“Travelling” – A word that links people from several countries, varied regions and diverse landforms. Keeping in mind the perks of travelling and tourism, some bright minds of India decided to startup in the travel space. And guess what! Their efforts weren’t in vain! So here we present you 15 entrepreneurs, whose travel startups are currently redesigning the travel scene of India:
1. Chitra Gurnani Daga (CEO & Co-founder, Thrillophilia)
Every popular tourist spot has its own list of must-have experiences, for example, scuba diving in Lakshadweep, yoga in Himachal Pradesh, etc. Missing these experiences is like finishing a trip with a large gap in it. Mrs. Daga, who along with her husband, has worked in various multinational companies like Infosys, came up with the idea of a travel startup, Thrillophilia to create a platform for travelers where they can book for various experiences. Currently, Thrillophilia offers more than 5000 such experiences in India.
2. Hrush Bhatt (Co-founder, Cleartrip)
Mr. Bhatt, a Mumbai dweller, who has been working in the digital space for the past ten years, decided to launch a travel startup, having the tagline: ‘Making travel simple’. This led to the birth of Cleartrip in 2006. It is considered to be one of the most successful Online Travel Company(OTC) businesses. Not only does it compare the fares across various railways, airways and hotels, it also allows its clients to sort the list by preferences. Other factors that make this travel startup unique, compared to other OTC businesses, is that it allows its users to change their reservations online, and also get a refund, if the cost of ticket drops below the pre-fixed amount, as the drop in prices is monitored by a Pricewatch option. No wonder Cleartrip has received so many positive reviews from its users!
3. Jayanti Rajgopalan (Founder, Detours India)
While other entrepreneurs are chiefly focused on providing best dining and luxuries, Mrs Rajgopalan, founder of Detours India, thought of a plan to offer guests an introduction to her city, Hyderabad, just like any local friend or neighbor, by focusing on local cuisines and delicacies. Creating a buffet plan, based on Hyderabadi dishes has been her masterstroke in expanding her travel startup across other states as well. One of the biggest successes of Detours India has been The Biriyani detour, which makes its way through the city across several Biryani hubs.
4. Gautam Shewakramani (Founder & CEO, AudioCompass)
Nowadays, due to our busy and hectic schedule, it’s not always possible to do some ‘homework’ before going on trips. And visiting a site, without knowing its history and stories is an unfinished experience. Mr. Shewakramani, an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management is the creator as well as the CEO of this travel startup, AudioCompass, which creates apps having built-in guide for various popular tourists spots in India, including Taj Mahal in Agra, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh etc. This makes the user feel knowledgeable about the site he/she is about to visit, which has been the main reason behind the rapid hit of AudioCompass.
5. Dilip Chhabria (Founder, DC design)
Luxury- A feature that adds sparks to the joy of travelling. And ever since the beginning of expansion of tourism, continuous efforts are being made to excel the comfort and grandeur in the course of travel. One such travel startup combining the lavish business class features with luxurious bus services is DC design, founded by Mr. Chhabria. The features include complimentary WiFi, 21-inch touch-screen personal entertainment systems, satellite TV, 24-inch-wide reclining seats, stewardesses to serve meals on-call and lots more!! In areas where travelling by air is not possible, these buses are serving as the best means of transport – a blend of luxury and comfort is fueling this travel startup.
6. Dinesh Shriram (CEO, Bharat Travels)
It’s been about sixty-seven years since the arrival of Bharat Travels, with its signature package of itineraries. Guided by art curators, archaeologists and mythologists, this travel startup is known for taking tourists on a tour to explore art, culture and architecture of ancient India. The key to the success of this travel startup, is to provide the right balance of context and relevance, thus gaining a large number of clients, including museum directors from New York, and companies such as Rolls-Royce.
7. Pushpinder Singh (CEO & Co-founder, Travelkhana)
Travelkhana – As the name suggests, travelling is incomplete unless you grab a plateful of yummies. Travelling in India often takes place via railways (as local sights cannot be accessed by airplanes!). Mr. Singh created this travel startup, by connecting a huge variety of restaurants with the client, via smartphones, while travelling on train. So next time you want to order a hot meal from a city or town, all you need to do is click on Travelkhana, book your meal from the restaurant across the cities, tracked by the railway routes, and have it delivered at the right time, in the exact seat!
8. Ish Jindal (Founder, Padhaaro)
Ever felt the disappointment of visiting a site and realizing that this place isn’t worth visiting? Well, this is a problem faced mainly by the foreign tourists who are unaware of the popularity of the tourist sites. Mr. Jindal has implemented the solution to this problem as the USP of his travel startup, Padhaaro.
