Excerpts from the Interview –
What made you start your venture? When did you start it?
We always wanted to start something on our own, but I wanted to have some experience in well-established companies before starting.
We have traveled across India and felt there was a void in the Travel Industry – so we thought why we don’t fill it?
We started in September 2012 with this idea and slowly tested it, started building the system and doing research for vendors side-by-side. But we went Live with the site at the end of July 2013
What is your business model?
We list various Activities and Day Tour operators on our site. We create their Profile and their individual Login from where they can modify and update prices. We don’t charge them for the listing, but on confirmed Bookings, they offer us Travel Agent Commission which we deduct and pass on the balance amount to them.
Have you reached break-even? What has been the key to your business’s success?
We just went live at the end of July, hence, we haven’t broken even yet but we are getting a good number of Visitors and Bookings. The key has been that we did and continue to do a lot of research on various activities, tours and then we try to go to the root and find the actual operators conducting that activity.
What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
The major challenge remains to reach out to more and more Travellers. When we get travelers to our website, they really appreciate what we have to offer and we have a very good Inquiry to Bookings Ratio, but the main challenge is to get more and more of these travelers to visit our site. The fact that we have to compete with Search Engine results which are so crowded with the same kind of Package Operators offering the same stuff for each destination puts off travelers who are trying to find different things to do at the destination which can be found on our site.
But we overcome this in two ways –
1. Our Adwords Ads are very crisp and focus on what we offer so we invite the relevant clicks.
2. We are rated quite highly on Search Engine Results when a focussed Traveller searches for particular activities at a destination.
Do you have a mentor who guides/advice you on matters of the business?
No formal mentors, but Avinash Anandan who was my Engineering College classmate and has been in the E-Commerce industry for quite some time now as a consultant has been like a mentor and guiding us through a lot of things that were new to us and he also helped us meet the right kind of people.
Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
We are testing various methods by which we can reach out to travelers and travelers can reach out to us and our travel experts. Online Live Chat and our Internal Messaging system are key in helping Travelers write to our Travel Experts and vice-versa.
What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
Right from Inquiries and doubts stage till Bookings, we facilitate the co-ordination between Customers and Travel Experts, and after the Trip, we make it a point to get unbiased Reviews.
What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Patience –
Starting a business takes time, things don’t always go at the pace and direction you think they will so you need patience.
Constant lookout for Market Dynamics –
You may start with one belief but as you move ahead, you may realize that the market operates in a particular way and there are other gaps with great potential as well in the market, you should be able to and willing to tweak your business model to factor in those findings.
Will to Succeed and Execute no matter what –
Beyond all obstacles and difficulties, it’s your will that can make you transcend those obstacles and help you execute your plan and eventually succeed.
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