NativeAdVantage 10-Q2BA:

(10 Questions 2B Answered)

What do you do best?
What makes you the best?
Biggest success?
What are your aspirations?
Most challenging moment?
Favorite Motto?
Favorite People?
Favorite Places?
Favorite Products?
Current Passions?

Featured NativeAdVantage:

Andy Weir: Author of "The Martian"

John Philipson: VP, Six Senses Resorts

Tom Sito: Chair of Animation, USC Film School

Elizabeth Wynn: Broker, Sotheby's RE

Leonard Greenhalgh: Professor, Tuck-Darmouth)

Ryan Blair: NY Times Best Selling Author/Entrepreneur


Featured NativeAdVice:

Shai Reshef: Founder of University of the People

Paul D'Arcy: SVP of Indeed

Susan Hatje: GM of Mandarin Oriental, NY

Dan Laufer: Co-Founder of RentLingo

Hilary Laney: President of Tri-Digital

Greg Marsh: Co-Founder of onefinestay

Omar Qari: Co-Founder of Abacus

Gabriell Weinberg: Founder of DuckDuckGo

Stacy Rauen: E-I-C of Hospitality Design Mag

Jon Gray: CRO of HomeAway

Joe Speiser: Co-Founder of

Ben McKean: Co-Founder of HungryRoot

John Boiler: Founder/CEO of 72andSunny

Wayne Pacelle: CEO of The Humane Society of the US

Tom Guay: GM at The Sagamore Resort

Dr. Alejandro Junger: Founder of The Clean Program

Rob Flaherty: CEO of Ketchum

Neil Thanedar: Founder/CEO of LabDoor

Andy Grinsfelder: VP of Sales/Marketing, Delaware North Resorts

Laura Frerer-Schmidt: VP/Publisher of Women's Health

Avi Steinlauf: CEO of

Kathy Bloomgarden: CEO of Ruder Finn

Gabriel Flateman: Co-Founder/CTO of Casper

Mark Bartels: CEO of StumbleUpon

Bill Hagelstein: President/CEO of RPA

Adam Singolda: Founder/CEO of Taboola

Jonathan Plutzik: Proprietor of The Betsy-South Beach

Jessica Scorpio: Founder/VP of Marketing at GetAround

Ralph McRae: CEO of Leading Brands

Warren Berger: Bestselling Author

Liz Kaplow: Founder/CEO of Kaplow Communications

Dave Girouard: Founder/CEO of UpStart

Dave Asprey: Founder of BullectProof Executive

Douglas C. Smith: President of EDSA

Val Difebo: CEO of Deutsch NY

Guido Polito: CEO of Baglioni Hotels

Doyle Graham, Jr.: CEO of Valencia Group

Oscar Farinetti: Founder of Eataly

Angelo Sotira: CEO of DeviantART

Ali Khwaja: CFO of Safecharge

Zach Erdem: Proprietor of 75 Main

Jim Beley: GM of The Umstead Hotel

Alexis Gelburd-Kimler: Proprietor of West Bridge

Elie Georges: Proprietor of Hotel San Regis

Kalen Caughey: Founder o VOKE Tab

Michael Friedenberg: CEO of IDG

Donna Karan: Founder of DKNY

Edward Nardoza: Editor-in-Chief of WWD

Scott Dadich: Editor-in-Chief of Wired

Rhona Murphy: Former CEO of The Daily Beast

David J. Pecker: CEO of American Media

Lilian Roten: VP of Swissotel Hotels

Kenny Dichter: Founder/CEO of Wheels Up

Joshua Tetrick: Founder/CEO of Hampton Creek

Paul James: Global Brand Leader of The Luxury Collection

Dr. James Wagner: President of Emory University

Amy Thompson: President of ATM Artists & Management

Neil Gillis: President of Round Hill Music

Brett Matteson: President of Columbia Hospitality

Jonathan Reckford: CEO of Habitat For Humanity

Phil Harrison: President/CEO of Perkins+Will

Chef Bill Telepan

Tony Horton: Founder of P90X

Beth Weissenberger: Co-Founder of The Handel Group

Michael Fertik: Founder/CEO of

Dana Cowin: Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine

Bob Proctor: Chairman of Proctor/Gallagher Institute

Dennis Turcinovic: Owner of Delmonicos

Vittorio Assaf: Co-Founder of Serafina Restaurant Group

Shafqat Islam: Co-Founder of Newscred

Matt Williams: CEO of The Martin Agency

Bruce Rogers: Executive Chef at Hale & Hearty

Caleb Merkl: Co-Founder of Maple

Candy Argondizza: VP of Culinary at ICC

Neil Sazant: President of The Sagamore

Matt Straz: Founder/CEO of Namely

Terry Couglin: Managing Partner of Marta/Maialino

Andrei Cherny: Co-Founder/CEO of Aspiration

Ronen Nissenbaum: Managing Director of Waldorf Astoria NY

Patrick Godfrey: President of Godfrey Q

