About Safara

Why we’re here

We believe you have a right to know where your money goes, and we don't believe in giant hidden fees. So we built our business to be fair and transparent, and to reward you for all your travel.

Our story

We’ve been working for hotel booking sites, direct to consumer brands, and startups in NYC, SF, and London for over 30 years. We’ve been in-house, freelance, and even worked remotely from Lisbon to Mexico City. We’re all individuals, but what we share in spades is our love for travel.



As frequent travelers, we found that we weren’t loyal to any booking sites- which is odd, as we’re very loyal to our favorite oat milk brand. Or e-commerce site. Or music streaming service. Or ride-share app... And travel feels like a far bigger deal than what we put in our coffee. No booking site brands were speaking to us or gave us a good reason to come back.

"Our purpose is to make travel fair and fun for people like us."

Upon reflection, at the core we all found three major issues with the big booking sites:

  • They have way too many options (who actually has time for 9000 hotel results in Barcelona?)
  • They charge hidden fees (we love the direct to consumer revolution- why is travel still so mysterious?)
  • If they even have loyalty programs, they’re frankly terrible (10th night free? No thanks).

More hard to define, though no less important was this: the big booking sites simply don’t feel designed for us - from the the overwhelming interfaces to the high-pressure sales tactics (like that blinking red text that suggests if you don't BOOK NOW you'll have to sleep under a bridge).



The Safara hotel booking membership is the first part of a long travel journey we want to make with you to improve travel in general. We’ve built something that we truly love to use, and we hope you do too. From earning free travel to the best travel content out there- our purpose is to make travel fair and fun for people like us.



We are based in London, Portland, Amsterdam, and NYC, and are always seeking #thelatecheckout wherever we stay.

MEET THE TEAM

JOEY KOTKINS

CEO

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Joey Kotkins is Co-founder and CEO of Safara. He was born and raised in Seattle, graduated from Duke with degrees in Economics and Psychology, lived in New York, back in Seattle, and now calls London home. His family worked in the luggage business for 100 years, so you could say he was born with a suitcase in his hand and he has been chasing travel dreams ever since. He’s spent the last 8 years as a startup founder, advisor, mentor, and consultant.

  • JOEY KOTKINS

    CEO

    Read more

    Joey Kotkins is Co-founder and CEO of Safara. He was born and raised in Seattle, graduated from Duke with degrees in Economics and Psychology, lived in New York, back in Seattle, and now calls London home. His family worked in the luggage business for 100 years, so you could say he was born with a suitcase in his hand and he has been chasing travel dreams ever since. He’s spent the last 8 years as a startup founder, advisor, mentor, and consultant.

  • MAYA POULTON

    CMO

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    Maya is Co-Founder and CMO of Safara, and a life-long nomad- she's living in her 7th country now. After graduating from McGill with a B.Com, she lived and worked in Shanghai and Hong Kong. She moved to NYC in 2009 and stayed for 8 years, working at startups like JETSETTER.com, where she partnered with over 500 hotels. She later ran International Marketing for Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels, and consulted for e-comm and direct to consumer brands in the UK and USA. She averages 30 flights a year, and is always packing or unpacking.

  • KARIM VARELA

    CTO

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    Karim Varela is Co-Founder and CTO of Safara. Karim is a digital nomad and has lived in or visited over 30 countries around the world. His all-time favorite destination is probably Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica for the beach and surf. As a startup junkie, he’s led engineering teams at Beam Financial, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Tinder. He studied computer science at the University of California and business at the University of Florida.

  • FEDERICO "FEDE" DIONISI

    SENIOR DEVELOPER

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    Federico Dionisi is a software engineer and Safara’s first employee. Coming from a small village in the north of Italy, he now lives between the Netherlands, UK and Italy. He studied Computer Science in Trento, but before finishing, he started working for small startups in the territory followed by several stints around Europe. He loves traveling and experiencing new cultures, and is currently planning a long stay in Asia.

  • GEORGIA ZEAVINS

    EDITORIAL PRODUCER

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    Georgia is a Brooklyn based Editorial Producer and Creative Director. Prior to branching out on her own, she was the Executive Producer at Lemonade Creative. Her experience includes brand strategy at Horizon Media and national partnerships for Gilt Groupe. Though coast to coast travel is what keeps her on planes most often, she is an avid globetrotter and refuses to put her carry-on back in her closet for too long.

  • POOJA SAWLA

    MARKETING ANALYST

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    A native Los Angelina, Pooja has lived in many countries all over the world, from India to the UK to Vietnam. A lover of building startups, Pooja has done customer service, marketing, analytics, and web development for companies like Dog Vacay, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Beam Financial before joining Safara.

Want to come and work with us?

SEE ALL AVAILABLE JOBS