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
Preparing To Start A New Business: Things To Think About
There aren’t many people who don’t daydream about becoming their own boss. However, the percentage of those who do daydream about and those who actually do it is a lot lower. What is it about becoming our own boss that stops us from following our dreams and turning a dream into a reality?
For many people, it is the fear of the unknown. Not knowing if you are making the right decision can be the tipping point for many people. Another hurdle is money and, dare we say it; self-belief can be a huge factor in starting your own business. If you don’t believe in what you are selling, then it goes without saying that no one else will either.
Removing all the obstacles you place in front of yourself is the first step to starting your journey to becoming your own boss.
Every new start-up and trading business needs a business plan. Why? Well, for starters to steer you in the right direction to making a success for your new venture. Knowing what you want from your company, where it is going and where it could potentially go will give you something to aim for and make sure you deliver what is required to make your company successful.
Essentially it is a detailed list of the projected journey of the company to help you steer it in the right direction. What the plan involves can be different depending on your trajectory and what you are offering, but the following will help you to form a plan and know where to start.
- What are you selling?
- Who is your customer base?
- What percentage profit can you expect to make in the first year?
- What is your initial outlay cost to get up and running?
- Is there scope to expand in your sector?
- Do you have a USP? (Unique Selling Point)
- How do you plan to find and attract customers?
- Why will your customers stay with your company?
- How do you plan to evolve the company and expand?
- Are there ways you can adapt what you do and offer more services/different products?
- Where do you see the company in 5 years?
- How do you plan to get your company to that point in 5 years?
A thorough and detailed plan will help you for many years to come, not just for their initial starting period.
And know what you want to do and how you plan to get there. Building a new company for the wrong reasons will never work out well and may end up leaving you in a worse place than you were before you started. With as many as 50% of businesses failing in the first five years, knowing how to succeed and being willing to do what it takes will help you stand the test of time if you are genuinely doing it for the right reasons.
Combine your goals with your personal drive and perseverance and make sure that you are fully committed to making it a success. Simply starting a new business because you dislike working for other people or you think it is a get rich quick scheme will no doubt be your undoing if this is why you are starting a new business.
Do you need money to get the company up and running? If so, you need to know precisely what you need and how much money you will need before you start looking for loans or financial backers. Some companies will be able to start up on a very small or even no budget at all. Other companies will need to look at purchasing stock, finding premises, and making sure they have everything they need to run their company successfully.
Warehouses, industrial sheds, offices, and tech for employees don’t come cheap, so factoring them into your budget is essential before you start looking for finance options.
Is there a market for what you are selling?
Who is your ideal customer? How are you going to sell them? If there is no market for your service or product, chances are you may struggle to find suitable buyers or to get people’s attention.
Being able to identify a gap in the market and fill it will help you to attract the right customer for your company. You need to demonstrate a willingness to be able to adapt to meet the demands of a changing market and satisfy the consumer needs as and when they change. Diversifying is something that will help your company stay heads and shoulders above the rest and keep you relevant and able to fulfil your client’s needs as they change.
Having a unique selling point will mean you are offering people something they aren’t getting elsewhere or may not even realize they need. Identify a gap in the market and strive to fill it before someone else does. A great way to do this is by asking current or potential clients what they are looking for and what would make their lives easier. Then, you can adapt what you do to meet this demand.
Keep an eye on the competition
Always know what they are doing and make sure you are competing on the same playing field. Copying them may seem dishonest but staying ahead of the market is essential for your company to survive, so make it your business to know new and emerging trends within your sector. Keep on top of client demands and know exactly who your competitors are and what they are offering.
Make sure to stick to your company’s values and integrate any new ideas, ways of working, or new products/services as and when demand calls for it and emulate the success of your competition for yourself.
Starting off on the right foot with a solid plan in place will give you a better head start when it comes to starting up your business.
The best services to improve your business’ online presence
Internet was, by far, the biggest XXI century revolution, bringing a lot of changes into our lives. One of the most significant changes that have occured over the last decades can be seen on business management and how adapting to the internet era can have a significant effect on our company’s profits. With the help of professionals in the sector, we can launch our business right into the digital media world and increase our yearly income dramatically.
