Travel Startups in India

I was there at a startup saturday a couple of weeks back in Bangalore. One of my friends started a company called MoneyBulb and the main idea was to go there as an advocate of my friend's company.
I enjoyed the few hours that I stayed there and got to meet exciting people with a lot of exciting ideas. Something that struck me was a lot of pitches from travel startups.  No doubt this is one of the most exciting and growing industries in India.
Whether it is the number of foreign tourist arrivals in India or the Indian tourists themselves, the whole scenario is undergoing rapid change.
First we got to hear about This company recently got some focus because they won some initial funding for their startup. Mr Prateek Sharma , one of the founders of the company described how it all started and clicked for them. While this company is mostly focused on international travels and international customers, but it is a core startup from India.

Then we heard a nice talk from Mr Niranjan Gupta, the founder of Being a seasoned entrepreneur and having owned travel companies in the past , he provided a really insightful view into the travel industry. He mentioned how he has been involved mostly in the concept building while delegating the operations or backend coding or technology related stuff to others. Understanding of customers and their needs was the crux of his talk. His new and latest startup is called Trip38. No, I did not ask him why 38 ?

Next there was a very crazy kind of entrepreneur of Exploreall . WAIT !
Do not click that link because it seems his domain is taken over. Anyways, the idea was confusing. As a young entrepreneur he did a lot of stuff , and he wanted to showcase Andhra Pradesh and its tourist destinations and a lot of other stuff too. While the main idea was fine there was a lot of clutter and since we already have a lot of details on tourist places of Andhra Pradesh it was not clear what problem he was addressing.

There were a couple of startups focusing on the women travelers of the 21st century. The first one was Beautiful Journey. If you open their website you will see its really beautifully done. So the first impression goes well. In fact a detailed look shows the itineraries are also very nice, photos are delightful and refreshing. Even Shopping Options are mentioned. I hope this startup clicks well with its customer base. Of course the main part of any travel startup is the actual travel and the real experiences will soon spread by word of mouth to potential customers.

If that was a niche , here is another one called F5 Escapes. While the naming is clever and some neat Logo design , this one appears to be more under construction. Come on - we need more options to browse through. It also appears its mostly for short trips. Itinerary design needs work. In fact the one I opened , the itinerary was shorter than the inclusions,exclusions,refunds/cancellation etc. A definite turn away. I hope this improves.

A word of advice for both these niche startups was to expand the customer base to couples too. [ Not my advice]

One of the best ones was Trip Thirsty . Feeling thirsty for a trip ?? Well this is the link to go to. The founders have crafted a set of trips that are offbeat and will make you sweat. It includes adventure activities and trekking. The website is very nice and clutter free. I liked the concept of  who is going and who has done it. Although I feel a redesign is on the way because Icon based websites become difficult to browse with more content. However this niche will have some competition from the likes of Great Indian Outdoors. The founders mentioned a couple of names which I forgot. But I feel many companies can easily move in to this space.

Finally , there was some nice talk about B2B Travel and Hospitality. This link will take you to a facebook page. This mostly deals with responsibility and entrepreneurs should definitely be part of it. Even normal and frequent travelers and people in administration should take a look. Last year I had also mentioned something similar in a blog 'Traveling with Responsibility'.
I would be also be very happy to understand how Bali receives more tourists than Goa from a similar perspective.

Well that was all that I came to know from the Startup Saturday. However today I came across Plan My Travel. You will find a lot of travel ninjas here who will probably give you expert guidance and itinerary details where you want to travel. It seems a bit overwhelming at the moment with too many dollar ($) signs which clearly indicate its for foreign travelers. The Facebook group seems nice and I really liked the blog here on Sunderbans.

Finally I should certainly mention YellowLeg. The main business seems to be information on travel related books and helping to plan for travel. There are a lot of travel mavens and experts. The website is quite confusing but there is certainly a lot of information. The concept of travel ninjas are present here as well.

Kicks and Comments welcome.

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