, 1er journal des professionnels du tourisme francophone

The bird has left the suburds towards distant horizons...

The e-tourism start-up of the week

"The start up of the Week" introduces, every Friday, an innovative tourism company, that offers a new concept or new approach to a tourism and/or leisure topic. This section aims at bringing knowledge to the sector of these young pioneers that are shaking up our industry. Our series of portrait continues with the introduction of the travel agency “L'Hirondelle”, that targets a specific clientele: seniors.

Rédigé par Mathilde Khlat translated by Joséphine Foucher le Vendredi 20 Juin 2014

The original concept?

L'Hirondelle is the first agency for seasonal migration.
L'Hirondelle is the first agency for seasonal migration.
L'Hirondelle is the first agency of seasonal migration.

We offer individuals the opportunity to go live abroad.

Whether its for a few months – such as spending the winter in the sun like the swallows - or permanently.

What “more” does it bring to tourism?

We are launching a new market: long stays of more than one month.

This is interesting because:

- Plane tickets are rising so it’s better to travel for longer.

- There is an increasing number of people who have the time to travel longer: 15 million retirees in France, and the development of working from home due to the widespread of Internet.

- A one-month stay often costs as much as a 2 week stay.

- It ensures a better fill rate for hosts, especially during the low season, and requires less work: guests check in/check out every month instead of every day.

- The most authentic way to travel is by living abroad for some time.

Who is the target?

The majority of our clients are young retirees who are between 50 and 75 years old.

They have the time, are healthy, have already traveled and are connected.

What is the potential market?

There are more than 15 million retirees in France.

In 2011, 800,000 of them said they wanted to spend their retirement abroad.

Between 2011 and 2012 there was a 60% increase of French expatriation.

Your business model?

As a travel agency, we offer packages to our customers.

What is your differentiating factor?

Today, there are many actors in the market for retirement abroad, but they are essentially consultants and real estate agents that only aim at making sales.

There is no actor who takes care of everything from A to Z for settlement abroad.

As for long stays, they rarely exceed three weeks in traditional travel agencies.

As a start-up, do you have a support?

We are accompanied by the French Association of Tourism Seniors, specifically by our tutors M. Cosmes and M. Surot who advise and encourage us.

How is the launch of your start-up doing?

The company was established in August 2012, but we started business in late 2013 after obtaining our travel agent license, and having toured our first destinations where we established partnerships.

We won in 2013 the Talents prize of the CERED that rewards the best innovation in the tourism sector.

This accelerated our development and we received high visibility via the Seniors and Tourism Fairs and the press (Le Monde, Le Parisien, Europe 1 etc...).

Are you currently looking for funding?

For now, we were mainly self-funded.

We are now looking for 100,000 euros to finance our growth, especially to transform our showcase website and link the different actors working in the long stay tourism sector.

Any announcement you want to make?

This month we are launching a crowdfunding campaign to boost our Portugal destination.

The idea? To test this trending method of fundraising in the tourism sector and make it known to the 50 year old + bracket.

Obviously, we want to validate the interest of potential customers for this destination as well as the interest of partners for this new clientele.

For more information:

And the team?

Mathilde Tenneroni, founder
Mathilde Tenneroni, founder
Mathilde Tenneroni founded the company when she was still a student at HEC.

She grew up in Mexico and Japan, which gave her a taste for traveling and the idea that others would surely want to experience life abroad.

She is now leading a team of 5 people, 100% feminine!

Extra Information

What inspired me to create my own company?

The need of a challenge. When I was a kid, I wanted to become a superhero. A business entrepreneur is the job resembles that the most...

What qualities should an entrepreneur have?

Lot of perseverance (even relentlessness), patience, resourcefulness, and sometimes perhaps a will to "disturb" people and the status quo...

What is your ambition?

Create a platform that will allow anyone in the world to live anywhere.
Then buy myself an island, withdraw far from the world and rest.

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