Few years ago buying travel packages was the most convenient thing for a holiday. Then came the era of online hotel and flight booking. Today, the internet is flooded with hotel and flight booking services but there is a missing substance in that segment – finding and booking local experiences such as sightseeing tours, activities, attraction tickets and passes to events.
What many big names in the travel industries could not think of, three Bangalore based young entrepreneurs from India have done. Varun Khona with his experience of being an entrepreneur from an early age, Vikram Jit Singh with his expertise in coding and designing and Suren Sultania with his operational and financial expertise, created Tourlandish.
Tourlandish is a global online marketplace that assists travellers find and book adventures and destination based famous ‘things to do’. In doing so, the website also helps service providers distribute inventory online enabling them to be discovered by travellers.
It has been only one month since the service was opened to travellers and they have already managed to sell experiences in 38 cities across 14 countries!
The company has made its presence felt in Singapore, Bangkok, Sydney and Barcelona. Cities like Phuket, Bali, Dubai and Mumbai will soon be added. With a strong focus on traffic to and Asia, the startup company plans to span its presence to over 50 cities by the end of 2014.
We at The World Reporter got a chance to interview the Tourlandish team.
How did you come up with this idea?
It was a strange combination of a personal experience and professional feedback.
Varun (who is now my co-founder) was planning a trip to Europe to meet me and had a long list of ‘must experience’ activities. We struggled with the emails, calls, language barriers etc. while talking to these offline businesses providing extremely interesting local experiences. 80% of them didn’t have a bookable website and it was a pretty annoying affair given this was 2012. We ended up spending precious hours googling, calling, emailing these folks.
Around the same time, the feedback from customers using Trippy’s services largely centred around the fact that they were very comfortable booking flights and hotels online but stumbled when it comes to discovering ‘things to do’ and its booking.
The combination of these two factors clearly signalled an opportunity.
He pitched this idea at Startup Weekend Bangalore and ended up winning the competition. That gave us a lot of confidence to take that leap of faith.
What challenges did you face while converting this idea into a business?
From the beginning, we’ve had a very clear idea of how we want to build this business and what our business model would be. The biggest challenge that we faced when we started was in terms of identifying and reaching out to tour operators around the world to work with them. Another key challenge was our lack of financial and human resources which meant we were always understaffed. However, that has forced us to keep our ship lean and do things more efficiently.
Why have not you launched your services in India yet?
India is a wonderful country. Inbound tourism to India is growing rapidly and there are a number of experiential products that can be created around history, culture, food, nature, attractions, adventure sports etc. in a country like ours. However, the big challenge with the Indian market is the limited number of professional, organised operators. However, we’re slowly seeing a trend towards professional suppliers here and I think once this problem is solved, we can look at India in a big way.
There are already some cities / regions in India where we’re seeing professional operators in significant numbers and we’re looking to work closely with the industry to continue this trend. We will be launching in Mumbai this February.
What is the monetization model for Tourlandish?
Our monetization model is very simple – we charge a fee to the operators on the revenues they generate through the Tourlandish marketplace. We do not charge a fee to the traveller and there is no mark-up or hidden costs in our prices.
How big do you consider Indian market given that not many ‘things to do’ local services have online presence, providing you ample opportunities to connect them with your global marketplace.
I believe the Indian market for local travel services can be very big with the huge potential of products that we have. It’s difficult to put a number since the products and supplier base is still evolving here but typically it is around 20% of the total in-destination tourism spend. So clearly, the opportunity is there. The Indian market is definitely very important for us and we want to be a part of its evolution.
Find them on the web and win a free adventure experience – Headout.com
How To Make Your Small Business Global
So, your small business is doing well, you’ve conquered your market and everything is running along smoothly. So what’s next? Do you cruise along just enjoying your success? Or do you push yourself and your business to see how far you can take it? That’s right, keep going and see where you can take it. Thanks to this increasingly connected world you can grow your small business and make it global, but how?
Do your homework
DOn’t do anything without doing proper research first. Find out what the market is like in other countries, if there is a need or demand for your product. Are there competitors there? What are they doing and how are they doing it differently to you? Look at everything from the cost efficiency, to the legal regulations and know everything there is to know.
Know the culture
You need to be aware of other cultures and how they may perceive your business and your content. You also need to know how to do business in other countries and what cultural practices are. For example, is shaking hands okay, or is there another way of greeting people? Is it okay to hand out business cards? Find out all of these small details because they could make or break your opportunity to do business in a particular country.
Make friends with local experts
It’s a good idea to get to know as many local experts as you can and get as much advice from them as possible. You should also listen to what they say and not think you know better. Accept their help and let them tell you about best practices and how things like social media work in that country
Learn the language
Don’t let language barriers slow down your success. Put in the effort and learn the language for the country you wish to do business in. Not only does it make things easier for you but it shows that you respect the country and want to be a part of it.
Visit each country
If you’re thinking of going into more than one country or you’re undecided where to start, then you should visit each country. Even though everything can be done online now, it doesn’t mean it has to be and you can make better decisions when you’re in the country. It might be easier when it comes to how to choose China freight forwarder online but if you’re choosing material for your manufacturing process and a person who you’re going to be working closely with, then it’s better to be in the country. Once you know how things work and have established a few things, then it will be easier to do the rest online.
