Ankit Rastogi and Swapnil Srivastava, Founders, IndiaHotelReview.com
The moment you visit the website of India Hotel Review (IHR) on the internet, you know that it is not the usual book and deliver travel website but something that makes an attempt in reaching out to you. And that is exactly what it is.
Started initially by Ankit Rastogi, Swapnil Srivastava and three other friends as an intended travel blog, the company today has become a big wanted commodity in travelling circles. Ankit, an NIT, Surat alumnus and Gold Medallist tells us, "We never really imagined we would get this big. We always wanted to as starters, but we never realised back then that it would become this big. We started IHR back in November 2006 under Vriti.com as a holiday discussion blog and only provided information about different hotels."
What clicked for IHR was their totally different strategy. "As an avid traveller myself, I tried to focus and spread awareness about lesser known places around the country. We would cover different places like Matralaya in Andhra Pradesh and Munnar in Kerela which although otherwise unknown, are very beautiful places. Arunachal is like the untapped Kashmir but has not been highlighted as much." These "smaller" and relatively untouched spots are the biggest market providers for IHR today which today boasts of a large and satisfied audience.
"All other travel sites cater to the usual places and the usual travelling class....however we provide travelling expiriences for the known as well as the unknown and must-visit places for all types of people. We have a variety of packages that are always flexible in all respects so that our customers never have any qualms," says Ankit.
Soon after its launch, IHR caught readers’ fancy as users started posting queries and opinions on a regular basis. The administrators decided to start a 'Q&A' concept which has now been emulated by many other platforms too. The questions which then came in twos and threes on a daily basis have now snowballed into 30's and 50's daily and seem to go only upwards in numbers. Even their directory, which was earlier intended to be a small but comprehensive list of hotels, has grown on to become to biggest directory of hotels among Indian websites.
Gradually requests for bookings came in when the users saw how detailed the knowledge about the places and hotels displayed on the blogs was. Although not intially planned, the team started booking hotels for its users and today it has become one of the leading travel solutions provider on the website.
Initially the seed capital for the company came from the savings and inputs of the founder friends. Today the comapny is run by a small but able workstaff that makes sure that any query of the user is well answered. The company has seen challenging phases where getting tieups and content for the website was difficult. But then patience helped them see through these times and they soon had tieups with various government tourism associations. Infact, they are the first website to have forged a tieup with Jammu and Kashmir Tourism! Several other such tieups with various governments have continued to prosper.
Thereafter a survey by a European company ranked them as the BEST WEBSITE OF THE YEAR which gave them a bigger presence. However, all this has not caused any change in their dedication towards their customers. At times people here, even Ankit himself sometimes, get directly involved with hotels and customers on a personal level to help them overcome hassles in their travels. IHR may not necessarily give you the additional perks and privileges but they promise you the basic comforts and amneties to make sure your travels are as comfortable as possible.
Thinking from a traveller's perspective, most of the places on their directory have been listed only after members of the company have themselves travelled and profiled the place from a traveller's point of view themselves. Some years ago the company even experimented with Bollywood Tourism, under which they would take people to popular places depicted in popular movies. They are also running a concept of Hotels and Hospitals whereby people travelling for medication and operational purposes and the people who accompany them face no hurdles during their visits and stays.
Ankit, whose first job was at Infosys, decided to take up the entrepreneurial path following his travelling habits and his passion to do something for the people who loved to travel. He believes technical knowledge, patience and practicality are the most important traits for an enterpreneur. His sheer dedication and passion for his work is clearly reflected in his talks and the way he sees things. IHR under his command promises to serve its users with all honesty and dedication. YourStory.in team wishes IHR the best for its future plans and endeavours and congratulates it on the splendid work it has already done. Bon Voyage!!