Funding to Travel Startups in India is Picking Up, Latest One Spells Online Demand
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Vacations are “very emotional purchase” and the Indian market has seen an immense volume of progress in the travel industry over the recent years. In this promising stage along with the rise of the consumers' count, the number of service providers are also on the rise. And promising travel startups like PickYourTrail are paving their ways in earning funds with the vision to take the industry off to new levels. Travel genie PickYourTrail has already bagged $3 million from its Series A funding.
Spelling more about the funding and the domestic and international spaces in the travel sector, Srinath Shankar and Hari Ganapathy, the founders of the travel startup, say that the idea behind the generation of the funding came in as they started witnessing a lot of traction in the market and consumers started availing their services more and more. “The idea behind the funding is that the product is working. We are even getting expensive bookings worth INR 20 lakhs. We saw a lot of traction towards our product and we understood that the time is good for us to scale this brand and take it to more people. Technologies are a lot more available right now than it was a year back,” Shankar starts explaining.
Continuing further, Ganapathy states that the market has matured, which means a definite steeper competition than before. Expounding how the funding will help the company, he highlights, “In order to be at par the competitive market, we need the top-notch hires to support the company. The company will be hugely focusing on talent acquisition, so they can scale the business non-linearly.
Some great investors have also come on board. We can now concentrate a lot more on innovation from the fund money that came in.” All these, as the co-founders believe will also help the company to pose itself as a strategic player in the market.
Inclination in the Travel Space
The existing inclination of the travel sector is towards international trips because they are more instagramable, more likeable on facebook, and are more brands worthy. Given a choice to pick between a domestic spot and a trip to a foreign country for the same amount of expenses, travellers mostly side with foreign vacations.
The Surge in International Vacations
Owning experience in the international travel sector, Shankar pin pointed with ease the reasons that are actually influencing the heave. He opines that today there are about 60 million passport holders and that is directly proportional to the size of the market travel businesses can reach out to.
Shifting his focus from international to domestic markets, he mentions that in India there are about 65-70 countries that offer visa on arrival or e-visa, on top of that the country has 65-70 countries have direct flights from India. “This means that as a market, the country has matured significantly in the travel space in terms of access, paperwork and aspirations of the Indians. Travelling abroad has become a part of mainstream lifestyle choice. It has become very aspirational for the current generation. Look at TV shows and movies. Everywhere travelling is being highlighted. All of that stitched together becomes very promising and becomes a huge market potential for the market in the country,” he says.
And, all these positive turns in the country’s travel sector happened mostly because of digitization that has backed the online vacation booking market to range somewhere between $3-5 billion.
Domestic vs International Travels
The obvious inclination of the new-age travellers in the country is towards international travels and Ganpathy from PickYourTrail pronounces, “From market size perspective both of them are very similar. But in terms of audience count, domestic travel space shows bigger surge, although this doesn’t mean that the international vacation as a market is far behind.”
Adding further, he says, “Although it is only behind in terms of frequency or ticket size, what it compensates for is that like domestic travel, international travels also offer trips of short-haul vacation for three to four days and trips that last for days.”
Helping Travellers is the Key
Trying to understand what the travellers are looking for from their service providers is the key driver for the existing and upcoming businesses trying to make a groundbreaking presence in the market. With the growth of the market, various other demands have started surfacing. And, as Shankar points out, “Price and availability are very clear hooks. Customers are now also looking for activities while visiting a place.”
Noting down the new requirements, the duo expect to build a product with technology to bridge the gap in the industry. They want to understand the consumers and build services around them.
“To achieve the fulfilment, we are also trying to bring technology in the travel sphere and here our app helps us. It tells you about the forthcoming weather, what you should pack for your trip and while you are staying in a hotel since we already know your cuisine type, the app recommends which restaurants you can visit in the hotel you are staying and even recommends activities as per your interests,” he explains.
PickYourTrail provides personalized itinerary recommendations, which suit their customers’ needs and optimize their customers’ time and cost. "We even tell our customers about the views of the hotels they are staying," he points out.
Striving ahead, apart from hiring, the company wants to focus on technology and as the duo state, they will do whatever they can to make the international vacation buying experience more contextual, relevant and will try to augment the entire customer delight part of it.
Although the market looks promising and the industry is aspirational for a lot of people, the founding duo wraps up with a word of advice, “If you want to stay in this space, you need to continuously improve and innovate to stay relevant and ahead in the market.”