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Who we are

Zappawoo Ltd is launching ZapEscapes, an online travel retailer targeted at the 50+ market, including those with accessibility requirements

The 50+ market travel market, worth £39bn in the UK, is wealthy, growing fast and travelling like never before.

As this lucrative 50+ market ages, it gradually starts to face mobility and other challenges. A traveller may, for example, need to know whether there are ground floor rooms, step free access or a hearing loop in the hotel. This is the point at which many mainstream holiday companies (tour operators, hotel chains and leisure activities) fail the market. While the companies may collect some rudimentary accessibility information, they tend to do little with it. Sometimes this is nervousness at compromising their current market positioning, sometimes a lack of understanding at what older travellers require.

We want to put that right. We are a group of travel industry specialists and, having been around for a while, understand this market very well. Our Chair John McEwan has run Thomas Cook and was retail director at TUI, two of the largest tour operators in the country. Founder Bob Rayment and one of our board members, the Falklands Hero Simon Weston, are both 'wobbly walkers' and are frustrated by how hard it is to find out whether there is step free access before they take the family on holiday.

Welcome to Zap Escapes!

See our Crowdfunding video and share in the success of Zap Escapes

Zap Escapes in a nutshell

The problem

The 50+ market has the money and time to travel. They value good customer service. They also tend to need more information because of age-related accessibility issues. Is there step free access? A hearing loop? Most mainstream holiday companies do not market to the older consumer and tend to ignore these simple information requirements. The market falls away. Bookings are lost.

The idea

Our travel brand Zap Escapes will collate access information from our contracted suppliers (tour operators, hotel chains and other leisure companies) and market them to the mature customer. Our customers log on and search their preferences using Zap Escape's specially developed "What's Important To Me" criteria and are then offered the holidays that are absolutely right for them.

The opportunity

The Zap Escapes team understands this market: rapidly growing, cash rich, keen to travel (often out of season), loyal and digitally savvy. We act as a specialist marketing channel helping the industry reach a new market without compromising its positioning. And we help keep our customers travelling. Our customer proposition is 'Your Life – No Limits'

The intended impact

  • * Zap Escapes will use both supplier and traveller-generated content to become THE internet hub for the 50+ market
  • * Our business is scaleable, starting in the UK and moving into Europe and the USA.
  • * Our aims are social. We want to help people travel whatever their requirements.
Image of Simon

Simon Weston, CBE

Zappawoo Ltd Board Director, Falklands veteran and campaigner

"As a 'wobbly walker' (and registered disabled) I look for step-free access when I take the family on holiday. Why can't tour operators make it easier for me to find this information?"


The 50+ market is wealthy and growing fast. It is also easily reached. The over 50s are rapid adopters of technology, share prolifically and take the time to post reviews and feedback. (Around half of 60 to 69 year olds book holidays online and 62% of Brits over 65 now have a Facebook profile.). In addition, over 12.5 million people in Britain have been on a ‘3G’ or multi-generational holiday, one of the fastest growing segments in the UK.

Our content rich website will use relevant travel news, links, blogs, a personalised ‘My Brochure’ and customer-generated content to reach this market, maximise customer interaction, build relationships and to drive bookings and organic traffic. Our market values information, customer service, customisation, convenience and reliability and our business model allows for a high level of phone and online intervention by travel counsellors. We will pioneer the use of visual interface technology showing holiday options down to room level detail and our website is engineered to be highly accessible to all.

Travel is about excitement, opportunity and lifestyle – at any age. We see ourselves as a mainstream travel retailer and our marketing will capture the excitement that holidays offer (and avoid the age-related and needs-driven messaging that characterises so much marketing to this age group).

Market size
  • * The over 50s account for 76% of the nation's financial wealth and over 50s households now account for 58% of the UK's travel and tourism spending, equivalent to nearly £39 billion in 2015.
  • * Ageing does not stop travel spend.  In real terms, over 50s households have increased their travel and tourism spending by 23% over the past five years. In the meantime spending by under 50s households has fallen by 5%.
  • * Selling to the older market also lets us tap into a small but rapidly growing 3G (multi-generational) market.

We have a clear Customer Value Proposition: Premium information, specialist service and expanded travel options. Our tagline is 'Your Life - No Limits'.

Launch Plans

Background to Zap Escapes

Zappawoo was founded by Bob Rayment in 2014. He wanted a vehicle to research and develop a new sort of holiday company, one that understood the needs of the older travel market: cash rich and rapidly expanding but needing more detailed information and better customer service than most mainstream holiday companies were prepared to provide.

Zap Escapes is the result, an online travel agency bringing mainstream product to the older market place. The team, brought together by Bob, are travel industry specialists and, having been around for a while, understand this market very well.

Zapescape Logo

Crowdfunding and launch plans

We are seeking to raise capital in exchange for equity to fund the technical development and the UK rollout of Zap Escapes planned for early 2018.

This business proposition offers:

  • * Proven concept of online marketing
  • * Experienced management team
  • * Untapped growing market
  • * Excellent social attributes
  • * Resistance to seasonal fluctuations
  • * Potentially attractive returns on investment
  • * SEIS & EIS Tax Relief

Our vision is to grow a profitable business that delivers value to shareholders. The most likely exit is a trade sale; alternatively the board will consider an IPO via the AIM market.

What makes us different

  • * We are an experienced travel team. Our Chair, John McEwan, was Chair of ABTA for 4 years and has run some of the largest holiday companies in the UK including TUI and Thomas Cook. The team include Technical Director Kiran Kumar Kowlgi, ex-ebookers/Orbitz, Marketing Director Robyn Griffith-Jones, ex-BA, Cunard and VisitEngland, and Director of Operations Jason Patterson, ex Thomas Cook and Barrhead Travel.
  • * We are first movers in the market with an idea that is hard to replicate: investment in data collection, extensive experience of online retailing and an understanding of accessibility and the older market
  • * We have built a rigorous financial model and undertaken stress testing based on extensive R&D
  • * We will be will be attracting a growing share of a rapidly growing market using pioneering visual interface technology, detailed accessibility information and high levels of customer service.
  • * We also have a clear business value proposition: by marketing with Zap Escapes you create new revenue streams and reach a year-round new market without compromising your positioning to other segments.

Our Experienced Team

Zap Escapes is led by a team of travel industry specialists. We understand the older market (indeed many of us are firmly in that demographic).

Advisory team and sub contractors

Zappawoo Ltd benefits from the input of a number of advisers: Colin Fanning contracting specialist; Kevin Hall ex Holiday Inn, Ebookers and Orbitz; Chris Veitch Trustee Tourism for All and Government Advisor (DWP). Our launch sub contractors are Zolv Web Design and GingerJuice Digital Consultancy. Our financial advisers are Buzzacott LLP and legal advisers are Penningtons Manches LLP.

Website accessibility

Our Zap Escapes retail website will be accessible to all users (using WR3's WAI guidelines). Unfortunately this Zappawoo website, set up for our first crowd funding round, is not. Help to change how your computer or web browser operates (to increase text size etc) is available on the BBC's My web my way pages.

Please contact us on info@zappawoo.com or write to us using this message box.

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