It’s the biggest event in your organization, and you have been given that daunting task of finding the perfect venue for the event. In these modern times, the logical thing is to surf the net for a venue that suits your requirements. “With close to 1 lakh plus corporates organizing regular functions every month, 12000 trainers doing an average of 5 training days per month, 1 crore plus marriages happening a year in India, 4000 plus birthday parties and out of the 5.25 lakh venues available, there are only 2% of these venues listed on the internet,” says Himanshu Joshi. This was a surprising insight that Himanshu discovered when he was unable to find an appropriate venue with good technology for conducting his training workshops in various cities. There was no dearth of venues, but locating them turned out to be a major challenge. In the life span of a human being, we go through various events, where we need suitable venues for these activities. Be it personal, social, official events and so on. However still over 98% of venue searches are done manually which makes the whole process extremely challenging for venue seekers and in turn for the service providers. Right from finding the right place, on time, travel, budgets, choices, insufficient information, lack of infrastructure, facilities and many more such aspects makes this whole venue management space still highly unorganised and technologically handicapped business.
MeraVenue.com was conceived when Himanshu realised that there was a huge potential in this highly fragmented market with no players clearly offering an organized and real time online listing & booking service. Therefore he started tying up the loose ends together to start MeraVenue.com India’s first & largest online venue management and search platform. MeraVenue aims to provide reservation facility for more than 1 lakh venues across 1,000 cities in India and over 22.50 lakh venues around the world. “Along with the back end venue management system, we provide information, pricing, availability, and booking facility for domestic and international venues for any purpose. We offer a host of services designed to make venue management and search, profitable & convenient for the customer. We are just a year old and as of now we are focusing only on venues which can be used for trainings and seminars to begin with,” says Himanshu.
The market is not devoid of competition and has many players big and small like Redbus.in, Makemytrip.com, Venuemirror.com etc. “We draw advantage from many of these, in terms of an exhaustive data base of 40 plus types of venues, other than hotels which can be used for multiple purposes. There is no requirement of manual intervention while booking venues, full details of each venue with well negotiated prices etc is available on site,” says Himanshu. He claims they are far ahead in terms of planning, execution and depth. And while they maybe working on the first phase of their plans, they have their fifth phase plan ready: “which is really innovative and beyond imagination for those who are also providing venues,” claims Himanshu.
This is happening first time in India where a startup is creating an database of venues, which probably even local municipal corporations have not bothered keeping at one place. Customers can access MeraVenue.com through its website, or call their 24×7 call center or through their mobile phones. A customer needs to simply select the preferred city from the options given on the website; purpose and the number of people who would be attending the event. Once the venue is selected, the website shows details about availability, pricing, booking form, payment options etc. The venue confirmation mail follows post payment. The bookings can be cancelled and refunds will be as per rules of the venue provider.
Himanshu says its been quite a challenge for their three business development managers to go around hunting for venues and convince the venue providers to list their venues on the website. Physical inspection is a must for every venue to ensure there is credibility of the service provided to the venue seekers. In short, the database of venues is collected by way of physical inspection in the fields as well as collating already listed data of existing venues and hotels. Other team members at MeraVenue include three web developers, a customer relationship executive, and four directors – who take care of the entire process functions smoothly to support the customer and his queries. “Within a short span of time we have 60% plus visitors coming back to our site and 1.34 lakhs page views. We actively advertise on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Adword, Twitter, etc to promote our services,” says Himanshu. E-mail, SMS and tele-calling are also the other methods which would eventually be used to promote venue services.
While the startup is yet to break even, they have already managed to have a topline of make Rs 4.5 lakhs in the last financial year, says Himanshu. MeraVenue.com’s vision is to be known as the most trusted and user friendly state-of-art venue management and search platform in India and the world. They also have plans to launch their mobile application on Android & iPhone by next month. The startup is looking to raise seed capital of around Rs 50 lakhs in the first phase for product development and marketing and thereafter another Rs 5 crores to expand their business across the globe.