Creating a webpage for your business
Since internet became a significant part of our lives, the way we see business has dramatically changed. In today’s society, a company without a web page is perceived as obsolete and ends up missing a lot of potential business.
By hiring the services a web design Sant Cugat assistant, you will be able to create a webpage to launch your business right into the internet era. Studies show that having a webpage not only increases the visibility of the business, but companies with a nice, simple and fast design, help keeping the customers attention, assisting companies on keeping potential business chances that otherwise would had been taken somewhere else.
Web designing companies are aware of how important this may be for small business owners, that is why now we can find professional website designer services like the ones offered by Mudblu.
Mudblu is a website design company created keeping the needs of business owners’ into mind. It does not matter that you are not very familiar with internet and how websites works, Mudblu will have you covered all along the way. By joining their monthly subscription services, you will have your website designed and ready to get started, as well as the assistance of your own website building team. One of the things that makes this company a smart option for small business is their customer support team, who will assist you all year on any problem or doubt that could come across regarding your website.
Trusting only the best professionals in the sector for your Google quality score
Internet has brought a lot of changes to the traditional way in which we perceive business. Nowadays, a company is destined to fail without the proper internet presence. The most notorious example of this has to do with our company’s Google quality score. By hiring the assistance of a professional quality score agency, you will be able to dramatically improve your business in an easy way.
A company that will help you improve your business relationship with Google is Quality Score Agency. Quality Score Agency, as its own name may suggest, is a company that focuses on improving companies quality scores. But the services this company offers go far beyond that, offering companies social media advertising services, google ads, etc.
Although Quality Score Agency is based in Spain, they operate worldwide with clients in countries all around the globe, and are recently starting expansion with the opening of new offices in Miami and Colombia.
Launching your business’ social media presence
Social media has become a vital part for the majority of internet users. Studies show that the average user spends around 2 hours and a half per day on checking their social media pages. Because of that, having a strong social media presence has become the best form of advertisement a company can have.
One of the most relevant social media websites over the last years have been Instagram. We can easily find Instagram pages for the more relevant companies in the market, which are gaining a lot of traction among their followers. But, how can our business compete with these big companies?
An easy way to achieve this is by purchasing Instagram likes. This practice would help us raise our social media presence, since Instagram posts with a big number of likes are able to reach broader audiences.
6 Things Your Company Must Do to Break Its Startup Shell
Growing a startup is no easy task, but there are a couple of things that you absolutely must do if you want to break out of that startup shell and walk among the well-established businesses in your industry. So in this post, we’re going to look at some of the most crucial things your business must do in order to break free from the label of a startup.
1. Focus on your audience more than ever
Whether it’s listening to customer feedback or engaging them on social media, there are lots of ways for you to focus on your audience. You can get endless value out of listening to your audience thanks to the feedback they give. As long as you keep an ear open to them and start taking on their feedback and criticism, you’ll easily be able to work out what to do next for your business.
2. Brace yourself for failures
Every company fails in its lifetime. Whether it’s an accident on social media, a poor product launch or a legal issue, there are lots of ways for your business to screw up and fall out of the limelight. However, bouncing back from these mistakes and learning from the past are key ways to help you grow your business.
3. Take control of your workflow
The less control you have of your workflow, the harder it’ll be to scale your business. Between using cloud-based accounting services to signing up for a cheap VPS for all of your server hosting needs, there are plenty of ways to take control of your workflow. This will help you not only understand your business better but also help you save money in the long run.
4. Start training your employees
It’s vital that you start training your employees so that they can be prepared to become managers and senior leaders in the future. A growing business will go through plenty of staff members, so it’s essential that you train them up to be valuable members of staff in the future. This could mean hiring a consultant to help train them or it could mean mentoring them yourself.
5. Evolve your idea by diversifying or specializing
There are two approaches to growing your business; you either diversify your company or you specialize. Trying to do both will only make things more difficult because you’re spreading your resources thinly. Make sure you focus on offering either a diverse range of similar products or perfecting a single product or service before you make something else.
6. Reduce your expenses as much as possible without reducing your quality
It’s vital that you start saving money to help grow your business, so look for ways to cut down on your expenses without reducing the quality of your products and services. This can be difficult depending on how much capital you have, but you should ideally be reinvesting every penny you make back into your business after paying everyone’s wages.
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