Sarah Berman: Founder/President of The Berman Group

Michael Schwartz: Owner of Genuine Hospitality Group

Stephan Aarstol: Founder/CEO of Tower Paddle Boards

Peter Shaindlin: COO of Halekulani Corp.

August Cardona: Founder/CEO of Epicurean Group

Nick Kenner: Co-Founder of Just Salad


Owners of The Namu Travel Group

My NativeAdVice:


The Namu Travel Group is a Central American travel company specializing in personalized, boutique vacations to Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua. The Namu family consists of the following brands; Costa Rican Vacations, Costa Rica Fishing Pros, Panama Vacations and Nicaragua Vacations. Our name, Namu, is Bribri for “jaguar,” one of Costa Rica’s (and Latin America’s) most sacred animals. The Bribri are today one of the nation’s largest indigenous tribes, residing in the Talamanca Mountains near Puerto Viejo and Cahuita.

At the Namu Travel Group, travel defines our very lives. Our staff of globetrotters come from all corners of the world, and have explored every nook and cranny of Central America. Travel is our passion and our job, and we evaluate every hotel and tour with this two-fold approach. We know what it’s like to visit for the first time, and we also know every destination inside and out, as only locals can. We vet every experience, and only recommend the ones we love – the places we wish we could visit again and again.

The Namu Travel Group marries our passion for travel and local expertise. We use our expert knowledge and insider information to curate true travel experiences. Our goal is that every client go home with a story.

What's Your NativeAdVice:

Tony Silva responses:

How did you get into the hospitality industry?

My mother was a travel agent, so as a child I saw all the great extras she received.  We would be able to stay at hotels for a weekend at little or no cost and fly from one state to the next for free.  Listening to her tell the exciting stories about her adventures to potential clients also intrigued me.  When the opportunity availed itself to me in Costa Rica, I jumped at the chance to be part of this exciting industry!

Tell us about Namu Travel. What inspired the idea and what is the vision for your business?

When Casey Halloran and I formed the company, we saw that so many hotels and travel agencies in Costa Rica did not understand how to properly service their North American clientele.  As two transplants from the United States who loved traveling, we felt confident that we could do a better job.  We formed Costa Rican Vacations, which later became The Namu Travel Group, on this belief.  We then assembled a team of individuals who were as excited and passionate about travel as we were.  After 15 years, that team has now grown to 80 people.

What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to Namu Travel's success?

In the early days of Central American Travel, several large agencies sent most of the business to hotels in Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua.  They would block rooms they never used and pay months after the client experienced their vacation.  From the onset, we wanted to differentiate ourselves by being the agency who would perform first and then ask later.  We have developed close relationships with the owners of each hotel and tour company we work with.  We never ask for more rooms than we actually sell and we pay these providers before our clients arrive.  This has allowed us to earn the trust and respect of hundreds of hotel and tour company owners throughout Central America and catapulted us to the top of Central American Travel.

What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?

The Travel Industry has for years worked on antiquated technology.  Over the years, we have developed our own internal reservations and booking system and believe that we can help to transform the industry and bring it up to the 21st century.

