Entrepreneur Chirag Bhandari knows what he is creating through his venture - a unique holiday experience for all his customers. An IIT Bombay alumnus, Chirag is quintessentially an entrepreneur on a mission; the better travel/holiday experience he can give you, the better he feels his venture will do. YourStory.in had an interesting chat with Chirag and we bring to you excerpts of the conversation and a closer look into his venture, HighonTravelTell us about HighonTravel, and what are its clear differentiators?
HighonTravel is a 'slow travel' media company. We unearth holidays that discerning travelers seek, and assist in enabling these experiences. HighonTravel does so through its carefully curated holiday portfolio.
People seek immersive travel experiences, they want to venture beyond the trodden paths more than ever, enjoy home-stays, mingle with the locals, savour the culture, sample authentic food flavours. There lies an information vacuum for offerings that cater to this mindset and HighonTravel fills this vacuum. Our niche product portfolio sets us apart from all web based travel portals.
Business model plus monetisationHighonTravel works with its partners by sharing booking revenues. Partners share their margins with HighonTravel, for the new market they get access to through us. In most cases, we extend our power of negotiation to benefit the customers. We also create interactive AV rich marketing collaterals for our partners as a service.
Market that you aim to captureHighonTravel caters to a niche market. We target travelers who discern, those who look beyond holiday packages that book hotel rooms, arrange for transport and sight seeing. These can be travelers from India and abroad. Currently, HighonTravel caters to those looking to travel in India.
Challenges you are currently facing as a startup entrepreneur
There is a significant market within India for slow travel. We aim to not just address the existing market, but also grow the same. This can happen by spreading awareness of this approach of experiential travel. This is a challenge we are gearing ourselves up for. The good thing is that most people who travel once with this approach, get hooked to it.
Team compositionRakesh Verma and I launched HighonTravel in late 2010. Rakesh is an aerospace engineer from IIT Bombay. Previously, Rakesh worked with Xion media labs as a design architect. He is the information architect at HighonTravel with artwork, technology and user experience as his forte. He has been the key person in bringing HighonTravel alive on the web. I graduated from IIT Bombay as a chemical engineer and worked as an analytics consultant with Fractal Analytics for about an year and a half before quiting to start this experiential travel platform. The value I could see in traveling to connect with places and its people during my own expeditions, led to the idea of HighonTravel.
What do you find exciting about what you are doing?
Traveling to connect with the place and its people has added huge value in my life personally, and it excites me that I am enabling it for other travelers. There are very few businesses that apart from monetizing by solving a problem also enable experiences that add a perspective. I am excited to be running one such business.
What can we expect in the near future from HighonTravel?HighonTravel has recently launched a members only travelers club that shall constantly offer experiential holidays with price incentives only for the club members. Yourstory.in readers can become members through this exclusive invitation - http://www.highontravel.com/register/yourstory/
HighonTravel shall soon start featuring experiences at zero price points. These experiences would provide a peep into local culture, music, art-forms, food and traditions. And HighonTravel stories will enable 'slow travelers' to explore destinations in an experiential manner without necessarily buying services. You can also expect HighonTravel to continuously raise its own bar for the web user experience it offers.
We at YourStory.in can definitely endorse HighonTravel basis the high level of energy and passion Chirag brings to the table, after all aren't most memorable holidays high on energy?
If you have used HighonTravel services, do let us know about your experience by leaving a comment. Meanwhile, we are ready to dig deep into the site and book our own holiday soon.