Sonder: The information & experience-filled app for LGBT travelers

Thu. April 25, 2019 6:29 PM by Ross Forman

The Sonder app, launched in June 2017, brings LGBT tips, trips, experiences, insight and more – from an LGBT team, based in São Paulo and run by its openly gay chairman, Rangel Vilas-Boas.

"We launched the app to help gay travelers to travel with more knowledge on the places and destinations, and to offer the best services to the gay audience. We understand that our audience is not represented enough in the main media and the travel market, and due to this perception we decided to launch Sonder.

"We're aimed at LGBT people. Our first step is the gay audience. We have been working on it currently. As the business evolves, we are going to target lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and others.

"The best part of Sonder is to connect people from all over the world and to develop our market. We consider these relationships and the people to be the most powerful tools in this journey."

Sonder brings a regular-updated look at cities around the world from the LGBT perspective. Take, for instance, the section on the popular Greek destination Mykonos. There are key, needed travel numbers, currency information, plus tips on where to stay, dine, shop, tour and more. There also is a Can't Miss section, which spotlighted XLSIOR Festival, among other noteworthy events.

In addition, Sonder has an easy-to-use option for travelers to build their own trip to select destinations with info on flights, hotels and more.

Sonder has more than 7,000 users on the app and more than 10.000 social media followers. The majority of Sonder users, so far, are Brazilians, with the majority of others coming from Spain and the U.S.

"We offer curated content, totally focused on the gay travel experience," said Vilas-Boas, 33. "We are building a strong network among our users, destinations and the travel market. Our business model aims Sonder to be a worldwide network of people willing to contribute so that gay travelers have the best services and connections.

"As a business, we definitely want to go global, but our starting point for the next few years is to discover and create solutions for Brazilians and foreigners to travel inside Brazil. And we want to discover new destinations, including Japan, Seychelles and Curacao, among others."

The Sonder blog is updated at least weekly and the app monthly.

Vilas-Boas has three business partners on Sonder, along with a small team formed by a designer, journalist, PMO and some developers.

At The Airport With ...Rangel Vilas-Boas

Favorite Travel Destination: Spain.

Always Travels With: "My Kindle or a book."

Best Part of Traveling: "Meeting new people."

Worst Part of Traveling: Packing

Talking Curaçao: "Curaçao has a great potential to rise as new gay hot spot. I loved the energy of the island, the beaches and the people I met there."

When Not Traveling: "I work with sports marketing consultancy and innovation in Brazil."

Keys to Staying in Shape While Traveling: "I always take some bands with me to do some exercises, even in my hotel room. I prefer hotels with gyms, whenever possible. Plus, getting to know the destination by walking or running is a workout session in itself."

Within the LGBT Community: "I am studying diversity right now and think that this journey will put me more in contact with some causes, specially the promotion of HIV treatments in Brazil. I also play volleyball on a gay team and we do some social activities on behalf of our community."

Chicago: Has never been, "but the city is on my bucket list."

More Chicago: "My husband was impressed with the design and the city architecture. I think the city will impress me with that for sure. And of course I'm very curious to know the city (from) a gay perspective."

The Sonder app: Is now available for download in iOS and Android systems, in Portuguese and English versions.

Hobbies: "To workout, to party, and to read."

Favorite Sport: Volleyball

Favorite Professional Athlete: Michael Phelps

Favorite Musician: Justin Timberlake

Favorite Actor: Emma Stone

Celebrity You'd Most Like To Meet: Madonna

Favorite TV Show: The Ellen Show

Favorite Movie: Kill Bill

Little-known Fact: "I don't like pasta."

Favorite Drink At A Bar: Gin Tonic