who launched the business with William West in August 2017. “One of our hosts received flowers from someone because they loved the experience so much.”

The most popular experiences in Bermuda include the cave massages at Grotto Bay, swimming with turtles and bicycle tours of St George's.

Ms Swan said all experiences were vetted, through meetings with providers and sometimes partaking themselves, to ensure they met Winnow's standards.

“Our aim is to connect visitors with destinations with carefully curated private experiences that are handpicked by us,” Ms Swan said.

“In Bermuda, we know the market, but in Aspen we work with local insiders who can provide us with access to these experiences.

“We call it ‘the new luxury'. It's not just about buying flashy things, it's about access to a place.

“More and more people are spending more of their travel budget on experiences and staying in a less expensive hotel, for example.”

The trend Ms Swan is seeing resonates with the results of surveys showing a hunger for more authentic travel experiences, among the millennial generation in particular.

A global survey by Airbnb and market research firm GfK1 found that millennials, who will make up about three-quarters of the travelling public by 2025, prefer active vacations and creating their own itinerary. About 80 per cent of respondents believed that the best way to have a unique travel experience was to “live like a local”.

Winnow seeks out private experiences, specialising in those that are difficult to access. Ms Swan said the app was aiming to feature four new markets by the summer of next year.

The platform features around 50 Aspen experiences, including salmon fishing on a private reserve and enjoying a night of luxury in a cabin in the wilds.

Ms Swan says the intended value of Winnow can be described through the example of two people getting off a plane in Bermuda. One knows people on the island, the other knows no one.

“The two will have completely different experiences,” Ms Swan said. “We want everybody to have a local host in their pocket.”

The app can help more Bermudians with ideas for experiences to get involved in tourism, connect with visitors and make some extra money, even on a part-time basis, Ms Swan added.

Winnow is running a Christmas promotion allowing customers to buy gift certificates to give recipients access to experiences on offer. The promotion is being led by Megan Boyle, Winnow's Bermuda destination manager, who can be contacted by e-mail at The certificates are also available at Taste restaurant on Front Street.

For more information, visit the website or download the Winnow app

Curators of experiences: William West and Alison Swan, founders of the Winnow travel app (Photograph supplied)
Winnow experience: swimming with turtles in Bermuda (Photograph supplied)
Winnow experience: heli-skiing in Aspen
Winnow experience: exploration with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Studies (Photograph supplied)
Winnow experience: bicycle tour of St George's

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Published December 14, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated December 13, 2018 at 11:46 pm)

Travel app Winnow adds Aspen experiences

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