If you’ve been to Bali and you haven’t consulted the Bali Bible, you’re missing out! The Bali Bible started as a simple thought for Bayside mum Lani te Hennepe. As a seasoned traveller to Bali, Lani was often asked by friends and family about the best things to do, see and experience in Bali. Her list of ideas quickly became sought after in their wider network. and leveraging on husband Simon’s experience running a web development company, they siezed the idea and together created a simple way to share these recommendations, via The Bali Bible.
Today, 10 years later, The Bali Bible, with its popular website and social channels, sits under their latest business venture TRAVLR, with users able to book entire curated trips through their website. The TRAVLR brand now operates across six countries and has over 85 staff!
Tell us a bit about your little family. How old is Finn now? How did you and Simon meet?
We are a tight knit family of 3 soon to be 4 – our baby girl is on the way and due in May and we couldn’t be more excited! Simon and I met at a mutual gathering quite a few years back and clicked instantly. We’ve been inseparable ever since. Our son Finn is two years old but will be turning three in August and like us, is a Bali regular.
What you were doing career wise before you started The Bali Bible?
Prior to starting The Bali Bible I worked in HR – I’m a people person through and through so naturally gravitated towards a career that put people at the core of their business. I guess that’s really how The Bali Bible started when I think about it, simply providing recommendations to friends, family and team members at my previous role who were heading over to Bali for a holiday and looking for tips.
You were working full time and growing The Bali Bible on the side. At what point did you decide you could let go of your ‘real job’ and grow The Bali Bible into a ‘real business’?
Both Simon and I had full time jobs when we started The Bali Bible – we were getting up early (before work) and staying up working until after midnight together to pursue what seemed like a dream of being an authority on all things Bali. The minute we reached 10,000 followers on Facebook, which happened over a matter of weeks, this was the lightbulb moment we knew our little idea could be a full-blown business.
5 years ago, just as The Bali Bible was booming, Simon suggested tipping all the profits into a new venture Travlr. What were your thoughts at the time? Crazy or amazing?
My initial thoughts were “are you crazy?” but we’ve always been the type of couple that back each other and support each other no matter what, so if Simon was in, I was always going to be right there by his side along for the ride. It all happened really quickly and I’m so thankful that it did. We have been under the pump, had ups and downs, but now that we have found our rhythm, the business is going from strength to strength.
How does Travlr differ from The Bali Bible?
To put it simply, TRAVLR is the technology platform behind The Bali Bible. TRAVLR allows our community to book their dream Bali trip (or Indonesia, Fiji, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands) through our site, including flights, accommodation, activities and experiences.
Besides Bali (obviously) what are some holiday destinations you love visiting as a family?
We love heading to Merimbula with Simon’s family, we do that every year with all the kids and we have an absolute ball. My parents also have a holiday house in the Mornington Peninsula which is like our second home. Throughout the year, we spend a lot of time there with my family. Fiji is next on the hit list and we’ve just launched TRAVLR Fiji so I’ve been using our website daily to plan our next trip there as a family.
You’re a Bayside mum, what are your favourite local hotspots to hang out at with and without children?
With Finn, you’ll usually see us at Jump Central, North Point playground or Hurlingham Park with our beautiful dog Opie! If Simon and I have a date-night we usually head to Bang-Bang in Elsternwick, delicious food
and great cocktails.
Any funny stories from travelling with Finn?
Finn is your typical boys boy. He’s always wanting to explore, can’t sit still for long and if he’s not impersonating Fireman Sam he’s chatting to everyone. Whenever we head to Bali, Finn is always wanting to strike up conversations with the locals. He loves counting to 3 with them and you can just hear him yelling out to anyone who will listen “satu, dua, tiga” – it’s very cute, the first 50 times.
Finally where can we find you?