British start-up Culture Trip confirms layoffs

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Culture Trip’s London office

Culture Trip

British travel and entertainment start-up Culture Trip has confirmed that it is planning to make some staff redundant as the coronavirus continues to decimate the travel industry. 

Founded in 2011, London-headquartered Culture Trip has raised over $100 million from investors for its travel inspiration platform, which has thousands of curated guides and features on everything from food and fashion to museums and films. Recent articles include “10 Cocktail Recipes From Around the Globe To Make From Home” and “8 Unique Ways to Experience the Best of California.”

The layoffs were reported by Business Insider and confirmed to CNBC. The exact number is unclear but Culture Trip said it will be less than half of the U.K. workforce, which is somewhere between 200 and 300 people. 

Culture Trip’s former U.S. editor that Culture Trip laid off the entire New York editorial team last month and other members of staff

“We are currently consulting with our staff, respecting this process we can’t presently share the number of proposed redundancies — what we can say is that we are proposing to make less than half of our U.K. workforce redundant,” a Culture Trip spokesperson said. 

Culture Trip says that 2.5 million people have downloaded their app and claims to have 15-20 million monthly unique visitors. Videos on its platform have been watched over 2.5 billion times in the last three years, it says. 

The content is created by an army of around 300 freelancers around the world who are managed by an in-house editorial team, which also creates its own content. 

It hasn’t been an easy ride for Culture Trip. Several employees said the company had a toxic culture and high staff turnover. Last year, Culture Trip CEO Kris Naudts admitted he finds it hard to read bad reviews on company review site Glassdoor. “I can’t say I find it easy to read that stuff,” he said. “I find that unpleasant.”

A spokesperson provided the following statement to CNBC: “In these unprecedented Covid-19 times, we, like most other travel companies, have to carefully manage and reduce costs in order to protect as many jobs as possible and our business over the long-term.”

“As a result, we have had to furlough a few employees where we were able to and unfortunately also have had to announce that we are proposing to make a number of roles redundant. We are working through a consultation period in the U.K., at the moment, with care, respect and transparency. We appreciate these are difficult and unsettling times for our staff. While challenging times lie ahead, we remain confident in the long term prospects of the company.”

“We are currently consulting with our staff, respecting this process we can’t presently share the number of proposed redundancies — what we can say is that we are proposing to make less than half of our U.K. workforce redundant.” 

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