Meet Shane Mitchell: The Entrepreneur Transforming The Travel Industry Across The World


Imagine you’re a small tropical resort owner, strolling the wide tree-lined property, scanning for any imperfections. While passing by, you overhear an employee asking why the rooms are not fully booked for a third time that month. You walk alongside the empty infinity pool and spot a few tourists watching a viral promotional video of another resort. You take a step back, and ponder over your empty paradise, wondering how you could ever match the resort pictured on the phone screen. The answer? TRAVL.

TRAVL is a company that aims to rebrand hotels and resorts. Founder and CEO Shane Mitchell created the Los Angeles-based startup after being inspired by his own travels and realizing that his favorite aspect was finding an unforgettable vacation experience. This 22-year-old entrepreneur — who was living in Newport Beach, California and studying Business and Political Science at the University of Southern California — came to realize he needed to follow his passion. His goal: to change the travel experience for others by putting vacationers in touch with the best of the best resorts worldwide by crafting custom marketing campaigns based off of specific needs. Even though Shane is the brains behind the operation, he wasn’t the only one to believe in the company’s approach.

World-renowned singer/songwriter Akon, — the innovator behind Africa’s legendary “Akon City — the continent’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, designed to run entirely on renewable energy— was one of the original investors in TRAVL. When we approached him for a comment, he told us: “The idea behind exposing lesser known resorts is a great way of revitalizing the travel industry. I really love that.”


Currently in over 40 countries worldwide, TRAVL provides a platform to hundreds of hotels and resorts in each destination ranging from, the Four Seasons in Bali, who will show you a deeper understanding of the island’s stunning landscapes and inimitable culture, ICEHOTEL in Sweden, the world’s first and largest hotel built out of snow and ice from the pristine Torne River in Jukkasjärvi or perhaps Perivolas, where one can lounge in an infinity pool while overlooking the whitewashed cliffside of Santorini. 

Here, Mitchell shares his thoughts about what it’s like to start a business that is disrupting the travel space and giving a platform to help hotels and resorts with social media engagement and content creation.

PopDiaries: Why did you decide to build a business around marketing and travel?

Shane Mitchell: The hospitality industry thrives on personal and emotionally-charged connections with patrons, mostly on the hotel/resort premises. But in a technologically expanding world, that isn’t the only avenue anymore for older individuals that might not know new marketing tactics exist. The fact that most people check their Instagram first thing every morning, is a statistic worth noting. In moving from traditional advertising and marketing methods, it’s only natural to compare the old and the new. Traditional mass media marketing methods had limited scope. You could see a slight increase for hotels that advertised or featured in popular travel magazines such as Discover or National Geographic, but these slots were pricey. That is where I come in. TRAVL can easily reach their niche audience, run campaigns specifically catering to them, and significantly increase their chances of getting bookings – all at a fraction of the cost.

PopDiaries: Are people making a lot of money by doing this?

Mitchell: Depends on the amount of time they dedicate to this. For content creation, I find the best photographers and videographers for the job and fly them out to the resort we are working with. An all expense paid trip to an endless number of destinations and get paid for their time? Who wouldn’t want that life? We have people who have literally quit their jobs to travel the world with us.

PopDiaries: Did any other companies inspire you?

Mitchell: Luxury World Traveler was my inspiration since day one. I discovered their marketing page in 2015 and thought it was a brilliant idea. So I said to myself — if they can start off as a small social media presence to what they are today, I can too.

PopDiaries: Do you travel yourself?

Mitchell: Yes, I have lived and traveled across six continents and have been traveling the world with my family since I was about eight years old. I wish I could be traveling all my life, but finishing up my last semester at USC is my biggest priority. Sometimes when I am in between classes, I pull up Google Maps and plan for a new trip, even if there isn’t a clear date for it!

PopDiaries: What are your tips for starting a company?

Mitchell: I recommend putting in lots of passion and hard work, believing in your dream and trusting that life will take you wherever you want if you put in the effort. Nothing comes free in life. Find a niche that you believe in and conquer it! 

PopDiaries: “What about money”

Mitchell: Being an entrepreneur doesn’t always make you “money” rich. It is more about doing what you love, being passionate and motivated daily. I started TRAVL with absolutely nothing. My friend and I designed the website by ourselves, and organically grew our social media pages to what they are today without a penny being spent. Our first contract landed us with a solid five figure payout. Imagine one job and two college kids landed that? Long story short, we fought over what to do with the money, one thing led to another, and now we went our separate ways. One piece of advice, do not fight over money. It is not worth losing someone close to you. Money will come and go, but the right friend will be with you forever.

PopDiaries: What’s it like to be a young entrepreneur in the travel industry?

Mitchell: I think most industries still have older individuals than younger, and travel is not an exception. However, I have never had any problem being a 22 year old — although we all know that our reality is a bit different when it comes to meeting owners of established hotels and resorts who might be over twice your age. If you show results and prove that you are a master at your niche, age is just a number…


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