96. Ruzwana Bashir

Cofounder, CEO, Peek

The Far-Flung Strategist

A year ago, Ruzwana Bashir started Peek, a company that curates and sells travel activities online. She’s stood out from the travel-experience crowd—expanding to more than 10 cities and reportedly doubling in size each month.

Spend money (and social capital)
Peek hires professional photographers and copywriters to create each listing. “You can’t get a sense of an experience from a tiny thumbnail,” she says. To promote the service, she recruits celebrities like Wolfgang Puck and Piers Morgan to post photo essays of their perfect days in destinations that Peek serves.

Offer a mix of experiences
“There were a lot of companies going after one small niche,” says Bashir. (To wit: “A walking tour of historic and surreal strip clubs,” currently for sale on gidsy.com for $39.) “There wasn’t really one comprehensive place that offered the full spectrum of activities.” On Peek, tourists can book an offbeat walking tour and a ticket to the zoo at the same time.

Give partners what they need
To lure name-brand partners, Bashir crafted a pitch similar to that of Open-Table, focusing on the company’s sophisticated booking engine. The approach is working: Peek now offers tickets to Disneyland, the Empire State Building, and the Tribeca Film Festival.

[Image courtesy of Ruzwana Bashir]

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