Padhaaro connects tourists with people known as “Greeters”, who have considerable knowledge about the locality. The ‘Greeters’ charge a fee and guide the tourists throughout the city, exploring the city with detailed stories, recommending popular tourist spots, and warning them against sites that aren’t worth visiting. The idea was born when Ish Jindal, took a ferry ride in Moscow. He had no idea about the places he could visit in Moscow and the most economical way to reach there. That’s when he got assistance from a Russian fellow. He showed Mr. Jindal places he wouldn’t have reached just via following maps and websites.
As for the safety issues, all the greeters have to go through a number of interviews and background checks, before they are recruited, thus ensuring a memorable trip to clients.
9. Michael Pargal Lyngdoh (Co-founder, Tripoto)
Is it ever possible to make a mutual benefit between travelers and those wanting to travel? Well, thanks to Mr. Lyngdoh, co-founder of Tripoto, this plan finally came into existence. Located in New Delhi, this travel startup makes a day-to-day presentation of experiences of its clients. The tours extend to a varied range from wildlife safaris to city tours. Types of trips are based on personality type, duration of trip and cost. The aspect that makes it different from other travel startups is that travelling can be used as a way to earn living, as Tripoto provides the facility of certifying their members as Expert Travelers and offer their service as guides.
10. Vikrant Chheda, 32 (Co-founder, White Collar Hippie)
While other entrepreneurs focus their resources on luxuries and comfort, Mr. Chheda, co-founder of White Collar Hippie focuses on indigenous art and culture. Tourist package is something this travel startup dislikes. Instead, their main goal is to make tourists interact with the locals, visit their farms, live in camps or do homestays. All of these in a way that when they return home, they take back with themselves a unique memory of becoming a traveler minus the ‘tourist’ part. Unique in its own way, this travel startup doesn’t have a things-to-do list. Clients can stay for a longer time span at specific places which they find interesting. The Great Karnataka Journey of White Collar Trip earned quite some fame due to the flora and fauna sighting.
11. Piya Bose (Founder, Girls on the Go Club)
This lawyer-turned-entrepreneur decided to start her own travel startup named Girls on the Go Club, exclusively for women. The main goal of this travel startup is to empower women by tours and trips, boosting their confidence level and helping them blend themselves in a different locality, culture etc. From cruising in the Greek islands to trips to Morocco, Girls on the Go Club provides a wide variety of tours for women, who wish to step out of their comfort zone. This startup, with its unique concept, is gaining huge popularity among self-dependent women.
12. Rahul Salgia (CEO & Founder, DigiValet)
As a business consultant, what Mr. Salgia hated most was to struggle to find light switches in his hotel rooms, and having to remember his favorite TV channels on the TV sets. This led to the emergence of Digivalet, a hotel logistics software, by which not only can we order food or chat with other guests staying at the hotel, but it also keeps a track of dishes ordered repeatedly, newspapers preferred etc. Digivalet is being used by some of the finest hotels like Armani Hotel Dubai, and ITC Maurya, New Delhi.
13. Vikram Ahuja (Founder, Byond Travel)
The Burning Man Festival held in Nevada Desert, a seven-day music and arts festival that brings together around 50,000 people changed Vikram Ahuja’s outlook towards travelling. This experience made him realize that travelling isn’t just visiting the hotshot places in a city. A traveler also needs to expose himself to local cultures, arts, people, communities and food. So he started with Byond Travel which organizes and leads small-group journeys for like-minded travelers. Their groups range from women-only travelers to yoga, bikers to wine lovers, moms and kids. Their journeys feature personal interactions with local communities, cultures, arts, music and food.
14. Ishank Ahuja (Founder, MyTravel Pie)
With the concept of ‘experiential holidays’, Ishank Ahuja started with MyTravelPie with the intention of helping fellow travelers travel beyond the tourist trails. MyTravelPie believes that the essence of travelling lies in exploring the hidden lands, living with the locals and ditching the touristy delights for a true nomadic experience. They have a unique hand-picked collection of boutique hotels, offbeat resorts, homestays, eco-lodges and villas located in the lesser known parts of the world. Each property has to pass certain criteria to be listed on the website. Before listing the property, they personally go and visit the place, interact with the owners and review the quality and services. This helps them in providing the customers with in-depth information, advice and recommendations.
15. Sukhmani Singh (Co-Founder, SeekSherpa)
Sukhmani Singh along with Dhruv Raj Gupta started with SeekSherpa which creates a mobile platform using mobile application technology and Google messaging, and this platform connects travelers and locals. On this mobile platform, Sherpas i.e. locals can post experiences and answer travelers’ questions. On the other hand, travelers can ask questions and they can even direct their questions to a Sherpa of their preference and also book experiences.
It would be apt to say that travelling has led to growth of quite a number of successful travel startups. They are gaining popularity, rapidly undergoing expansion and leading to huge profits.
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