How three IITians launched Holidify to discover little known places
During their college days at IIT-Bombay, Kovid Kapoor, Rohit Shroff, and Prateek Chauhan were always on the lookout for weekend holiday destinations. Their friends too scouted for little known places to visit. They soon exhausted all the travel options available online and realized two shortcomings in the industry: “The destination choices offered by most websites are limited and generally populist in nature, leaving very little options, especially if one is a power traveler. In that scenario, travelers have lesser independence in choosing a destination and have to depend on what is being offered,” Rohit found. That’s where the idea for Holidify came from. After the trio graduated from IIT-B, they worked with some startups briefly, and launched Holidify a few months ago.
There are several startups evangelizing destination discovery currently as more and more domestic travellers prefer to head to the unknown, far flung places. In fact, personalized destination discovery, adventure and experiential holidays, activity based trip planning are all being sold aggressively in India. What differentiates Delhi based Holidify from other startups in this space is that Holidify offers map-based approach which enables users to have a broader perspective of the destinations.
Holidify helps travellers right in the first step of trip planning. It helps users find the perfect destination, and removes the bias of popularity which typically comes in a list or a grid view format. The startup ensures that even if user arrive on the website with no preference in mind (beach or a hill-station, etc.), he/she can still start browsing places by themselves.
Besides a map-based approach, Holidify has comprehensive travel guides. “Our content team has created the best possible guides for each destinations on our page by using various online and offline resources so that our users get all the information at one place,” Rohit says. The guide helps users to decide on their final destination and also plan their trip , things to do, what and where to eat, options to stay, travelling within the city with hand-picked images of the destination. On personalization front, the startup ensures that users see only what they want to see “We are using a social connect which helps users create their profile, store their travel information which we use further to customize the site for them,” says Rohit.
The startup is currently in beta stage and Rohit says that the traction so far has been very encouraging. “We released our private beta product this month and are inviting users in a controlled manner, even though requests for invites have been overwhelming, that too without any publicity,” he adds. Currently, Holidify focuses on collecting feedback which they say has been constructive till now. The company will be soon opening its website to everyone. “We don’t have a direct competitor when it comes to destination discovery. However, in due course of time, we would be competing with the likes of mustseeindia.com, ixigo.com and holidayiq.com.
The entire process of starting up is indeed much more challenging than it looks from the outside, says Rohit. The major challenge for Holidify is how to get the right people on board. “Getting talented as well as motivated people for almost negligible money is very difficult, especially techies,” adds Rohit. Another challenge was working with almost no funds. The trio didn’t have much savings but they didn’t want to compromise on the quality of the product. “This made the entire process a bit slow, but, it’s better to be slow rather than compromising on the quality,” says Rohit.
Currently, the company is focusing on building the product. In the next few months, Holidify would be looking only at the Indian market and will tie-up with offline and online travel agents so that it could also help users in executing their planned trips. In the long term, the company would expand to other geographies, help users plan their multi-city trips and raising funds to grow quickly and build team.
Visit holidify.com for a private beta access.