Is this startup India's answer to YMCA
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When people get exhausted while living their daily hectic routine, the first thing which strikes in mind is a holiday. Travelling has always been the first choice for travel bugs when it comes to recreation, exploring with friends and family etc. But it is not easy to plan a trip, especially for students or youth, as it has always been an expensive affair for them. They have to think twice before planning any trip with their close ones.ones.
Aadil Muscutwala and Rishabh Gupta have discovered a perfect solution for by introducing Vedanta Wake Up, a chain of backpacking hotels. With this startup, the duo aim to make folks travelling experience unique and memorable at an affordable cost.
Image: Founders, Vedanta Wake Up!
The idea of introducing organized hostelling in India was germinated during a trip to Australia in 2009 that the duo embarked on. The trip lasted for over two months on a measly budget of $20 a night.
Since then, the duo has backpacked extensively, trying to incorporate all the experience and learning of staying at over 100 hostels around the world.
“The key motive of Vedanta Wake up! is to let travellers live their dream of fun through inexpensive backpacking trip. India currently has more than 50 percent of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65 percent below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years. In this context, there is a need to give youth an option of budget travel, with all the amenities at great cost,” said Muscutwala.
Prior to starting their entrepreneurial journey, Muscutwala and Gupta went on to take the leap of faith and quit their high-paying jobs as analysts at Merrill Lynch and Deloitte Consulting respectively to set up their first property at Fort Kochi, India.
Niche Business Model
Although India has a number of budget hotels, the concept of backpacking hotel and shared rooms is fairly new for the Indian hospitality industry. Vedanta Wake up!is thus tapping this niche segment by offering rooms like dorm rooms for solo backpackers or college groups to private rooms for honeymooners.
“We are capitalizing on this opportunity to address the primary concerns of budget travellers and satisfy needs of guests from different segments,” explained Muscutwala.
With a capex of Rs 45 lakh for every hostel (with an average of 20 -30 rooms), Vedanta Wake Up! operates on an asset light model where it does not own the property, but invests in technology and housekeeping facilities.
Giving an insight into how the chain makes its properties operational, Muscutwala says, “We take unbranded properties, with 20-30 rooms, on long-term lease, standardize them as we follow uniform systems, processes across all our properties. It usually takes around 2 months to make a property operational. In contrast, the big brands usually take 2-3 years to become operational.”
What makes it Unique?
Startup is able to make its unique identity among other players dealing in the same space. It provides peculiar environment for travellers to meet fellow travellers, to know each other, share travel advices among themselves and making their travelling experience unique.
“Our mission is to enable guests, staying at Vedanta Wake Up! to have a socially fulfilling experience. Activities are organized every day at the properties enabling travellers to socialize at no extra cost. These include dinners at restaurants, bar crawls, music and movie nights, board game nights, cycling tours of the city, cooking classes, yoga sessions, etc,” Muscutwala.
Let’s talk about the future?
The interesting concept has been well-taken by Indian travellers. Today, Vedanta Wake up! have expanded to 10 properties in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Enjoying healthy domestic and international tourist mix, Startup is witnessing great demand from students and young professionals.
“We focus on providing supreme comfort, cleanliness, hygiene and security to meet the needs of budget travellers,” said Muscutwala.
While drafting an extensive expansion plan, startup is aggressively evaluating properties for its expansion in bigger cities, untapped markets such as emerging towns and cities, religious destinations and industrial hubs.
Moreover, Venture aims to become one of the largest operators of hostels in the country by FY2018 with over 7,300 dorm beds and 1,900 private rooms across 107 properties.
“What started out as a passion to extend our love for backpacking and hostelling to Indian traveller has evolved into a venture with clear visibility of scale, non-linear growth and profitability,” opined Muscutwala.
Considering its massive expansion plans, the chain is on its way to become one of the most formidable brands in Indian budget accommodation space and a dominant force in the world hostelling space.
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