Although it can be a lot of hard work to take your company global, you can do it and many others have done it before you so take their advice. There are so many tools and strategies now available to help you expand your business globally, so make the most of them. Just remember to take it slowly, take it one country at a time, and don’t set your heart on world domination just yet.
Steps You Can Take to Make Your Business More Successful
There are so many steps you can take in order to help you have a strong business that you can work on making more successful. You need to think about doing what you can to hit the ground running as a business, and this is something that plays a big part in helping you develop the company. There are a lot of ideas you need to keep in mind when it comes to trying to make your company more successful.
Make sure you do as much as possible to improve the process of running a business, and this is something you need to make the most of right now. Try to think about what it takes to make the most of this right now and there are plenty of ideas that play a part in helping your company stand out.
Market More Successfully
Try to make sure you do as much as you can to market the company more successfully, and this is something that is going to have a massive impact on your success. You need to get the promotional part of the business right as much as you can, and this is something that you are going to need to figure out as much as possible. Work on taking things to the next level, and try to come up with ideas that will help you to achieve this right now.
Give People Something Different
Making sure you give people something a bit different is absolutely crucial when it comes to improving and enhancing the success of the company right now. Try to make sure you do as much as you can to improve this and make your business more competitive in the process. There are a lot of factors that play a part in this, and you need to think outside the box and figure out how you are able to improve the appeal of the company, and the services you offer.
Engaging more with the public is really essential, and there is a lot that can be done in order to achieve this. Social media is one of the best platforms you can use to improve the way you engage with your customers right now. There are so many ideas you have to keep in mind that can make this much easier and more effective. Using as many social media sites as possible is one of the best ways of being able to achieve better engagement, but you also need a great website and multiple ways of communicating with customers.
Hire Experts to Help You
Another thing that you need to consider when it comes to achieving this is to make sure you are focused on being able to bring in experts to help you. This is a massively important part of the process, and something you need to think about for the future right now. Try to make sure you focus on this for the future, and try to work on hiring experts like Australian Adam Blumenthal, who can play a key role in advising and helping your business decisions, and allowing the company to grow in the process.
Make sure you try to do as much as you can to make the most of this right now, and there are plenty of things that play a role in this. Make sure you look at some of the best ways of being able to take your company to the next level. Try to think about what it takes to improve the process and make sure you can make your business more of a success in the long run.
3 Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Company Culture
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost everyone’s lives in some way. That includes businesses across the world. Unfortunately, many of them have had to shutter completely. Others, however, are trying to figure out how to reopen and restructure safely and effectively.
If your company has been fortunate enough to remain standing through this pandemic, and you’re wondering what to do next, now is the perfect time to consider your overall workplace culture.
Whether you want to attract new employees or you realize it’s time for a change, upgrading your company culture can make a big difference in the success of your business as you move forward into a “new normal”.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few ways you can upgrade the culture of your company from within, in order to make positive changes that employees and customers/clients alike can appreciate.
1. Upgrade the Look of Your Business
It might not seem extremely important, but giving your company an external makeover can make a big difference in the environment you’re trying to create. First, start by decluttering your office space. Creating an environment that encourages working together in open spaces can make everyone feel more welcome and invited.
Next, let in more natural light. If you have large windows in your building, put them to good use instead of covering them. Invest in a Glass Polishing company to make them sparkle for you. Natural light can boost energy and productivity.
Even the colors you choose for your office can make a big difference. Color psychology is a real thing, so do your research on the best colors that will promote creativity and encourage productivity.
2. Arrange Weekly Meetings – With Everyone
We’re living in uncertain times. Just because employees are heading back to work doesn’t mean those uncertainties simply go away. It’s important to keep employees in the know as much as possible. So, why not just make it a rule within your company?
One of the best ways to do that is by holding weekly meetings with everyone. You can choose different ways to do that. You might benefit from having everyone in one room to talk about the state of your business and where you want to go. Or, you could branch off into different groups and meet with a different section of your business each day.
Whatever the case, make communication and transparency a priority in your workplace environment. It will help everyone to feel more comfortable, more equal, and more valued. It will also boost your employees’ spirits by giving them a voice and making them aware that their ideas and opinions truly matter within your business.
3. Encourage Positivity
Remember, no matter what the state of your business may be, you’re in charge. As a result, the things you say and do will set the tone for your company. So, it’s important to be as positive as possible, as often as possible.
Even if things aren’t going well, or you’re worried about the state of your company, keeping a positive attitude will carry over to your employees and help them to feel better about the work they are doing.
That doesn’t mean you need to hide things from them. If the business is struggling, it’s okay to talk about it. But, put a realistically positive spin on it. Most of the time, things can be fixed. You can recover. Use that mindset and attitude to motivate your employees and encourage fresh, new ideas. No one wants to work in an environment that is constantly negative or induces stress. You can change the entire culture of how people feel about coming to work by showcasing positivity every single day.
Not only can it help to boost the work your employees are able to produce, but it will improve everyone’s attitudes toward each other. Now, more than ever, kindness and patience are important. A positive environment can foster more of those things, and create a more welcoming workplace for everyone.
As you can see, it doesn’t have to be difficult to upgrade your company culture. Whether you want to make adjustments to some of your business practices or actually change the look and feel of your company, now is the time to pull the trigger on changing your workplace culture. Not only will your business benefit but your employees will feel more empowered than ever.
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