What’s in a name? For the founders of Black Tomato, the award-winning, experience-led travel company, the answer is everything. This unusual moniker came to define the company in 2003 when friends and founders, Tom, James and Matt, ate black tomatoes in a small Moscow restaurant. Cooked properly, the black tomato is the kind of rare local delicacy that is only ever discovered by having real insider’s knowledge of a destination. For the business partners and close friends, it was a metaphor for everything their carefully curated journeys stood for.
Anyone can book a flight or hotel online, but Black Tomato prides itself on gaining access to a genuine insider track, which has accelerated its growth into global markets over seven continents. Black Tomato’s experts circulate among real people and know exactly how to get beneath the surface of a local community. Long before they start advising customers, they have slept in the hotels, met the guides and trekked the routes themselves so they can cut out all the chaff, while steering well clear of over-burdened tourist traps. Black Tomato customers are time poor and adventurous, wanting to squeeze the most out of every minute. Ultimately, they are as curious to experience the kitchen as the restaurant itself.
‘Get Lost’ safely drops clients in the middle of nowhere and challenges them to navigate to a secret destination
A further key to Black Tomato’s continued growth is its appetite for careful collaboration. In 2019 it signed a fresh partnership with SoulCycle, focusing on the intrinsic link between wellness, fitness and travel. With Eater it created new food focused travel itineraries, lifting the lid on the best dishes around the world and teaching customers to create them for themselves. It also forged a content partnership with the heritage publication, Travel + Leisure, creating a series of ‘New World Wonders’ itineraries that visit the extraordinary and the undiscovered.
These collaborations are helping Black Tomato to open even more closed doors, giving access to rarely trodden pathways. Occasionally, these roads turn towards home and in 2020 the brand will be celebrating this concept by selling more British holidays, from exquisite food tours of the Lake District to rustic forays into the Scottish highlands and islands. All roads, after all, must eventually lead home.