Wise 50 Over 50 Award™
Barbara Jones – StayBillety
StayBillety is the culmination of the many roles I have held in the past. It is the manifestation of over 30 years experience in media in Canada, Australia and the US. In particular, serving audiences at The Travel Channel and The Weather Channel, where I helped launch travelchannel.com and led the launch of weather.com’s international businesses. I have worn many hats in traditional and digital media; they’re all represented in the community-focused vision of this start-up.
I grew up in a small town with limited accommodation options for visitors. When events came to town, my family hosted (billeted) visiting athletes or students, and their families. I recognized how billeting strengthened the local community, increased engagement in the event, and connected people in new and meaningful ways. At the age of 52, I combined these personal beliefs and experiences with my professional background in digital media, mixed in some ‘sharing economy’, and the idea of ‘paid billeting’ and StayBillety was born!
StayBillety is all about community; the primary goal of the site is to build and strengthen community around accommodation. Our site reduces the barrier to participation that accommodation can represent, helps people traveling save some money, and helps our Hosts make a little extra money. We give back to our Affiliate groups and organizations, and charity.
Over 200 students in Canada and the US have gained professional experience and mentoring through their internships and involvement with the start-up.
In addition to achieving business goals, StayBillety is active with or participated in: Communitech’s Fierce Founders Bootcamp, Queen’s University’s InnovationXL/LaunchLab incubator and GrindSpaceXL accelerator, Ryerson University’s DMZ in NYC, the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars, and been a finalist in several pitch competitions in Canada and the US