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AllTrails sees 115% increase in signups as pandemic pushes users outdoors

Yahoo Finance's Kristin Myers and Ron Schneidermann, AllTrails CEO, discuss increased interest in the app as users around the world look the get outdoors amid the pandemic.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: I have found myself turning to the great outdoors more and more in this time of pandemic. And I started using the app AllTrails, and I don't think I am alone in becoming, I believe, a hiking connoisseur over the last couple of months. So I'm looking forward now to this chat with Ron Schneidermann, CEO of AllTrails.

Ron, thank you so much for joining us today. So I'm imagining that a lot more people were like me, and they said, I'm tired of being cooped up in my house. I'm tired of being stuck inside. But I don't want to be near anyone. So I'm going to maybe go for a walk or a hike.

Wondering if you can tell us what the numbers have been looking like for you guys over at AllTrails. How many more people have been turning to the outdoors and been using your app lately?

RON SCHNEIDERMANN: Absolutely, yeah. Thanks for having me, Kristin. So life in a pandemic has really been an accelerant on an already rising trend, which is people turning to the outdoors and to AllTrails for physical, mental, and emotional health benefits.

And once the lockdowns eased up in early May, we really saw the pent-up demand just explode like a slingshot right out of the gate. And since then, it's been triple digit growth year on year. And it hasn't slowed down.

Either normally, we see sort of the typical end of our season around Labor Day. But September ended up being our biggest month ever, and October is on par to be also one of our biggest months ever.

KRISTIN MYERS: So I'm seeing here, year to date, sign-ups are up 115%. People are hitting the trails at a rate of over three times in the previous years. We do have winter coming up, however, at least here in the northeast. Of course, our weather problems aren't necessarily true for the entire country. But what are you guys anticipating perhaps for growth over the next couple of months? Or do you think it's going to drop off, I guess, with the winter?

RON SCHNEIDERMANN: You know, we'll see. It's a great question, and we don't know how winter will impact it. But we do feel, across the board, that this is becoming ingrained in people's habits right now. There are some really interesting trends that we've seen in that with people working from home, they're trading in their commutes for midweek hikes.

So we're seeing a lot more midweek, early morning hikes and after-work hikes. And it feels as if it's becoming ingrained in people's day-to-day routines at this point. And it's not something that we necessarily see changing too dramatically. But we will have to see how much the weather slows things down. We see a lot of utilization typically in the winter in warmer climates-- California, Arizona, Texas, across the sunbelt. But we'll see what happens in New England.

KRISTIN MYERS: Do you think that this trend of hiking and getting outside-- I know that you mentioned that people are working it into their routine. Do you think that that's going to stick long after-- and hopefully this happens sooner than later, but long after this pandemic is over and we can all meet with each other maskless again?

RON SCHNEIDERMANN: Yeah, my kids and I talk about this all the time. We try and find the silver linings through COVID. And I do think that what we're seeing is a reawakening and a global reconnection with the outdoors.

And there are so few places where you really can get those holistic health benefits that the physical, mental, and emotional health benefits, and feel a sense of normalcy right now especially, which is what people want. And so, we're hopeful. We are hopeful. We're optimistic that this will be a long-term trend that continues and people to continue to integrate it into their daily routines.

KRISTIN MYERS: So Ron, I have to ask, because you guys are a private company, and then we do talk about this a lot with CEOs of privately held companies. Is there at all interest to sell AllTrails or maybe go public?

RON SCHNEIDERMANN: We'll see. We're just focusing on increasing the size of our community. We've got almost 25 million registered users. And we see a clear path to a billion registered users. Our whole philosophy is that the outdoors are for everybody, regardless of age, regardless of location. There are trails everywhere around the globe.

And so we're trying to break down the barriers that keep people from spending time outside and really create a global movement, again, of reawakening, reconnecting people to the outdoors. So that's our plan for right now.

KRISTIN MYERS: All right, I've got time for one last question for you here, Ron. I know that the model for AllTrails is essentially you can have a free account, or you can have a paid subscription. Are you seeing that folks are actually willing to make that move from the free version of your app over to the paid version?

RON SCHNEIDERMANN: Yep. Yeah, we have seen an uptick in paid conversions. And again, for $30 a year, to be able to provide that level of freedom and normalcy and health, even when times are tough, it seems like a really great investment. And thankfully, people are taking advantage of it.