Casey Halloran responses:

Describe the ideal experience provided by Namu Travel.

The ideal experience is a vacation that is easy from start to finish -- from the "dreaming" phase right through the return home. Throughout the experience, the guests' needs are anticipated and exceeded. During the actual vacation experience, the traveler should have several unique and unforgettable memories that he will cherish for a lifetime.  If, for whatever reason, the guest should contact our support team, issues are resolved in such a manner that they IMPROVE the experience.

How do you motivate your employees?

I motivate my team by getting to know their unique skills and talents and then matching them with challenging tasks ideally suited to them. I try to be hands-off, doing more explaining of the reason behind our org's need to meet a particular challenge (the Why) and letting them come up with the tactics (the How) to get there.  I am fortunate to work with high level talent, so this approach works.

One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?

Food: My mother's Chicken and Dumplings

Drink: a Jameson whiskey on ice, on my patio, with my Dad

What literature is on your bed stand?

The Obstacle Is The Way -- Ryan Holiday

Influence - Dr. Robert Cialdini

Richard Bexon responses:

Life Motto?

Have fun, whether it is at work or at home, life is too short for your work to feel like work, make it fun for you and the people around you.  We use the words 'seriously casual' in the company, that is basically my life motto, whether it is Triathlon training or implementing a new CRM at work, I always have fun.

The Namu Travel Motto?

Our clients should be able to travel without any remorse of fear that there vacation will be anything but perfect, that's why we guarantee it and are the only ones to guarantee it.  

We hand pick, experience and know the providers we work with on first name basis.  We are a big family helping people create memories.  We are only as good as our best and worst provider!

Your greatest success as owners of Namu?

Being able to be surrounded by great people who are different, that maybe I would not normally chat to,  but that I now consider my family.

Just seeing the client reviews coming through the doors.  It is this feedback that validates everything we do, we are passionate about our clients and travel!

Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?

October 2008: This was a defining period for the company as no one, I mean no one wanted to buy a vacation.  The actions we took in late 2008 and early 2009 really defined who we are today and allowed us to really identify our unique selling point.

We identified areas of income that we had not seen before as we did not need to.  When you are pushed into a corner and have to find income and cashflow, it's amazing how quickly you can find other ways to generate income.  We asked our providers to help us with marketing $$, as we were better at it than they were, they agreed!  This allowed us to reduce our marketing budget

We focused on what made us unique and made sure this resonated throughout our whole literature, from our website to our call scripts.  We were Expats that lived in Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, we knew the hotels, the tours and areas.  We were your guides on the ground to make sure you picked the right vacation for you.

We also negotiated a VIP Airport Meet & Great that allowed our clients to be met as soon as they step off the aircraft, to go through the diplomatic line and be out of the airport in under 15 mins, into their transfers with a nice cold drink in their hands.

Your advice to an aspiring start up?

Do not be afraid to fail, take risks (increase your marketing spend, invest in consultants) and learn quickly.  You can see the effects of most of your investments online quickly, so measure the outcome.

Surround yourself by people who are different than you.  Getting on with your colleagues is great, but to build a great business you must have all of your weaknesses covered by others that you trust.

Roman Venegas Responses :

Role model - business and personal?

Business: I would say Amazon, because it shows the efficiency of using technology, people and logistics in a way that nobody else has done before.

Personal: John Maxwell, he has created a big company, and he is teaching how to lead in a way that it is more human and less academic.

Current passion?

I like to create new things and I have discovered an entrepreneur in myself, exploring more fields of knowledge like technology, marketing, costumer service and project management. That sounds a lot, but CRV is giving the opportunity to explore all those fields beyond my finance carrer.

Favorite travel destination?

One of the best places I have been is Guatemala, people is so friendly and the culture is so rich, and it is really close to Costa Rica.

What's next for Namu Travel?

After 13 years working in Costa Rica as a main market, and lately working in Nicaragua and Panama, I think is time to explore new options (clients are asking of them), South America maybe. Internally, the company is moving fast to a better way to do things, base on better technology, in order to provide more and better information and service to our clients.