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What’s the biggest mistake US businesses make when moving to Europe?


Hotel Tonight founder Jared Simon talks teething problems surrounding international growth and why expanding to Europe is no easy task.

You may be contrarian to globalization, but it’s undeniable that we now live in a global village.

And like so many before you, this global village, with its happy-go-lucky startup attitude and high rise buildings encased with polished metal and glass, would almost have you fooled into thinking it was somewhere safe.

Somewhere where horizontal thinking meant you and your business were free from the clutches of so many others trying to copy you.

But there’s something primitive about this village.

It enshrouds a mentality that’s reflective of an earlier time. Kill or be killed.

Perhaps it underlines a broken system, but either way one needs to play the game.

For Americans, the winning hand can be expanding your business to Europe. And if you don’t expand, your competitor will.

It can be the missing piece in the puzzle to unlock new customers and markets. Turning horizontal, into lateral progress.

Expanding your business to Europe stands as a potentially lucrative move. But even the most innovative, scalable business model can’t prepare you for unfamiliar territory.

Hotel Tonight is testament to that.

“The biggest cultural learning for us, has been the typical Americancentric trap…Europe is not a country”

Hotel Tonight emerged in 2011 with a disruptive smartphone only booking service that allowed users to reserve a hotel room with minimal notice.

Despite its overnight success in the US, when it came to making the jump across the pond, Hotel Tonight ran into trouble.

It failed to realize that Europe is a plethora of culture.

“Europe is a collection of a countries, with lots of different cultural nuances- and it took us a little while to figure that out…that was the result of adding a really top notch leadership team here. Adding a more localized presence across Europe.”

Cultural factors can be make or break when it comes to expanding your business to Europe.

And ensuring you are surrounded by the right leadership team with experience of doing it before is one of the factors that will increase your chances of overcoming the inevitable teething pains.